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DResearch published by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in 2011 identified four stages within the means testing process:

  • Assess how much the household needs to live on.

This is referred to as ‘allowable income’ and is calculated using a set of standard allowances for living costs using basic amounts of income support/pension credit and a flat rate allowance for housing costs.

  • Compare this with their actual income to see if they have any ‘surplus’ income they could use to pay off a loan.

A ‘tariff’ income is added on for any savings over £6,000. If the household is in receipt of any means tested benefits, they are automatically ‘passported’ through and awarded a 100 per cent grant even if they have some small surplus income according to this calculation.

  • For those not in receipt of means tested benefits, calculate how big a loan they could afford to pay off using their ‘surplus’ income.

The calculations assume a loan period of 10 years for owner-occupiers and 5 years for tenants at a standard rate of interest and incorporate ‘tapers’.

  • Compare the size of the loan they could afford with the cost of the work needed to see whether they qualify for a grant.

If the calculated loan amount is the same or greater than the cost of the adaptations, they do not get any grant. If the loan amount is less than the cost of works, the amount of grant is calculated as the total cost of works minus the total loan amount.

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