Wheelchair Accessibility and Retrofitting Homes: Grants and Funding in Ireland

AndreNews

Retrofitting the architecture of an existing home can be expensive. But Ireland has various grants and funding options to make a home more disability-accessible.

Wheelchair Accessibility Grants Ireland

  • If it would cost over €6,000 to make your home suitable for someone with a disability or a mental health difficulty, you may be eligible for a means-testedHousing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability. The maximum grant is €30,000.
  • For more basic and cheaper alterations, such as grab rails, level access showers or chair-lifts, the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme (also means-tested) provides a maximum grant of €6,000.
  • The Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme is used to improve the condition of an older person’s home. The type of work covered includes structural repairs, re-wiring and upgrades to heating systems. Local authorities vary as regards what type of work they will grant aid. For information on what is covered in your area, contact your local authority.
  • You may qualify for a local authority home improvement loan to improve, repair or extend your home.
  • If you have a medical card or a long term illness card, you may be entitled to get essential items of equipment free of charge. First, you must be assessed by a relevant professional, such as an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist.
  • If you are paying for equipment needed for someone with a disability, you may be able to claim a VAT refund.

 

See how Brian Kenny made his home wheelchair accessible:

Other Grants

Special home improvement grants are also available to adapt houses for people with disabilities from your local Area Health Board or Local Authority.

Mobility Aids Grand Scheme

People on low incomes needing equipment such as level access showers, grab rails etc can apply for the Mobility Aids Grant which means their application will move through system more quickly. The maximum grant available will be 6,000 euro. You can employ an OT privately and recoup expenses up to 200 euro.

The capital assistance scheme

This provides assistance to housing associations, through the local authorities towards capital costs for accommodation, generally for one or two bedroomed units, to meet special housing needs such as those of the elderly, disabled, homeless or smaller families.

Rent supplement

A rent supplement is available from the Community Welfare Officer for people in receipt of a disability payment who wish to live in private rented accommodation. The allowance is means tested but the 120 euro which may be earned from rehabilitative employment is disregarded for rent supplement.

Essential repairs grant

The Essential Repairs Grant scheme is administered by the local authorities. The scheme is directed primarily at providing grant aid to elderly people living in poor housing conditions. It is intended to facilitate having those conditions improved sufficiently to allow people to remain in their homes for their lifetime and to prevent them having to move to a different area or to be rehoused by the local authority. The grant may cover 100% of the cost of the works.

Central heating grants

This was introduced for the installation of central heating in existing local authority rented dwellings, which lacked such facilities. The scheme is administered locally and the planning and execution of works is a matter for each local authority. Under the programme a grant of 5,600 euro or up to 80% of the cost, whichever is the lesser, is payable for each house. The balance of the cost is met by the housing authority. In addition to central heating facilities the work may also include related energy improvement and smoke detection measures.

Affordable housing scheme

The affordable housing scheme allows lower income house buyers to buy newly constructed homes and apartments in areas where property prices have created an affordability gap for lower income house buyers. These properties are offered for sale to eligible first- time purchasers at prices significantly less than their actual market value. The houses are bought with a mortgage provided by the local authority.

Local Authority tenants and tenants of houses provided by voluntary bodies do not need to satisfy the income test. You are unlikely to be accepted for this scheme if your only income is a social welfare payment. Households may be entitled to a mortgage subsidy depending on their income in the previous tax year. If they are surrendering a tenant purchase house, a local authority house or a house provided by a voluntary body, they have the option of going for the mortgage subsidy or the Mortgage Allowance Scheme.

For further information contact your Local Authority.

Disabled person’s new house grant

This is a grant available to people with disabilities or to the family of the person with disabilities who are having their own house built to cover the cost of making the new house accessible at construction stage to a maximum of 14,500 euro. If you are building or renovating a house you may be entitled to a refund of VAT on aids and appliances for use by a disabled person. This includes bathroom fittings, walk in baths, lifting seats, hoists etc. VAT refund is also available on aids and appliances designed to assist a disabled person to overcome his/her disability in performing daily functions or in exercise or education e.g a computer. This grant is available to adapt a house to meet the accommodation needs of a person with a disability within the first year of the house’s completion. Where the costs are being met by the state, or by any public or local authority, VAT relief will not be due.

For tips and advice about designing homes for modifying homes and designing buildings to be more accessible click here

 


 

References and Further Reading:

Disability Person’s Grant / Housing Adaptation Grant
http://www.iwa.ie/issues/IssuesHousing.aspx

Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability
http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/housing/building_or_altering_a_home/adapting_a_home_for_an_older_or_disabled_person.html

Factsheets – Housing Grant
http://www.siairl.org/spinal/main/Factsheets_HousingGrant.htm