Independent Living for Disabled Young People

Today, we are often hearing how difficult it is for young people to find affordable rents and get on the property ladder, meaning they are having to stay in the family home for much longer. Independent living is even more difficult for young people with disabilities to achieve. Disabled young people have typically had to stay in the family home well into adulthood, relying on their families not only for housing, but often for care too.


Difficulties faced

There are substantial barriers facing young disabled people looking to move into their own home. These include:

  • A shortage of suitable housing, particularly in the private rented sector
  • Suitable housing often only being available in segregated schemes
  • Problems in bringing together housing with the support required
  • A common failure of housing and social services to work together

Due to such barriers, young disabled individuals may find that their only option for leaving their family home is to move into a housing scheme or group home. This means that the decision about where to live is more often determined by which vacancies these services have rather than by the young person’s choice. Schemes which aim to offer a transition to independent living often are unable to achieve this because there is nowhere for the young person to move on to.

Recent investigations have revealed a dire shortage of accessible housing. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission have said 93% of 8.5 million rental properties in the UK were not accessible to the disabled. The 18-month review found 365,000 disabled people were in homes unsuitable for their needs. It was also reported that councils are only requiring approximately 4 in 10 new homes to be accessible and adaptable, while just 5% required developers to construct wheelchair-accessible housing.


Support options available

There are funding options available to help owner occupiers, landlords or private tenants carry out adaptations to homes to make them suitable for disabled living.

If a disabled person has been assessed as needing a small adaptation or equipment that costs less than £1000 to buy and install, the local council must provide this free of charge. Councils can charge for larger, more expensive home adaptations.

If an adaptation that costs more than £1000 is needed, then this may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). This is means tested; depending on income and savings, the disabled person may need to pay for some of the work. Dependents (under 18s) can get a grant without their parents’ income being taken into account.

Your local council may also have its own grants or loan schemes for adaptations, repairs and improvements.


VAT Notice 701/7

There are also VAT reliefs available for disabled people. Section 2.4 of VAT Notice 701/7 covers the Goods and Services that are zero-rated.

This includes building works such as:

  • ramps, widening doorways and passages
  • bathrooms, washrooms and lavatories
  • lifts
  • preparatory, restoration and making goods
  • goods supplied in connection with the construction services in previous bullet point
  • grant-funded building work

Other good and services included are: installation of goods, repairs and maintenance of goods, and electrically or mechanically adjustable beds, chair or stair lifts, hoists and lifters, sanitary devices.


Disability Solutions from Bryburn

“We believe those with a disability have the same rights as any other person. The truth is many still face barriers, particularly when it comes to living conditions. We create living spaces that enable independent living, privacy, confidence and dignity for individuals and their families.”

We can assist with:

  • Adaptation of existing residential accommodation
  • Design and construction of new build or refurbishment
  • Professional advice i.e. VAT reliefs

Contact us for more information. We can offer a prompt, caring and sensitive response from trained specialists.


Tel: 02392 893191 or 02392 893193

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