How to approach constituent funding enquiries: general advice and resources.
This information should not be relied upon as legal or professional advice. Read the disclaimer.
Purchasing disability equipment can be very expensive for constituents. Below are links to some websites that outline the statutory support available to constituents.
This page also provides a list of some charitable organisations that may be able to help. Please note that these lists are not exhaustive.
For general funding advice see the constituency casework article Finding funding for constituents.
Government support and advice
Social Care support
A disabled constituent might be eligible for financial help via their local authority. Local authorities must carry out a needs assessment and develop a care and support plan for an individual.
Local authorities must provide the following services free of charge:
- community equipment (smaller items to help with daily tasks, such as a telephone with larger buttons or a portable alarm)
- up to six weeks of intermediate care (Age UK PDF 204KB), including re-ablement services (rehabilitative support after a short illness or after being discharged from hospital)
- minor adaptations to your home (costing less than £1,000)
More information about these services can be found via the following links:
- On the NHS website Local authority funding for care
- In the Department of Health and Social Care’s Care and Support Statutory Guidance (para 8.14).
- In Age UK’s guide: Intermediate care and re-ablement (PDF 204KB)
Local authorities can provide other support and equipment (such as wheelchairs) as part of a care and support plan. The authority can charge for these services on a means-tested basis.
They are available for essential adaptations to give disabled people better freedom of movement into and around their homes, and to give access to essential facilities within the home.
Scotland operates a different system whereby grant assistance may be available for disabled adaptations, although it is not issued in the form of a DFG.
See below for details of the schemes in each country:
- Disabled Facilities Grants – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Getting adaptations – Shelter Cymru
- Disabled Facilities Grants | nidirect
- The scheme of assistance for house repairs and adaptations – Citizens Advice Scotland
Some local NHS Trusts offer wheelchairs under the NHS Wheelchair Services, but availability varies according to area. For more information on this, and other NHS advice, see the webpage Choosing mobility equipment, wheelchairs and scooters.
People in receipt of any of the following benefits are entitled to mobility vehicles and vehicle adjustments via the Motability scheme:
- Higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA);
- Enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP);
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP); or
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
Others may be eligible following assessment. For more information, see the Library briefing paper on the Motability Scheme
Other advice and support for adults
Further information on funding for home adaptations is available in the
The Money Advice Service has several helpful webpages:
- Funding to adapt your home for accessibility
- What disability and sickness benefits can I claim?(includes a section on ‘Help with getting about’, i.e. Motability and blue badge schemes)
- Local authority funding for care costs – do you qualify?
- Shopping around for disability aids and equipment
- Charitable grants for ill or disabled people
There are also several charities that can offer financial help to help disabled people purchase equipment, including:
- Barchester’s Charitable Foundation
- Equipment for Independent Living
- Mobility Trust
- The Edward Gostling Foundation
Government support and advice
As is the case for adults, support for disability equipment for a disabled child, may be available through the local authority, NHS Trust and/or the Motability scheme.
Under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 local authorities are under a general duty
to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need…by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children’s needs.
A disabled child is classed as a “child in need”.
The 1989 Act states that
every local authority shall provide services designed to minimise the effect on disabled children within their area of their disabilities [and] to give such children the opportunity to lead lives which are as normal as possible.
A local authority may charge for some or all of these services however, depending on a means test.
Further information can be found in the Library briefing paper, Local authority support for children in need (England).
Disabled Facilities Grants are also available via a local authority: if they are for a disabled person under the age of 19, the means-test is not applied.
The Motability Scheme is available to children over 3 years old who receive either the:
- higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance; or the
- enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment
Mobility aids may also be available from the local NHS wheelchair service following an assessment of mobility needs. The NHS website provides:
If you’re concerned about your child’s ability to move around normally, your GP may refer you to a physiotherapist to assess their mobility needs.
As part of the assessment, the physiotherapist will discuss mobility aids that could help your child, such as:
- walking aids – which you can loan from the local hospital or community health service
- wheelchairs, buggies and adapted seating – from your local NHS wheelchair service
You can get contact details for your local wheelchair service from your GP or physiotherapist.
The charity Whizz-Kidz can provide children under 18 with mobility equipment that’s not available from the NHS. They also offer wheelchair skills training. Go Kids Go! also provides free wheelchair skills courses.
Information on Government and NHS support for disabled children is available at:
- UK Government: Help if you have a disabled child.
- NHS: Tips for caring for a disabled child, which contains a section on Your child’s ability to move around.
- The Money Advice Service webpage on Disability benefits and entitlements for children.
Other Advice and Support for Children
There are a number of charities that provide financial help to families with disabled children, including:
- Variety, the children’s charity
- Elifar Foundation
- Stanley Stein Deceased Charitable Trust(also for those over 75 years old)
- Lifeline for Kids[for those under 19 years old]
- Caudwell Children
- Family Fund
- Children Today
- Research Briefing: Local authority support for children in need (England)
- Research Briefing: Motability scheme
- Research Briefing: Local replacements for the Independent Living Fund (ILF)
- Research Briefing: Social care: paying for care home places and domiciliary care (England)
The Commons Library does not intend the information in this article to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual. We have published it to support the work of MPs. You should not rely upon it as legal or professional advice, or as a substitute for it. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein. You should consult a suitably qualified professional if you require specific advice or information. Read our briefing for information about sources of legal advice and help.
This briefing provides information on the definition and identification of "children in need" as set out in the Children Act 1989, the assessment process, and the services available to children in need and their families in England.
This House of Commons Library briefing paper sets out how individuals are assessed for local authority funding support towards the costs of their social care for 2019/20. A link to the full report in pdf format can be found at the bottom of this page.