Council Refuse DFG and Stairlift.

Hi all,

My Son James has MECP2 Duplication Syndrome, he is 7 years old.
For the last 7 years every day has been a battle to get services and support for our Son. From getting a diagnosis to a special needs bed and suitable housing.

Our latest battle is with the Local Council and O.T regarding our Son's mobility within the home.
We were housed in a Council house 3 years ago and was told that the house was ready for any adaptions James may require. However, after enquiring about a Disabled Facilities Grant we have been told that we are not eligible because the Local Council own their housing stock?

I am now struggling to carry my Son up and down the stairs and asked if we could use the DFG to build a bedroom downstairs for James, that way eliminating the stairs altogether. 
As the Council refused us a DFG I suggested that a stairlift could be installed. They refused. I even offered to fund the stairlift myself but they said I would need permission from the Council to install it but said they will not give permission for it.

The solution they came up with was a through ceiling lift. They said there is only one place it can go and that's in the living room. The problem we had with a lift is the fact that it wouldn't even be going into our Sons room. Also, the impact on living space as the living room is the only room our Son has to play in. 

The lift costs £10,000. All we wanted was the stairlift which cost £1,500. We refused the lift as we feel it's not a suitable solution. Next thing I know is O.T asks if she can visit for a quick chat. Expecting to answer the door to just her, I was surprised to see that she had also brought with her the Community Occupational Therapist and also the Disabled Families Housing Officer, unannounced. I invited them in and they began discussing the lift. It was obvious that the Disabled Families Housing Officer was leading the conversation. They then basically threatened me. They told me that if I didn't accept the lift then they would not help with any adaptions in the future (I recently got them to withdraw this statement in an email). They also said that if the installation didn't go ahead then I will be liable to pay a cancellation fee which could be hundreds of pounds. I reminded them that I have never said that I accept the lift and that I have not signed any paperwork or any agreement of any kind.

We are now in a position where we feel we have no choice but to find another home. The Council have said that they will not help us as we are 'adequately housed' and we should use a mutual exchange site. 

I feel that the Local Council had wrongly housed us in the first place. They told us that the house was ready for any adaptions yet we are unable to apply for a DFG and they refuse to let us have a stairlift.

Has anyone else experienced anything similar or have any advice please?

I'm not sure whether to continue fighting or just try and move house. After 7 years of fighting I'm finding it all very exhausting.

Any comments or advice would be very much appreciated.

Thanks.



Comments

  • Chris ContactChris Contact Community Moderator
    @James_Dad
    Welcome to the community, I hope you find support and ideas from other parents here. 

    We are disapointed to hear about your difficulties with your local authority to get adaptions to your home. 

    We have some information on DFG's on website here: https://contact.org.uk/advice-and-support/social-care/aids-equipment-and-adaptations/ including information about eligibilty.

    We also have a guide to Aids, Equipment and Adaptions available here: https://contact.org.uk/media/1525360/aids_adaptations_and_equipment.pdf information on DFG's starts on page 25. 

    James if you do decide to challenge the decision, or are thinking about it, you can email or call the Contact helpline. You can complain about the outcome of the DFG and the time taken to reach a decision. You do this by using the local authority complaints procedure.  

    We cannot provide case work, but we can provide you with information on legal rights and entitlements regarding DFG's, we can try and put you in touch with local agencies who may be able to help and provide housing advice.  You can find out more about our helpline here:   https://contact.org.uk/advice-and-support/our-helpline/

    Take Care James

    Chris (Contact)

  • We have had a lift installed in our lounge. And I find it hasn't taken our play space away as the lift stays upstairs during the day and we just move things to the side when we bring it down. It didn't go to our daughters bedroom so we all swapped bedrooms  Not allway possible for all families but I would not be without the lift now. 
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