Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
232. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if local authorities are permitted to support persons with a disability by retrospectively approving grants for works that are in progress or recently completed under the housing grant for people with a disability scheme; the discretion that is available or issue guidelines in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39047/21]
My Department provides funding under the suite of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability, to assist people in private houses to make their accommodation more suitable for their needs. The grants include the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, the Mobility Aids Grant and the Housing Aid for Older People, which are 80% funded by my Department, with a 20% contribution from the resources of the local authority. The detailed administration of this scheme including assessment, approval and prioritisation, is the responsibility of local authorities. Local authorities receive an overall allocation, with the responsibility for the apportionment between the three schemes being a matter for each authority given their knowledge of local need.
The framework for the operation of the scheme is laid down in statutory regulations, namely the Housing (Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability) Regulations 2007, and the Housing (Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. A grant may be paid under these regulations where, in the opinion of the local authority, it considers the works reasonably necessary to facilitate the needs of the applicant.
In order for the relevant local authority to determine whether the works are reasonably necessary, a completed application must be submitted by an applicant prior to the commencement of any works, to allow the relevant local authority to inspect the property and confirm that the works are eligible for grant funding. In exceptional cases my Department recognises that there may be an urgency to commence works prior to formal grant approval issuing. In such circumstances, where a local authority has been afforded the opportunity to inspect the property prior to any works commencing, grant approval may, at the discretion of the local authority, issue retrospectively where they are satisfied that the works were necessary and that they needed to be carried out as a matter of urgency.
Local authorities, in administering the grant schemes, should always work with qualifying applicants to ensure they get the most beneficial outcome possible under the terms of the schemes.