Newport speeds up homes grants for disabled

THE time it takes for Newport disabled people to obtain grants for adaptations to their homes has fallen by almost half in the last two years.

A Newport council report says it is currently taking an average of 323 days to process disabled facilities grants (DFGs).

The figure is substantially down on the average for 2010 to 2012, when it took around 640 days to process the grants.

At the time Newport council was worst in Wales for the time it took to deliver the payments, which had been due to the resources available to cope with demand.

In 2012, a two year plan was set in place to clear the established backlog of cases and provide sufficient resources to meet demand.

The target that was set for 2013/14 was 375 days but the average to date is 323.

However that is still above the Welsh average of 271.

At least 185 grants have been completed.

Some £1.5 million had been set aside for DFGs, so far around £1.2 million has been spent.

According to figures in the report there are currently 33 referrals waiting for assessment.

DFGs are available for disabled people who need to make changes to their home.

According to the gov.uk website, these can include widening doors and installing ramps, improving access to rooms and facilities, providing a heating system and adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use.

How much is available depends on the household income and savings held by each person.

The grants are available to private tenants and owner occupiers – and can be refused by a council if officers believe a scheme isn’t reasonable or practicable.

The Newport council report says current assessments show that for every £1 spent on a DFG, £4 is saved across health and social care services.

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