Quick guide to disabled home adaptations

Our helpline team at Disability Information Scotland answer enquiries on a wide range of topics but one of the most common topics that people want to know about is disabled home adaptations.

What really stuck in our minds (and not in a good way!) is the fact that such a high number of people are still lacking basic information on something that could make such a huge difference to their quality of life.

Our homes should be the one place that provides a safe, comfortable and liveable space that works for our needs – yet so many disabled people are still facing barriers to independent living in their own homes.

At Disability Information Scotland, we believe that when people have access to the information they need, it enables them to make informed decisions.

We appreciate that the process of getting a disabled housing adaptation isn’t always straightforward. With limited council budgets, waiting lists and other disputes that may arise during the process, we know it can sometimes be a long and difficult journey. Ensuring people are supported and have access to the right information is vital.

We thought it’d be useful to share some information on some of the popular questions we get asked about regarding disabled home adaptations:

1. what is a disabled home adaptation?

A home adaptation involves making a significant change to the structure of your home. Examples could include:

  • making it easier to get into and out of your house by widening doors or making a ramp
  • or fitting lower work tops in the kitchen.

It does depend on who owns your home, but in most cases, as a starting point:

  • You should contact your local council and ask for an Assessment of Need.
  • This is usually done by an Occupational Therapist or another care professional.
  • You will only be considered for help if the assessment decides that the work is essential.
  • If it is agreed after your assessment that the adaption is best way to meet your need, the council will seek to fund the work.

(Private tenants should also contact their landlord and Housing Association tenants should contact their Housing Association).

2. if i own my home, am i entitled to financial assistance?

If you own your own home you may be entitled to help from the local council. Again they will decide if the work is deemed essential.

Local councils now provide help under the Scheme of Assistance. This could be information and advice, practical help or financial assistance like grants or loans.

3. what if i’m unhappy with the council’s decision?

  • Try speaking to the social work department to sort things out.
  • If this doesn’t resolve the issue, your council should have a Complaints Officer you can raise a complaint with.
  • If this is unsuccessful, you could consider complaining to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
  • If want to make a complaint, it is helpful to get advice first from a service such as your local citizens advice bureau.
  • You can also contact us at Disability Information Scotland on 0300 323 9961 and we can help to put you in touch with local services who may be able to help.

4. where can i get specialist advice on housing?

It can be really helpful to get specialist advice on housing to help you to determine if a disabled home adaptation is right for you or whether moving to a more suitable property is best for you.

Housing Options Scotland is there to help disabled people, veterans and older people find the right home. They can advise on social renting, private renting, and home ownership. You can get in touch with them by calling 0131 247 1400 or completing the online Information Form.

Some council areas also have a Disabled Persons Housing Service. Contact us to find out if there is one in your local area. You can see also our Accessible Housing Guide for more information on housing information services for disabled people in Scotland.

Home2Fit – a national online database and self-help resource to assist disabled people to find suitable housing. You can search for a vacant home suited to your needs in your area. There are options for social and private rented homes and for home owners. If a home to suit is not yet available, housing providers can still see your request and respond to you.

Adapt2Fit is an innovative source of information on equipment and adaptations for older and disabled people. If you have difficulty with everyday tasks such as moving around your home, getting up and down stairs, getting in and out of the bath or managing in the kitchen to prepare food and drinks then Adapt2Fit can help you find out about equipment to assist with mobility or about adaptations to your home.

5. what if i want to go ahead and pay for the adaptation myself?

It goes without saying to make sure you use a reputable company to carry out the work. Whilst we do not recommend any particular company, we do have contact details for some companies that specialise in disabled home adaptations. Contact us on for more information, or search for ‘Equipment / Adaptations’ on our online Scottish Disability Directory

You may also find it helpful to contact your local Access Panel. Access panels are groups of volunteers who work together to improve physical access and wider social inclusion in their local communities. You can find your local access panel by visiting the Access Network website.

You can also download a copy of the Access Guides from our website. The Access Guides provide technical information and best practice guidelines on accessible design. The guides have been produced in partnership with the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL).

For more info on disabled home adaptations, see our our Disabled Home Adaptions info guide. You can also print or download a copy of our Disabled Home Adaptations info guide (PDF).

If you need any further information please call our helpline on 0300 323 9961 or email us at info@disabilityscot.org.uk. If you have any thoughts or feedback that you’d like to share we’d love to hear from you, please leave us a Comment below.

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