When someone has been turned down for statutory funding, other forms of support may be available from ‘grant-giving’ charities and trusts. Grants are made at the charity’s discretion, and are subject to funding being available. Grant Funders will not pay for items retrospectively, i.e. items you have already purchased. Most funders will not accept applications directly from the public. Instead, a third party such as a social worker, medical or advice professional must apply on your behalf. The exception to this is grants for disabled children, where funders often take applications directly from parents. The following is just a small selection of ‘grant-giving’ organisations.
Grants to Help Disabled People
The Mobility Trust provides powered wheelchairs and scooters to severely disabled people, of all ages, who can’t get the equipment through other means. The Trust sources the equipment; it does not give grants for applicants to buy the equipment themselves. An occupational therapy assessment is arranged and paid for by the trust, before equipment is provided.
Applications directly from individuals are permitted. To see if the Mobility Trust can help you, the first step is to fill in the information form on their website. They also have a phone number and email address, if you need more information:
Phone: 0118 9842588
The Hospital Saturday Fund provides grants to people with a disability/health condition to pay for a wide range of mobility equipment, medical aids, home adaptations and therapeutic treatments such as physiotherapy. The Fund will not correspond with individuals, so make sure to get a professional to submit the application on your behalf. Applications are made via the website, where there is also more information on what they will fund.
Provides grants to people of any age who are disabled or have a long term health condition, to help them live independently at home. To receive a grant you must be in financial need, have an ‘eligible’ health condition, and be unable to obtain funding from statutory sources. Grants are provided for mobility and disability equipment, home adaptations, communications equipment, general furnishings, beds and more.
Applications must be made to the charity by a third party, using the application form on their website.
Provides grants to adults 18 + with a physical disability, learning disability, or mental health condition. Grants of £100-£600 are given towards the cost of buying or adapting mobility equipment for outdoor use. This includes wheelchairs, mobility scooters, bikes/trikes and car adaptations.
Applications are made on the foundation’s website and must be submitted by a third party, such as a health care professional, social worker or charity/support representative.
Provides one-off grants towards disability equipment for people in financial hardship over the age of 16. The equipment must aid with the applicant’s mobility, independence or ability to work. Applications must be made by a third party professional. To access the grant’s contact details, professionals can make an intermediary account on the Turn2Us grant search website.
Provides grants to British citizens, who are disabled or in ill health. Funds are offered to pay for medical and household aids to help with independent living. Examples of items funded include wheelchairs, nebulisers, computers, washing machines and more.
Funding must not be available elsewhere. Applications must be made by a professional and when applying for specialised equipment; must include an occupational health or physiotherapy report specifying the need for that particular make/brand. Application forms can be found on the Trust’s website.
Provides grants to people to people ‘going short’, i.e. on a low income or living in poverty. One off grants are provided to help with disability as well as education, health and housing.
Applications must be made on your behalf by a council worker, Citizen’s Advice or charity worker. Grants are not meant to be a replacement of State Benefits , so you must have investigated state benefits as an option first. However, you may still apply for a grant, while on benefits.
Grants to Help Disabled Children
Provides funding for disabled/chronically ill children under the age of 19 years, for mobility and sensory equipment. The trust also provides grants for children/young people up to the age of 25, for sports equipment. Equipment which can be funded includes powered wheelchairs, therapy trikes, car seats, buggies and more.
To be eligible, the child must be from a household with an overall income of less than £45,000 a year. Grants can pay for up to 70-80% of the cost of equipment. Parents/Guardians may apply for their child, though a supporting letter from the child’s physiotherapist or occupational therapist is needed. To apply, fill in the application form on the trust’s website.
Tel: 0345 300 1348
Provides grants to children/young people up to the age of 25 with a disability, illness, and poverty. The foundation provides grants for a wide range of things that will benefit a child’s health and wellbeing. Examples include medical equipment, medical treatments ,and equipment to aid learning such as computers. The Foundation will accept applications directly from parents/guardians. To apply, download an application form from their website.
Tel: 020 7700 6855
Provide grants for physically disabled children under 18 years, in Scotland. Funding is provided to meet a specific need not covered by statutory sources e.g clothing, apparatus, equipment, household appliances, furniture, adaptions to home or garden. Applications are normally made through a third party. Parents can contact the organisation directly.
Tel: 07531 580 414
Many large employers, Trade Associations, Professional Bodies and Trade Unions have benevolent funds which are open to applications from current or ex-employees and their dependents. For example, The Drinks Trust provides grants to people who work/used to work in the drinks industry. Another example is the Cavell Trust which helps current/ex nurses and healthcare assistants. Members of the armed forces or veterans may be eligible for help from the The British Legion or SSAFA. If you need help to find a benevolent fund related to your industry, you can call our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
Further Information and useful contacts
There are more available and the Disability Information Scotland helpline can find further information for you. Call us on 0300 323 9961
For information on financial assistance for holidays, see our Holiday and Respite Grants information guide
Information last updated on 6 September 2023. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.
If you would like this information guide in another version then please contact us and we will post or email you a copy.
Aids, Equipment & Adaptations, Money, Benefits & Grants:Frequently Asked Questions
Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:
How can I get an adaptation made to my house?
Housing adaptations can reduce the risk of accidents at home and promote independence.
If you are disabled, or someone in your home is disabled, you may get help with a wide range of adaptations to your home. Examples of adaptations include:
- Replacing a bath with a level access shower.
- Making it easier to get into and out of the house by widening doors or making a ramp.
- Fitting lower worktops in a kitchen.
Smaller adaptions can also be made, such as:
- Fitting a grab rail
- Provision of a shower chair
In most cases, as a starting point you should contact your local Social Work Department and ask for an Assessment of Needs, which is usually done by an Occupational Therapist (O.T.).
For further information see our Disabled Home Adaptations Information Guide.
How can I appeal a PIP decision?
It is always a good idea to seek advice when challenging decisions. An advice agency will be able to tell you if you have a good case; how to obtain medical or other evidence; and may be able to represent you at an appeal hearing. In some cases there is a risk of losing a benefit if you challenge a decision. You can also search the Scottish Disability Directory to find your local welfare rights service.
You can challenge a decision if you think it is wrong according to the rules. The decision about your PIP is set out in a letter that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) send you. This is called the decision letter. The date on the letter is the decision date.
A Mandatory Reconsideration is the first step when challenging a PIP decision. It is asking the DWP to look at the decision again. You must normally ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision date.
Appeal to Tribunal is the second step of challenging a PIP decision. You can normally only do this after you have got a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.
For more information see our Benefit Appeals & Reconsideration Guide.
How will PIP affect my ability to use the Motability Scheme?
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a car, powered wheelchair or scooter. Eligibility to use the Motability Scheme is based on receiving one of the following benefits.
- Higher Rate Mobility Component of DLA
- Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
Awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP
For existing Scheme customers, their eligibility to remain on the Motability Scheme will depend on the outcome of their assessment for PIP. If you are awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP you should not experience any disruption to your lease as you move from one benefit to the other.
NOT awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP
If you are not awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP you will not be eligible to use the Motability Scheme. Being forced to leave the Scheme will be a difficult transition for you and your family.
The Motability Scheme has put in place a one-off package of transitional support to those customers who can no longer use the Scheme as a result of their initial DLA to PIP reassessment. This transitional package will include guidance on your mobility options and next steps, financial support if eligible, advice on buying a second hand car, information on insurance, maintenance and other mobility solutions, as well as the purchase price of your vehicle. You will be able to keep the car for eight weeks after the DLA payments stop.
In addition, if you first joined the Scheme before the end of 2013 you will have the option to keep the car for 26 weeks after the last DLA payment. If you choose to keep the car for this extended period your transitional support payment will be reduced.
For further details of the transitional support process please visit the Motability website. Their website has a useful section with more detailed information on the transitional support package. You can also phone the Motability Scheme helpline on 0300 456 4566.
Am I eligible for a reduction on Vehicle tax?
You might be eligible for a reduction or exemption on vehicle tax if you are disabled and meet the eligibility criteria. The vehicle must be registered in the disabled person’s name or nominated driver’s name and must only be used for the disabled person’s personal needs.
You can apply for exemption from paying vehicle tax if you get the:
- higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You can get a 50% reduction in vehicle tax if you get the PIP standard rate mobility component.
For more information contact our helpline on 0300 323 9962.
How can I find out what benefits might I be eligible for?
A good first step to see whether you are eligible to apply for certain benefits is to have a ‘benefits check’. A benefits check is a calculation that will include an estimate of what and how much you might get. You can get a check at your local welfare rights project, local Council Money Advice or Citizens Advice Bureau. Some housing associations and GP surgeries might also offer them.
You can also use the Turn2us benefit calculator online.
Before doing a benefits check, you will need information about any savings, income, pension, childcare payments or existing benefits (for both yourself and your partner).
To find your local welfare rights service search our Scottish Disability Directory. or contact our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
What support is available to help keep warm this winter?
At this time of year fuel costs increase and it can be difficult to keep yourself warm and cosy!
The good news is there are different grants and schemes available throughout the country to help people improve the heating in their homes and keep heating costs down. Check out our Help to heat your home guide for more information on what you might be eligible for.
Home Energy Scotland is a free impartial energy advice service to help people save money and keep their homes warmer. They offer simple energy saving tips, make referrals to funding schemes and can arrange benefits and tax credit checks to help people access available assistance.
If you would like more information about how you can help heat your home then please call Home Energy Scotland’s free helpline on 0808 808 2282 to check what support you might be entitled to. You can also text WARM to 60163 for a call back or email email@example.com.
From layering up with fleeces and blankets, to keeping refueled with hot drinks, there are ways that you can help keeps yourself cosier and keeps fuel costs down. For some extra tips check out our Get Winter Ready blog and/or the Home Energy Scotland ‘Keeping your home warm this winter’ blog.
Am I eligible for VAT relief on disability equipment?
In general, disabled people do not have to pay VAT on goods and services that are designed/ or adapted solely for use by disabled people. These goods and services are often called ‘zero-rated’ or ‘eligible for VAT relief’.
The majority of suppliers will know if their product has been specifically designed to help disabled people. They will offer their products free of VAT at the point of sale.
You’ll need to confirm in writing that you meet these conditions. Your supplier may give you a form for this.
Most suppliers will use the Notice 701/7 VAT relief for disabled people form.
For further information see our VAT Exemption for Disabled Goods Information Guide or call our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
I am going on holiday, how do I hire a mobility scooter or wheel chair when I am there?
If you are staying within the UK you can search for a Shop Mobility local to where you are going. Another option would be to search for local mobility equipment providers.
The Mobility Equipment Hire Direct is a one stop shop to hire a wide range of mobility equipment in a variety of destinations from anywhere in the world using your chosen currency and in your chosen language.
Helpline: 0300 323 9961
For further information on hiring equipment away from home check out our Accessible Holidays Information Guide
I’m struggling getting in and out of my bath, is there any support that I can get?
Often we get individuals phoning because they are struggling with getting in and out of their bath. The first step would be to contact your local social work department to arrange an Assessment of Needs. You might be eligible to get an adaptation, such as a walk in shower, made to your bathroom. For more information see our Assessment of Needs Information Guide.
Aids, Equipment & Adaptations, Money, Benefits & Grants:Search for Local Organisations
Our quick search tool can connect you to over 3000 service providers, suppliers and organisations supporting people across Scotland. To find support near you, simply enter your search term and select your local authority.