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If your relative doesn’t qualify for local authority help, other ways they might raise cash to pay for home alterations are outlined below.

On this page we provide information on:

1. Income and savings
2. Financial help from family
3. Personal loan
4. Benefits and allowances to help finance small alterations
5. Charitable grants
6. Equity release

Income and savings

If your relative is not eligible for local authority grants, this is probably because they have their own income and savings which might be from work, pensions, investments or property. It might be that they have enough to pay for the alterations outright. If your relative’s income and savings are below a certain amount, they can still apply for local authority funding, but they might have to contribute towards the cost following a needs assessment and then financial assessment.

Financial help from family

Family members might be able to contribute towards the cost of home alterations. This could be in the form of a loan or a gift.

Personal loan

An unsecured personal loan could allow your relative to borrow the cash they need for alterations. Lenders offer a lump sum over a fixed period of time: £5,000 over three years, for example.

An unsecured personal loan is usually cheaper than borrowing on a credit card, and you can borrow more than with a current account overdraft.

For advice on what to look out for and how to choose the best deal, Which? members can read our advice on personal loans on this page of the Which? website.

Benefits and allowances to help finance small alterations

Benefits can add to your relative’s income, helping them to finance small alterations. Some benefits such as Attendance allowance are not means tested, so it doesn’t matter what your relative’s financial situation is.

If you are unsure which benefits you or your relative might be entitled to, try using an online benefits calculator. You will be asked a number of questions about your personal circumstances, then offered guidance on which benefits you might be eligible for. An example of an online benefits calculators is Turn 2 us.

Charitable grants

Some charitable organisations offer grants to people in need. Most charities will only provide help to those who cannot get help elsewhere – so your relative must have exhausted all other possibilities, such as benefits and local authority funding, before seeking help. Each grant usually has specific eligibility criteria; it might only be available to people on very low incomes or with specific illnesses or disabilities, for example.

Some charities or benevolent societies, such as the Charity for Civil Servants or the Soldiers’ Charity (formerly the Army Benevolent Fund), are associated with particular companies, trades or professions. If your relative (or their partner) worked in a particular trade or profession, it’s worth checking to see if there is a related charity or benevolent fund that might be able to provide assistance.

Disability charities such as Scope may be able to advise on the availability of local grants that could help with home alterations. The organisation Turn 2 Us allows you to search for charitable grants by postcode.

Equity release

If your relative owns their own home, they might be able to use an equity release scheme to ‘unlock’ cash from the value of their property. However, be warned that this is a complicated procedure with serious implications, and there’s no going back once it’s been done. Before making any decisions, read our advice on and take advice from a qualified independent financial adviser.

Downloadable guide

Helping loved ones in later life is an introduction to the different care choices that are available. Perhaps you are looking for ways to help a relative to stay living at home, or it could be that one (or both) of your parents or a partner want to move into somewhere offering sheltered or residential care. We explain the choices and how to find out more.

More information

  • Benefits and allowances for the elderly: make sure your relative is receiving everything they're entitled to to help fund small alterations.
  • Financing care at home: read about the cost of home care and other ways to raise money to help pay for care.
  • Home alterations: from fitting grab rails to wheelchair and scooter adaptations and choosing a stairlift, we give advice on what alterations are possible to help your relative stay safe.

Page last reviewed: 31 December 2015
Next review due: 30 April 2017