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Tuesday, 2 October 2023

Moving house if you are disabled

If you want to move house, you should plan ahead to make sure you receive the services and support you're used to when you move. Support services are often delivered differently in different places.


Social and council housing

If you're living in social or council housing, one way to find a council or housing association house in another area is through mutual exchange.

You can also make a housing application directly to the housing association or local authority in the area you wish to move to. Priority may be given to local applicants who are in need of housing in the borough so you may have to wait a long time.

Disabled Facilities Grants

If the house you're moving to needs adapting to meet your needs, you should apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. These are available from your new local council. An occupational therapist will come and do an assessment. Then you know in advance if you're eligible for a grant and if the house is considered suitable for adaptation.

If your current home has already been adapted, you may be able to take your stair lift or bath hoist when you move. Check with your local council for their particular rules about this.

Relocation grants

Your local council may offer a relocation grant to help towards the cost of moving house if both the following apply:

  • you've applied for a Disabled Facilities Grant to make adaptations to your current home
  • your local social services department has decided that your home is not suitable for adaptation

Not all councils offer relocation grants. They may set their own maximum grant amounts and rules about who is eligible. This may affect if you can use the grant to move out of the borough. It is best to speak to someone from social services before planning a move.

Your new local authority

Care and support services

You should contact the social services department at your existing local council and let them know you're moving. Especially if you receive any care or support services (including equipment) or direct payments to arrange your own care and services.

Your local social services team should contact the social services department in your new borough. The new team will then set up the same support and services you have been receiving. This will be on a short-term basis, so that there is no gap in your care and support services when you move.

Later, your new social services team will do their own health and social care assessment. They will decide what services and equipment you're entitled to, according to their own standards.

Different councils may have slightly different rules about this, so you may not receive exactly the same services in your new location.

If you move without telling social services, there may be a delay before you can receive any services from your new local council.

Direct payments

If you're used to receiving direct payments, you may receive a different amount after you move. This is because hourly rates for providing services may differ from council to council.

Charging policies vary from council to council. You may find that you have to pay for a service you used to receive for free. Or that a service you used to pay for is now free.

Moving to a new location, especially if the distance is far, may also mean you have to employ a new personal assistant.


If you have any disability equipment in your home that is provided by your local council, this is usually on loan. You must return it when you move.

The more notice you give social services of your move, the sooner your new social services team will provide replacement equipment.

Blue Badges, bus and community transport

The Blue Badge scheme operates throughout the UK. If you have a Blue Badge, you don't have to apply for a new one when you move to a different area. You should contact your new local council about six weeks before your Blue Badge expires so they can issue a new one.

If you have a free bus pass where you live now, you should also qualify for a bus pass in the new location. Some councils also have other concessions for local residents. You can find out what the rules are from your new council.

Community transport can differ quite a lot from one council to another. You can find out from your new council what's available in the area you are moving to.

NHS Wheelchair Service wheelchairs

If you have received a wheelchair from the NHS Wheelchair Service, the wheelchair should go with you when you move. Depending on what type of agreement you have, the Wheelchair Service in your new area may take over the maintenance of your wheelchair.

Financial support

Your benefits

If you move house and you receive one of the following benefits, these won't be affected unless you move into residential care:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit

You must tell your local Jobcentre about any change of address. For Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, you can also call the Disability Benefits Helpline.

Housing Benefit

You can get Housing Benefit towards your rent on the new property for up to four weeks before you move in. You may be eligible if you can't move into a new rented home straight away. This may be because you're waiting for it to be adapted to meet your needs, and your local council agrees that the delay is reasonable.

If you are still paying rent on your old home during this time, you can get Housing Benefit on both properties for those four weeks. This applies only if you qualify for Housing Benefit.

Leaving home to study in higher education

If you are leaving home to start college or university study, you may be able to get Disabled Students' Allowances and other financial help.

Local services in your new home

You can find out about many public services in your local area, including schools and health services, from Directgov. In many cases, you can also apply online for services, entitlements and grants.

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