Northampton man forced to build his own wheelchair ramp after Government says no to disability grant

Steve Warren has had to 'throw together' his own wheelchair ramp after he was turned down for a grant.
Steve Warren has had to 'throw together' his own wheelchair ramp after he was turned down for a grant.

A wheelchair-bound Northampton man says he has been passed over by the Government after losing out on a grant to make his new home fit for him to live in.

Steve Warren, 33, has been forced to build his own makeshift ramp to get into his home after he was turned down for the disabled facilities grant under the Government's means test.

He, his wife and his eight-year-old boy moved into their new home in Delamere Road in June in the hope they could use the grant to build a wet room and make the front door wheelchair-accessible.

The work would reportedly run up a bill of over £10,000 - but now Steve has been told to finance the job himself.

Now, without the funding, Steve - who was paralysed after a car accident when he was 18 - says he almost regrets the move and his family is facing years of pulling the cash together alone.

Steve said: "If I had known that I would not have got the grant I wouldn't have bothered to move.

"I'm struggling to get in and out of the house. A friend of mine and me have thrown together a ramp for £150 in the meantime. But this isn't where I wanted to be."

The disabled facilities grant is meant to help residents afford adjustments they might need to their homes, such as wider doors, suitable bathrooms and handrails.

But Steve was turned down after a Government means test ruled he could pay for it himself if he took out a loan.

Steve said: "They decided that a family of three lives on £262 a week - that's bills, mortgages, the car, food, everything - and that I could afford a loan as well. But that's just not going to happen.

"I'm not on benefits, me and my wife both work and we've never asked for help in our lives. Now it feels like if neither of us worked and were on the dole things would be different."

Steve and his family are now faced with scraping together the money to afford the work themselves.

A Northampton Borough Council spokeswoman said: “The figures used to calculate eligibility for the disabled facilities grant are set by Central Government, and as such, any means test undertaken by the council is determined by these figures.”