Written Answers. - Housing Grants.

Jan O'Sullivan


697 Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he will consider altering the requirement that applicants of a disabled person's grant must be in their house for a period of one year before qualifying in view of the fact that, where a new house is being constructed for a specific family and a family member is clearly in need of the special alterations, it would be more cost effective to carry out the alterations while the house is being built; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1577/99]

Under the disabled person's grant scheme, grants are available from local authorities towards the adaptation of existing houses to meet the needs of disabled people. The grant is targeted at reconstruction of an existing house and it is a condition of the scheme that grants can only be paid in respect of houses that have been built for 12 months or more. My Department also provides assistance to persons providing specifically designed new housing to suit the needs of a disabled person under the new house grant scheme. In some cases, the normal requirement that an applicant should be a first-time purchaser and the limitation on floor area may be waived to allow a £3,000 new house grant to be paid. In these circumstances I have no proposals to alter the qualifying conditions of the disabled person's grant scheme.