Disabled Home Adaptations


Home adaptations can help persons who are older or who are disabled to live independently in their own homes. This information guide describes the help available that may help to pay for significant changes to the structure of your home.

Housing adaptations can help you live safely and independently in your own home by:

  • Reducing the risk of accidents at home.
  • Reducing the need for home care or going into a care home.

Persons who are disabled may get help with a wide range of adaptations to their home. This includes, but not limited to:

  • Replacing a bath with a level access shower.
  • Making it easier to get into and out of the house by widening doors or making a ramp.
  • Fitting lower worktops in a kitchen.

Home Owners

As a starting point, contact your local authority Social Services department and ask for an Assessment of Need.

An assessment of need is usually carried out by an Occupational Therapist (O.T.)

Local authorities will only offer financial help if the assessment confirms that the work/adaptations are essential.

The Scheme of Assistance allows local authorities broad discretionary powers to provide other assistance to home owners, which may be – advice and guidance, practical help, or financial assistance by way of grants or loans.

It is up to the local authority to determine what kinds of assistance are made available on the basis of local priorities and budgets.

Local Authority tenants

Local authorities have policies on any work/adaptations that they are able to provide. Cases are decided on the level of need, risk to health, and the individual’s wellbeing and independence.

Further information on this will be provided at the assessment.

Limited budgets (available money) may delay any work starting.

Sometimes it may not be possible to adapt a home to meet your needs. This may be because:

  • There is not enough space to make the changes needed, or:
  • The way the house is built makes it difficult or impossible to change.

The local authority may then suggest other solutions, such as moving to a different property.

Housing Association Tenants

Housing Associations will provide advice as to how to get a needs assessment.

They will also provide information and advice on what support is available.

Housing Associations can carry out work/adaptations to a home – if they feel the work is essential, and if there is funding available.

Sometimes it may not be possible to adapt a home to meet your needs. This may be because:

  • There is not enough space to make the changes needed, or:
  • The way the house is built makes it difficult or impossible to change.

The Housing Association may then suggest other solutions, such as moving to a different property.

Private tenants

If you are a private tenant you can:

  • Contact your local authority for an assessment to see whether the changes needed to your home meet the conditions for essential work.
  • You must ask for permission from your landlord.
  • You should also say if you intend to put the property back to its original state when you leave.
  • Your landlord must not ‘unreasonably refuse to give their consent’ (ie must not say no without very good reasons.)
  • If your landlord does say no, they must tell you in writing why they have said no.

What if I want to do the adaptations myself?

  • If you do not own your home, you will need to write to the council, housing association or private landlord to ask for permission first.
  • Your landlord ‘cannot withhold their consent unreasonably’, but they can make certain conditions.

Some building work to a disabled person’s private home may also be VAT exempt. Call the VAT helpline for more information on 0300 200 3700 or contact us for a copy of our Claiming VAT exemption on disability products info guide.

Care and Repair

Care and Repair services operate throughout Scotland. They offer:

  • Independent advice and assistance to help homeowners repair, improve or adapt their homes so that they can live in comfort and safety.
  • The service is available to home-owners, private tenants and crofters who are aged over 60 or who have a disability.
  • Some Care and Repair services also include home-owners of any age group with physical or mental disabilities, private rented sector and crofting tenants (particularly in the Highlands and Islands).

Contact Care and Repair services at http://www.careandrepairscotland.co.uk  or by contacting your local council.

Scottish Welfare Fund

You may be able to get a Community Care Grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund if:

  • You are moving out of a care home, hospital or similar place and need to make minor improvements to your home so you can live there independently, or
  • You need to get your home adapted so you can stay there instead of moving into a care home.
  • Usually you have to be on benefits before you can get a Community Care Grant but you may be considered if you are on a low income, whether you are working or not.
  • To apply, contact your local council.

A list of telephone numbers and email addresses for each local council is available on the Scottish Government website at: https://www.mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund/

Advocacy support

If you feel that you might need some support to help you through the process, you can ask for the help of an advocate. Search for your local advocacy services at

http://www.siaa.org.uk  or call 0131 556 6443.

Unhappy with the decision?

If you are not happy with the decision regarding your eligibility for a disabled home adaptation, you can complain to the council. To make a complaint, contact the person you last spoke to about it, or to the local authority’s Complaints Officer. Contact your local Social Work office for details.

How do I appeal?

If you think the Council or housing association has been unreasonable, you can

  • Ask the Sheriff Court to look at their decision and order them to change it
  • Seek advice immediately from your local citizens advice bureau or a solicitor as there are tight deadlines regarding appeals.
  • Contact the Equality Advisory Support Service on 0808 800 0082

Information last updated on 5 June 2020. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.

If you would like this information guide in another version then please contact us and we will post or email you a copy.

Aids, Equipment & Adaptations:Frequently Asked Questions

Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:

How can I get an adaptation made to my house?

Am I eligible for VAT relief on disability equipment?

I am going on holiday, how do I hire a mobility scooter or wheel chair when I am there?

I’m struggling getting in and out of my bath, is there any support that I can get?

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