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Grant for building work - not eligiblr

First of all I’m not poor, I’m not in receipt of any means tested benefit, nor am I wealthy. We own our own home, well most of it with a mortgage, the bank owning the rest.I now need ramp and level entry, and I’ve had a visit from the OT who confirms this. I’ve now also been means tested. This has taken since April last year, however that’s another issue.

i have one quote and one estimate for the work which is going to cost over £4,000. I don’t have £4,000 in savings, but I have a good credit rating so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to borrow it.

Someone suggested that the MS Society might make a contribution, I thought maybe they might help out with a few hundred, so I rang them. Naturally they want to see the estimates/quotes and the OT report and the refusal of funding for Disabled Facilities Grant. The letter informing me of the latter informs me that my “notional contribution assessed from the financial details you supplied…was £92,966” and this would be the amount I would have to contribute before any grant funding would become available.

The only way we can lay our hands on that kind of money would be to sell the bungalow. Where on earth does that figure come from?

Hell if I had that kind of money I wouldn’t be asking for help. Presumably the MS Society will also say I don’t qualify either.

HI its so unfair, l tried to get help with a wet room and stair lift but was told no l think they take into account the value of your house, as we have very little savings, so house is up for sale to try and find a bungalow to sort stair lift problem out. Its still worth asking MS Society l may try that if we ever get moved. Regards Jan

Good luck xx

I would ask how they came to that figure ?

I’ve rung and left a message on voicemail, of course they don’t work weekends. When she interviewed me she told me they didn’t want details of outgoings - they don’t come into the equation apparently!

They have details of my occupational pension, my husbands occupational pension and his old age pension.

We are mortgaged for twelve more years, so I’ll be seventy when it’s paid off. We have a modest two bed bungalow in the north of England, which is probably worth a bit less than the national average.

The bungalow wasn’t valued so unless they’ve looked at zoopla or right move at sold prices for a guesstimate…

She did say it wasn’t a straightforward calculation.

They must think of a number, take the pension figures, add the date in, double it then add the number they first thought of and that’s the amount!

I know I’m fortunate not to be poor as well as having MS, until my diagnosis nine years ago I made few calls on the NHS, in fact the NHS have pretty much written me off, I’ve made no calls on social services or the benefits system. I thought I might be able to get a bit of help.

I will soon need a wet room, there’ll be no help with that either.

Oh well, c’est la vie.

Iam ignorant of these things, but would it really cost £4000 to build a ramp? Couldnt you hire some polish builder and get it done for far less?

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It’s not quite that simple. There is an outer door with a step, then another step at the inner door. The level of the floor has to be raised to the level of the hall and the meter cupboard doors will have to be altered to conform with the new floor level. We have to have a new shorter door ( to avoid even more work removing the lintel and replacing with RSJ to hold the roof up). The door needs to have a step free threshold, the existing one is a standard upvc model and is too high. The ramp has to be of a gradient (I can’t remember the ratio) for a reasonable person to be able to self propel themselves up it. I can’t but someone has to push me. There also has to be a platform at the door, so that the wheelchair is not having to pause/stop on the slope to open the door. There have to be kerbs and handrails for safety, the ramp needs to be constructed of a material with non slip qualities.

i actually went to the trouble, not to mention expense, of having a surveyor look at the job before getting builders to quote. He suggested even more expensive work to widen the door, but I’ll have to manage without that. The surveyor has a disability and is completely clued up on what can and can’t be done. The builder who is going to do the work is known to me. He has personal experience having a family member confined to a wheelchair and has checked out building regs etc before giving me his quote.

So, no. It’s not a great idea to get some polish builder with a cement mixer to build a concrete ramp for a fraction of the cost, I still wouldn’t be able to get up the inner step, it might be cheap but not much use.

Flowerpot - l can understand all you say about the building work - getting levels right etc - and the cost of altering the meter cupboard is no joke. Any chance of increasing your mortgage to cover it - as interest rates are so good.

Best of luck - as l can imagine the difference it will make to your day to day life.

Do try the OT again - for help with providing the rails etc -they should help you with somethings.

We have a local village trust that help out with all of these things for the elderly as well as youngsters. They paid for 3 of my neighbours to have stair-lifts fitted - and even pay for the servicing. And none of these people were hard up.

Oh this kind of problem really makes me go grrrrr!

Many moons ago, I first asked for a grant from the local MS branch, to help pay for a wet room floor. They were brill, fast and very generous. They paid for the whole thing (2k), but the builder ripped us off, did a lousy job and the floor had to come up at our own expense.

I have gone through many stages of mobility with fairly fast progression! The next thing I needed was 2 ceiling track hoists. The council agreed it was urgent and I should get full help with a DFG…I got most of it but once again the good old local MS group helped with the rest.

We had no savings…never do, with on-going repairs, replacements, daily wear and tear on house and stuff, being disabled is expensive, I`m sure you agree.

The latest big thing was a whole new wet room, made from a bedroom, my OT said it was necessary and very urgent, as i was injuring myself trying to squeeze into the existing shower room.

Then I waited a few months, waited and waited some more! I rang the DFG dept and was told I was number 161 on their list!!!

By this time, I was in a right state and water was going all over the place as the wet floor didnt work like a wet floor should!

So what we did was quite drastic, but totally necessary.

I just dont get these DFG guidelines at all. They say if you have less than 6k savings, you can get full help. Really? What went wrong there then for you and me?

Its looking like you will have to either fund the project yourself, with a mortgage extension or bank loan.

BUT do try the local MS branch. They just might be able to help.

By the way, since those days when they helped me out so generously, I`ve been told I dont have MS afterall.

If ever I come into brass, my first cheque wil be to repay my MS grants, with interest. Bless their hearts.

luv Pollyxx