Aids and Adaptations


We want you to be able to enjoy your home. If you are finding it difficult to move about in your home, we can help to make things easier by making some changes. For example installing grab rails and stair rails to making your home more suitable. This leaflet explains how to get help to make the changes to your home to make it more accessible?


What does accessible mean?

Accessible” doesn’t just mean being able to get in and out of your property. It means being able to live in your home in the same way as everyone else.

Generally speaking, if your home is not accessible, you have four choices:

  • You can do nothing and struggle (not recommended!)
  • You can reorganise your home to try and manage more easily
  • You can apply for the aids and adaptations you require
  • You can look to move house

Usually, most people will be able to improve the access requirements and therefore their quality of life by combining 2 and 3 above. Sometimes option 4 may be the only answer.

It is important to get expert advice before any aids and adaptations are made to your home. Sovereign can now help with minor adaptation requests, by instructing our in-house Trusted Assessors. For major, more involved requests, an Occupational Therapist can look at the difficulties you are having and suggest equipment and adaptations to meet your particular needs.

What counts as an “aid or adaptation”?

This may include simple aids such as handrails, lever taps and ramps through to stair lifts and in exceptional cases, house extensions or through floor lifts.

What doesn’t count as “an aid or adaptation”?

Generally speaking, items that are not linked to the property (for example wheelchairs, walking sticks and hearing aids) would not be provided through the aids and adaptations process. You may still be able to get help with these items but generally these would be through your GP, hospital or other health services.

What if my home can’t be adapted?

In some cases, due to the layout, age or structure of your home, it may not be possible to adapt your property. In this case, you may have to consider moving house. We can advise on the best way to do this.

How can I request an assessment by a Trusted Assessor?

You can ask for an assessment by one of our in-house Trusted Assessors by calling our Contact Centre and requesting the adaptation. If it is a minor requirement we will be able to process your request and organise an assessment appointment, within 5 working days. Minor aids & adaptations, for example grab rails & lever taps can normally be arranged without the need for an Occupational Therapist assessment. A more comprehensive list is available on request.

How can I apply for an assessment by an Occupational Therapist

You can request an assessment by an Occupational Therapist by contacting your local Social Services team (or if you are in hospital, through the Health Trust), but bear in mind that generally there can be a long waiting list to be assessed.

It is therefore important to request an assessment as soon as you are aware you are having difficulty and don’t wait until it is a crisis situation to discuss your requirements and arrange a home visit.

The Occupational Therapist will then look at your housing situation and decide if it is possible to provide aids and adaptations to make your home suitable to continue to live in. Some Occupational Therapists have a self assessment process in operation. This means that depending on your needs, you may not need to have a full assessment. For example, if you only need a hand rail, it may be possible to have this fitted fairly quickly.

The Occupational Therapist will give you a report making some recommendations. When you have this you should send your Neighbourhood Housing Officer a copy of the report. Once we have received the report, we can work out where to obtain the funding for the works.


Do I have to pay for the Adaptations?

Sovereign will usually pay for work costing up to £1500, this does depend on the amount of money that is available in our budget. For works over £1500, there are grants available from your Local Authority. The main type of grant available for works over £1500 is called a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG).

The Local Authority has a duty to process your request, subject to assessment and terms and conditions. What you receive will depend on your income. This will mean completing a form to assess your ability to pay but don’t be put off by this as it can still be worth applying. Your Local Council and/or advice service will often have leaflets available about DFG that give you more details. You will still need to have a report from the Occupational Therapist in order to apply for DFG.


What if I can’t get a grant or help with the work?

If you are not entitled to financial help with the aid or adaptation, you may decide to pay for it yourself. You could also look at asking a charity or trust to help you with the cost.
You can still get advice from an Occupational Therapist involved in your case, over the best equipment to purchase or adaptation required and it is strongly recommended that you “try before you buy”. Many disabled people have spent a considerable amount of money purchasing specialist equipment which is not suitable. If a salesperson comes to your home to demonstrate the equipment, do not feel under pressure to purchase the equipment straight away. Give yourself time to think about it and to ensure that it is what you really want and that you can afford it.


How long does this take?

There are waiting lists for visits by Occupational Therapists and it can take some time to arrange the visit and get the report.

Getting funding can also take time:

  • Our own internal process is quite fast and can take just a few weeks.
  • Obtaining DFG can take 12 months or more.
  • It is important that you make contact with the Occupational Therapist as soon as you feel that you need adaptations to your home.

Remember that:

  • Funding for the adaptations is only available where the person benefiting from the adaptation has an illness or impairment which leads to difficulty in managing the tasks of daily living in their home
  • The Occupational Therapist assessing your case has to recommend the adaptation you need before we can deal with the request.


  • Spectrum House, Grange Road,
    Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 4GE
  • 0300 777 7837
  • contact@sovereign.org.uk
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