The UK government has implemented many schemes with a view to making everyday life easier and more accessible for people living with a disability.
One such scheme is the Disabled Facilities Grant, which is a local council grant to help you with the cost of adapting your home to suit your physical needs. The emphasis is on making your home a safe and comfortable place to live; to enable you to continue living there, rather than having to move to a specialised facility. The grant is paid out after an assessment and the changes are deemed reasonable and practical. You are able to claim if you or the person who you are applying for is either the owner or tenant of the property; you also need to certify that you will be occupying the property as your only or main residence for the grant period, which is currently five years. These grants are only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scottish residents should contact the Social Services department.
Common uses of the grant include widening doors, installing ramps, providing a downstairs bathroom, installing a chairlift and adapting heating and lighting controls. Your needs will be assessed by an occupational therapist. A Disabled Facilities Grant will not affect any other benefits you are receiving.
The Motability Scheme allows disabled people to lease or buy a car, powered wheelchair or scooter through government funded allowances. You do not even have to drive yourself as you can apply for a car as a passenger whilst naming two other drivers. An approved dealer can lease you a car for at least three years. Also included in the package are servicing, insurance and breakdown cover. The car can also be adapted to suit your needs but contributions from yourself may be necessary. You may apply for a car on behalf of a child aged three or over who is in receipt of the higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance.
The Blue Badge Scheme is a service, which allows holders of the badge with severe mobility problems to park close to their destination. It only applies to on street parking and badge holders can park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours. This applies as long as there are no bans on loading or unloading in the area. In Scotland there is no time limit in place for parking on yellow lines. Blue Badge holders are also able to park for free at pay and display machines and on street parking meters. Local councils issue the Blue Badge and some people may need to undergo an assessment to see if they are entitled to have one. Others such as people who are registered blind, receive a War Pensioner's Mobility supplement or receive the higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance do not need to undergo an assessment.
The Warm Front Scheme provides insulation and heating improvements for your home up to the value of £3500 or £6000 if oil, low carbon or renewable technologies have been recommended. Eligibility is granted if the householder is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or War Disablement Pension that should include a mobility supplement or constant attendance allowance. The term 'householder' also includes the applicant's spouse or partner.
A new scheme to start in October 2010 is Work Choice, a disability back to work scheme. The scheme was brought in under the previous Labour Government and has been designed to provide extra support for disabled people who are far removed from accessing the labour market. It aims to help severely disabled people overcome obstacles to gaining and keeping jobs. It replaces three existing schemes, including Workstep.