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Home modifications

 Quick Summary

Home modifications are changes to the fittings, layout or structure of a home or dwelling. You may need changes or additions to a home to enable you, or someone you are caring for, to get in and out of and move around the home safely and easily. You may hear people call these changes home adaptations and home modifications. Examples of home adaptations are: ramps for access to and in the home, repositioning power outlets, adding non-slip tiles, increasing shower size, grab rails, portable ramps, environmental control units. Examples of home modifications include: removing load - bearing walls and /or building additional space. Repairs, maintenance or redecoration are not considered by funders as home modifications or adaptations.

There are several different types of funding available for home modifications and home adaptations.

The Tasmanian Home and Community Care (Tas HACC) program funds community services including home modifications and adaptations for Tasmanians under 65 years of age (or under 50 for First Nations people) to live independently at home if their capacity for independence is at risk due to health conditions that require ongoing support but do not meet the NDIS eligibility criteria.

You can self-refer to this program, or a family member, carer, health professional or other service provider can also refer you. Referrals are processed by the Tasmanian Community Care Referral Service (TCCRS). They will collect some information about you, and refer you to the most appropriate service provider in your area. It is the service provider’s responsibility to manage the home modification, to consult with you about your needs and requirements, and make sure your home modification complies with Tasmanian building frameworks.

All home modifications under the HACC program require an assessment by an Occupational Therapist. The Occupational Therapist will assess you in the home, to see how you move around the home, and if you are safe in the home and in getting in and out of the home. The Occupational Therapist will then write a report, that will include their recommendations for changes and additions that need to be made to improve safety, access and movement in and around the home for you. The service provider is responsible for arranging this.

See Get Started for more information on the HACC, the TCCRS and how you can apply.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may also fund home modifications and adaptations and they have defined categories. Some categories require an Occupational Therapist’s report and others need to be approved by a Home Modification Assessor. See Get Started for a handy guide to help you understand what you need to do to get home modifications funded in your plan.

Home modifications are part of a group of supports under the NDIS’s Home and Living Supports category.

The NDIS defines home modifications as custom-built changes to your home to help you access and use areas of your home. They might include simple things like widening a doorway, or more complex things like combining your bathroom and toilet so you can use a hoist or shower chair. They may also fund home adaptations and assistive technology like grab rails or portable ramps.

For the NDIS to fund home modifications or adaptations they must:

– relate to your disability;

– help you pursue your goals;

– help you be more able to take part in social or work life;

– be effective and beneficial to you;

– be legal and safe;

– be value for money.

The NDIS won’t fund modifications that are the responsibility of another service to provide. For a full guide to the NDIS and home modifications, see Get Started for the link to their guide Home Modifications.

Home Modifications may also be funded by Compensatory systems  such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Motor Accidents Insurance Board (MAIB), or  personal insurance claims. See Get Started for links to these organisations.

If you are a tenant of Homes Tasmania, contact the tenancy officer to ask about home modifications.

Each source of funding has different guidelines for eligibility that you will need to explore. If you think you meet eligibility criteria make sure to ask the funder:

– if you must be a homeowner to gain funding for modifications or adaptions;

– what kinds of modifications or adaptions they will consider funding;

– what their usual reasons are for not granting approval for funding modifications or adaptions, for example, property condition, suitability or alternative and more cost-effective means for a modification or adaption;

– what the maximum amount is that they will contribute for modifications;

– if they expect you to make a minimum financial contribution and if so, how much;

– the reports they require to evidence the need for adaption or modifications;

– if they use preferred providers for occupational therapy assessment and building works;

– if anyone is available to help you with advice on the process, and who they are and how you can contact them;

– how long you can expect the process to take from the time that you apply to the works beginning.