Posted on January 20, 2015
I’ve had a couple of people ask why Ben isn’t eligible for funding, so I thought I would post a little more information to explain this further. The Government Disability Facilities Grant, which in theory can fund a person up to £35,000 towards essential adaptions, is a means tested grant. Its is a locally administered scheme, so figures vary depending on county, but as a rough guide, if your combined household earnings are £400 a week, then you have to pay the first £22,000 towards the renovations before the council with contribute anything. The cost that you have to contribute continues to increase significantly for joint incomes higher than this rate. This is a relatively low earning threshold for such a large deposit required before your can receive assistance and it precludes us from receiving help.
Added to this is the time it takes for anything to be done, as all work needs to be signed off by the council and then delivered by council approved contractors, which can take a lot longer than you would expect. As an example, Ben is eligible for a small amount of work, up to a £1,000, to be done under the Minor Adaptions Scheme to help get him home. Basically this means providing a ramp for Ben to access his house. We have now been dealing with the council for almost 4 months trying to get a ramp built but it’s still not done and currently is still at beginning stages of just getting quotes done. This means that Ben can’t even leave the house with someone else’s help. Currently, I have to put out a short temporary ramp to the house, which I then have to do a fair bit of manual lifting then directing of Ben and the chair to get it out over the threshold of the door onto the ramp and to stop the chair going too fast down the short slope.
I just don't want Ben to have to live like this, dependant on others, trapped in his own home, not able to shower, struggling to cook a meal etc, so I turned to you all for help. You can also see now why I set the funding amount to £35,000, as this was the amount available through the scheme. It is however, becoming increasingly clear that this wont even be enough to do all the required works and purchasing of essential equipment that is needed. Silly things like realising that all the doorways upstairs are too small to get Ben’s wheelchair through creep up the costs. Though I guess they don’t call becoming a paraplegic a ‘life changing injury’ for nothing!
To finish up, as I know this is a long post, I would just like to say that the government has helped us a lot and provided more then many countries would do. Ben has had free hospital and rehab care for just over 5 months. He gets free prescriptions now, which is a blessing, as that alone would cost a fortune if he didn’t. He will also be able to get a mobility car that is converted to hand controls so that he can have his independence in this regard (once he can get out the front door that is!) and Ben is provided with a basic wheelchair. The Red Cross have also been amazing and have provided us with simple things like a shower chair, bed extenders to make our bed to the right height to transfer from the wheelchair and the temporary ramp we currently use. He is also proved by a basic wheelchair and while its heavy and awkward and uncomfortable, without having a chair to come home in, Ben would still be in rehab. I am grateful certainly that the UK is as generous as it is with the healthcare system we have. It’s just great that we have so many family, friends and strangers yet to be friends who are willing to help us that little bit extra, as it would be a much harder life change for Ben without all your love and support, so thank you very much xx