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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 about:

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 has substantial income and savings, from work, pensions, investments or property, they might not be eligible for local authority grants. If this is the case, they might have enough to pay for their home alterations outright. However, 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 a 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.

If you are thinking about gifting your relative a large sum of money to cover the cost of their home repairs or adaptations, you should seek legal and/or financial advice as there could be tax implications. Our guide to Gifting assets and property explains the basics.

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.

Personal loans

Which? Money offers free advice on what to look out for and how to choose the best deal for a personal deal: read more in the personal loans pages.

Benefits and allowances to help finance small alterations

Benefits can add to your relative’s income, helping them to finance minor 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, such as Turn 2 us. You will be asked a number of questions about your personal circumstances, then offered guidance on which benefits you might be eligible for.

Charitable grants

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

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 information about equity release and take advice from a qualified independent financial adviser. You could also contact Step Change, a charity-operated service offering free advice on equity release - see our Useful organisations and websites page.

Which? guide to helping loved ones in later life

If you are looking for ways to help a relative stay living at home for longer, or need to find out about the different care options available, this downloadable guide explains your choices and how to find out more. It offers an introduction to choosing sheltered or residential care, plus advice on choosing the best products to aid independent living.

More information

  • Benefits and allowances for the elderly: make sure your relative is receiving everything they're entitled to, which may help to elp fund minor 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 choosing a stairlift, we give advice on home alterations that could help your relative stay safe.

Page last reviewed: April 2017
Next review due: October 2019