Disabled people do not need to pay VAT on most disability equipment or adaptations made to equipment for their use.
To apply for a VAT exemption the supplier will usually ask you to sign a form declaring that the item is for a person with a disability or chronically sick.
A Declaration form can be download from HM Revenue and Customs or from one of their local offices.
If you are over 60 you can buy mobility aids for your home at the reduced VAT rate of 5%.
This covers the supply and installation of grab rails, ramps, stair lifts, bath lifts, built in shower seats or showers with a built in shower seat and walk-in baths with sealable doors.
Further information and a declaration form can be found on the HM Revenue and Customs website.
Wheelchair Voucher Scheme
If you are applying for a grant towards a wheelchair you may asked by the charity if you have a wheelchair voucher.
These are available from you local wheelchair assessment centre if you are eligible for a wheelchair. The value of the voucher will vary as the amount reflects the cost of basic wheelchair suitable for your needs.
The voucher is given instead of a wheelchair. If you accept the voucher you will not be able to have a wheelchair from the NHS Wheelchair Service for approximately 5 years (3 years for children) unless you have a change of needs.
FREE showering equipment/Wet room adaptations
Impey Showers, the inventors of the wet room have launched a campaign to highlight the need for individuals with reduced mobility to be provided with accessible facilities.
To support this they are donating showering equipment to vulnerable people throughout the UK.
It also provides wetroom adaptations to individuals who desperately need the vital work but have been refused funding through a Disabled Facilities Grant.
Family, friends and carers of those in need of a wet room for health reasons should contact the Impey Cares team through the on-line form. Include information on who you would like to nominate for a free adpated and installed bathroom.
Nominations are also accepted from schools, charities and other not-for-profit organisations.
Prescriptions and Sight Tests
Free prescriptions • Free eye tests
People who have a listed medical condition can obtain free prescriptions. This includes cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and a continuing physical disability that requires support of another person outside the home.
Free eye tests are available to the registered blind and partially sighted, individuals with diabetes and glaucoma.
Those on low income may also qualify for free prescriptions and eye tests.
It can sometimes be beneficial to purchase a Prescription Prepayment Certificate. This works like a season ticket for prescriptions. Once purchased the certificate will cover the prescription costs for the period of the card.
For more information download this free booklet.
Free Home Eye tests
Visioncall provide free (NHS) home eye tests to the elderly and housebound disabled people in the UK.
They are able to visit your own home or any care home. Visioncall have specialist eye tests for those living with Dementia and Alzheimers.
Reductions for the disabled • Reductions for carers
If you have a disability or someone with a disability living in your home you may be able to obtain a discount on the Council tax.
The home must be the main residence for the disabled person and must have one of the following:
Homes that qualify will be downgraded to a lower council tax band.
Discounts also apply to those with a severe mental impairment, live in carers and for properties left empty if the resident has been moved to hospital or a care home.
Contact your local council for further details and an application form.
Get Online @ Home is a Microsoft backed scheme to provide affordable and easy to use computers.
Desktops and Laptops are available at discounted prices starting from £95 for people receiving certain benefits and charities. This includes Disability Living Allowance and the Disability element of Working Tax Credits.
The computers are ready to use. In addition to the built in Windows 7 accessibility software they have also included other accessibility software:
Purchases are made on-line or on the telephone: 03719 100 100.
Included with the package is free telephone support to help you set up your computer for the first 30 days.
Discounted and refurbished computers
Remploy, the UK's largest employer of disabled people has developed low-cost internet and hardware packages.
Refurbished computers are loaded with either Microsoft or Ubuntu software can be purchased from £92 if you are in receipt of certain benefits. There is a selection of computers and screen sizes available at varying prices depending on the specifications of the computer.
To find out more information either telephone: 08450 268 293 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Free to over 75's • Concessions to blind and disabled in residential homes
Free TV Licences are available to those over 75 years.
Over 60's and the disabled living in residential settings may obtain an ARC (Accommodation for Residential Care) concessionary licence. While the registered blind can obtain a 50% discount.
Capped water bills
Water Boards in England, Wales and Scotland are able to offer capped water bills to those with a disability or on certain benefits.
Before you apply you need to have a meter fitted. This is fairly straightforward and can be organised quickly. It is usually free of charge.Once you have a water meter and if someone in your household gets benefits you may be possible to get the water bill capped.
To qualify for a cap on your water charges, you need to be getting benefits (such as Tax Credits or Disability Living Allowance)and either:
If you're accepted, your costs will be limited to the average household bill for your water company however much water you use. The company will then check each year to see if your situation remains the same.
To find out more information contact your local water supplier for an application form and further information.
FREE Rough Guide to Accessible Britain if you hold a Blue Badge, Disabled Person's Railcard or you're a Motability customer. Usual cost £6.99.
To obtain your book either download a form or telephone 0800 953 7070. For large print or Braille versions of the guide telephone 0800 953 7070.
FREE use of Tandems
Charlotte's Tandems is a charity that lends tandems (and trailer bikes) to people of any age, disability or special need for free, so that they can enjoy the wonders of cycling.
The tandems are available for people to collect from their base in Gloucestershire. Full details are on their website.
Carers go free
This is a national card providing concessionary cinema tickets for carers accompanying a disabled person to the cinemas across the UK.
The card is valid for one year and costs £5.50.
The application is made by the disabled person who must be either in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or registered as blind.
To apply download an application form and return to The Card Network, Network House, St Ives Way, Sandycroft, CH5 2QS
Daily Free E-books searches Amazon each day for e-books that are temporarily free.
You can register to have e-mail up-dates or RSS/Facebook feed to find out about their latest free books.
When you select a book to download you will be directed to Amazon.com. On the right hand side of the page there is a box informing you that "Kindle titles are available for UK customers on Amazon.co.uk". Select this box and you will be redirected to Amazon.co.uk.
Don't worry if you haven't got a Kindle - you can download "Kindle for the PC" free so you can read the e-books on your computer. I've tried it and it works!
You can also download "Kindle for iphone".
Carer goes free • Free Access guide
English Heritage has over 400 properties including abbeys, castles and stately homes.
It provides free entry to carers or companions of the disabled to English Heritage sites.
To help you plan your visit a free Access Guide providing information on facilities and support can be downloaded from their website.
It is also planning to produce other publications in a variety of accessible formats.
Up to 50% off Haven Holidays
Motability customers can book accommodation with Haven Holidays at a discounted price.
The discount varies depending on the season.
Free or reduced charges and fees
Joining your local library is free. For disabled users there is usually a reduced (sometimes free) library charges for computer access, audio and visual material and for fees on overdue books.
The concessionary rate and the eligibility requirements vary between local authorities. Evidence of disability or benefits received may be required.
Free access to Attractions
The Max Card provides free access for looked-after children, their friends and family to attractions across the UK.
Although originally set up for looked-after children some Local Authorities are now using the scheme for children and young people in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
To check whether your Local Authority is participating in the scheme check here. If not, recommend your authority using the on-line form.
Carer goes free • Free access guide
The National Trust are able to issue a companions free entre card "Admit One" for the carer. It is issused to the disabled person so that it can be used for different carers.
To obtain an "Admit One" card e-mail the disabled person's name and address to email@example.com or telephone: 0793 817634
The National Trust publish an excellent Access Guides to their properties which can be downloaded from their website as a complete book or in individual regional guides. A hardbook copy is available in standard and large print, CD and tape.
Reduced rates for audio books
The RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) run a Talking books service. For a reasonable subscribtion fee you can have book CD delieved to your home. Over the course of a year if you use the service regualry it amounts to a considerable saving on purchased audio CD's
You are able to order six books at a time but as many as you want throughout the year. The service is quick and it's easy to order new titles.
Included in the full subscription fee is a Daisy Player to play the CD. The use of the Daisy player means that one CD can contain a whole book where normal audio CD's may need 6 or more CD's for the same book.
The Daisy player is easy to operate and is able to change the voice speed to suit the listener.
It is only available to individuals with a visual impairment.
Free parking around the UK • Free London Congestion charge • Toll concessions (reduced rate or free)
The Blue Badge Scheme is for children and adults with severe mobility problems. It allows them to park close to their desination.
Apply through your local authority (there is a small fee).
To obtain a discount on the London Congestion charge register with Transport for London at least 10 days before your journey.
Free bus travel
Older and disabled people are entitled to free bus travel. You are eligible if you are visually impaired, profoundly deaf, are without speech, have a learning difficulty, mobility difficulties and loss of arms.
The scheme is operated differently in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
To apply contact your local authority.
Save 1/3 on most adult rail fares • 10% discount Calendonian Sleeper • Discounts with Wightlink, Red Funnel and Stena Line • Up to 50% discount on Haven Holidays
Available for £20 a year (£54 for 3 years) to those on disability related benefits, registered deaf or use a hearing aid, registered visually impaired or have epilespsy.
To apply: download an application form or visit local manned station.
To book assitance (I have had a positive experience of this service)
To receive exemption from Car Tax you must be receiving either the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or the War Pension Mobility Supplement
If you receive Disability Living Allowance contact the Disability Allowance Unit on 0845 712 3456 and ask for leaflet DLA 403 and an application form.
Those in receipt of the War Pension Mobility Supplement need to apply to the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency on 0800 169 2277 and ask for exemption certificate, WPA 0442.
Users of the Motability Scheme will receive their tax disc direct from Motability and do not need to apply for the exemption.
Reduced or free tolls
Toll concessions are available for the disabled at river crossings,bridges and tunnels.
Unfortunately, conditions vary from applying for vouchers if you are in receipt of higher rate Disability Living Allowance, holding a Blue Badge, or having a registered disabled vehicle (on Tax disc).
Check out the details here.
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