Homes which are accessible and adaptable to the needs of people with disabilities play a critical role in promoting the independence and inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream society. Features of dwellings such as narrow corridors, stairs and intercom systems create barriers, often making activities that others take for granted such as answering the door and moving around the home difficult for people with disabilities to carry out.
Initiatives such as the introduction of Part M of the Building Regulation are improving the accessibility of the built environment. Since its introduction, the Disabled Persons' Grant Scheme has contributed towards the costs of adaptations that have assisted thousands of people with disabilities to remain independent and carry out routine tasks at home with dignity.
Using data from a range of sources, this research report provides an overview of this important scheme. It also documents the variety of eligibility criteria, assessment procedures and application processes which have developed across local authorities and which have created anomalies and inequalities in the provision of the grant. Other difficulties with the scheme's operation, including delays in OT assessments and inadequate grant levels are illustrated along with the real life implications of these challenges for people with disabilities. The report concludes with pertinent recommendations aimed at improving the operation of the programme.
I hope that this report proves useful to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in informing its ongoing review of the programme. The recommendations of the Report offer insights and changes that, if implemented, would produce tangible benefits in the lives of people with disabilities.
National Disability Authority