Moving house if you have a disability
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.
Housing Executive or housing association home
Most Housing Executive and housing association tenants are allowed to transfer from or exchange their property. If you are already a tenant of the Housing Executive or a housing association and you wish to move, you can apply for a transfer. You will need to fill in a Housing/Transfer application form.
Your landlord will assess your housing needs and place you on the list for a transfer to other accommodation owned by any of the participating landlords within your areas of choice.
Asking for a transfer will not normally be considered where:
- your existing tenancy is less than two years old
- you have arrears of four weeks or more
- the existing property is not in a good state of repair or you own recoverable charges for repairs
- you are guilty of any other serious break of the tenancy conditions
- Home exchange and mobility schemes
Disabled Facilities Grants
A Disabled Facilities Grant from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive helps to adapt the home of a person with a disability. An occupational therapist will assess what adaptations are needed.
Owner-occupiers, landlords or private tenants can get help to carry out adaptations, if there is a person with a disability living in the house. An occupational therapist must make the recommendation to the Housing Executive.
Your local health and social care trust
Care and support services
If you receive any care or support services (including equipment) or direct payments to arrange your own care and services, you should contact your local trust and let them know you're moving.
Your local trust will then set up the same support and services you have been receiving, on a short-term basis, so that there is no gap in your care and support services when you move.
Later, your local trust will do their own health and social care assessment and decide what services and equipment you're entitled to, according to their own standards.
If you move without telling your local trust, there may be a delay before you can receive any services.
Employing a professional carer
Moving to a new place may also mean you have to employ a new personal assistant.
If you have any disability equipment in your home from your local trust, this is usually on loan and 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 be able to give you replacement equipment.
Blue badges, bus and community transport
The Blue Badge scheme runs throughout the UK. If you have a Blue Badge that entitles you to disabled parking benefits, you don't have to apply for a new Blue Badge when you move to a different area. If you're moving outside Northern Ireland 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.
Wheelchair Service wheelchairs
If you have received a wheelchair from the Department of Health's 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.
If you receive Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit, these will not be affected if you move house, unless you move into residential care (like a care home or hospice).
You must tell your local Jobs and Benefits office about any change of address. For Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, you can also call the Disability Benefits Helpline.
If you cannot move into a new rented home straight away because you're waiting for it to be adapted to meet your needs, and the Housing Executive agrees that the delay is reasonable, you can get Housing Benefit towards your rent on the new property for up to four weeks before you move in.
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.