WHY does the military not have dedicated disability adapted houses in this day and age?

I realise that the majority must be catered for, but given that a number of soldiers may return from operations (or otherwise develop) disabilities and/or that family members may be disabled, it’s surprising that there appear to be no dedicated homes.

Surely under the Equality Act and as a housing provider, DIO should deliver this. I have a health condition which has deteriorated over the last few months and to obtain a rail outside my property to help me get to and from the front door requires a letter or other communication from a local occupational therapist.

There are significant issues and costs involved with adapting a house, so would it not make more fiscal sense to have a permanent disabled-friendly home available, maybe one or two per area? When a family leaves, it can remain empty (since the Army keeps several empty for emergencies) until another family needs it.

The current methodology seems to be either to:

1. Await allocation of a property, spend money adapting that property and then allow the family to move in; or:

2. To wait for a person’s disability to become problematic, ask the disabled person to contact social services for an occupational health (OH) assessment, determine the costs involved and maybe implement any recommendations. 

The second scenario can take significant time and the serving soldier may be posted in the interim, meaning the whole process has to be repeated for the new SFA.

I am awaiting DIO’s response to my OH report to see whether they feel the adaptations can be provided and I have no idea as to the timescale.

When one has a condition which can deteriorate significantly resulting in disability, coming to terms with this situation is extremely stressful. Overall, it is difficult enough to deal with, both physically and emotionally, without the stress of trying to determine the rules and regulations surrounding adaptations.

Name and address supplied

Response from Andrew Martin, DIO Service delivery accommodation development programme manager: We understand the additional stress and worry that arranging an adapted home can have on Service personnel and their families.

Service Delivery Accommodation is aware of the importance of providing a responsive additional needs service and is always seeking to make improvements.

However, there are a number of reasons why it is not practical to have adapted homes in each area. Disabled individuals do not all have the same needs and adapted features which could help one person would be unnecessary, or could even present a hazard, to another.

There is therefore no “standard” adapted home – we must adapt to specific requirements. Most of the properties we adapt require only minor amendments, which usually cost less than £15,000, but larger scale adaptations can cost between £50,000 and £125,000.

In addition, it would be very difficult to predict where these properties would be required. Some people might prefer to be housed near to their place of work, while others may prefer to be nearer to family and friends.

When some SFA properties are renovated, we take steps to make any future adaptations easier, such as plumbing which would allow a downstairs bathroom to be installed should it become necessary.

Response from AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist, Karen Ross: AFF agrees it’s important that moderate-to-major adaptations to SFA need to be suitable for the individual’s needs. This will be ascertained by an occupational therapist’s (OT) assessment and other medical reports.

However, any SFA that has already been adapted should remain in its adapted state. What hasn’t been addressed here is that DIO requires an OT assessment for all adaptations. It has been previously agreed that a medical report should suffice for minor adaptations, rather than insisting on an OT report which can be difficult to acquire. AFF is disappointed that there isn’t yet a clear process available for families, something we have been requesting for some time. We will continue to work closely with DIO and CarillionAmey to produce a process which is clear for families to follow that provides a reasonable timeframe in which the adaptations should be completed.

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