Disability equipment can be expensive, but you might be able to get some help with the cost from your local council after you've had a care needs assessment. In England, your local council must provide all equipment for free. If you need minor adaptations to your property that cost less than £1,000 each to make, these must also be provided free of charge if you’re assessed as needing them. In Scotland and Wales, you may be asked to pay a ‘reasonable’ amount towards them, based on your finances.
If you need something more expensive, you may be able to get help from your council to pay for this. For more information, see our factsheet Adapting your home to stay independent.
Don’t be rushed into buying something you may not need. Some things to consider include:
- is the equipment easy to set up and use?
- how often will you use it?
- will it still be useful if your condition gets worse?
- would a multifunction device be better than separate devices?
- what after-sales support is included?
If you can’t find anything for your particular needs, some charities may be able to offer tailor-made solutions, for example Remap, Designability or Demand.
The council may have preferred suppliers but you can ask for direct payments to buy the equipment yourself, if you prefer. When the council pays for a piece of equipment, they should clarify with you who owns it and who is responsible for maintenance and repairs.
If you’re paying for your own equipment, you don’t have to pay VAT on some assistive technology and disability equipment. Installation, repairs and accessories are also VAT-free. For more information, go to Gov.uk.
You could ask about paying in instalments, but check the terms because this could be more expensive in the long run. You could also consider buying second-hand equipment – you may be able to get discounts on old demonstration equipment.
Some charities offer grants for disability equipment if you’re on a low income.