Housing: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 increase your independence and reduce the risk of an accident at home
If you or someone in your home are disabled you may qualify for help with adaptations such as:
- 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 (or NHS Highland in Highland) 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 update my organisations details on your Scottish Disability Directory?
The Scottish Disability Directory is the only directory of its kind in Scotland. It provides access to information on thousands of disability organisations and support groups, both local and national.
To update your organisations details then please download and fill in the document below or email us and we can send you out a copy.
Can I get a reduction of Vehicle Excise Duty?
If you are disabled you may be entitled to a reduction or exemption on vehicle tax if you meet the government criteria. The vehicle must be registered in your name or a named driver’s name and must only be used for your personal needs.
You can apply for exemption if you get the:
- higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- enhanced rate mobility component of Adult Disability Payment – mygov.scot
- War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You can get a 50% reduction in vehicle tax if you get the Personal Independence Payment standard rate mobility component or Adult Disability Payment standard rate mobility component Adult Disability Payment – mygov.scot
How can I search for accessible places to visit in Scotland?
Whether you are planning a meal out, a weekend trip or day out to one of Scotland’s parks, there are websites and ‘apps’ that you can use in your search for an accessible venue or activity.
Euan’s Guide is a disabled access review website and app that aims to ‘remove the fear of the unknown’ and inspire people to try new places.
OpenBritain is your website that provides information on accessible tourism in the UK and includes day trips and tourist attractions.
Disabled Go provide access information on venues across the UK and Ireland.
For more information on accessible places to visit in Scotland search our Scottish Disability Directory and select the ‘Holidays/Respite’ category.
How do I get a bus pass entitlement card?
Many people in Scotland are entitled to free bus travel, including some disabled people, younger people and people aged 60 or over. Other concessions can apply to trains and ferries.
You can find out how to apply for your card locally here How to apply for or renew your National Entitlement Card | Transport Scotland
You will need to complete an application form and have
- a recent photograph
- proof of age or disability
- proof of your current address
For further information contact our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
Am I entitled to benefits?
A benefits check is a calculation that will give you an idea of what you might be entitled to. You can get a check at your local welfare rights project, local Council Money Advice , Citizens Advice Bureau. or a charity like Age Scotland. Age Scotland has a guide to what to expect M 15 ben check 2023.indd (ageuk.org.uk) and an online benefit calculator.
You can also use the Turn2us benefit calculator online.
What help is there with energy costs?
Energy costs used to be a worry in winter but now bills can be a challenge all year round.
The good news is there are different grants and schemes available 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.
Home Energy Scotland is a free energy advice service funded by the Scottish Government to help people save money and keep their homes warmer. They offer simple energy saving tips, know about funding schemes and can arrange benefits checks to help people access help.
How can I search for a local disability support group near me?
Local sources of support are likely to know what help is available in your area. You can search for local support groups in Scotland using our Scottish Disability Directory. There may be services near you that offer disability information and advice, help, support and assistance and social support too.
To search for local services:
1. Click on Scottish Disability Directory
2. Under the ‘Category’ section, select ‘Disability and Support groups’
3. Choose your Local Authority
4. Click on ‘Search database’ and see what comes up
We are always working to improve our Scottish Disability Directory. If you know of any groups that are not currently on the directory then please contact us and we can get them added at no cost. If you cannot find a local disability support group within your area using our directory then please give us a call and we can see if there is anything else we can find for you.
Helpline: 0300 323 9961
How can I get a RADAR key?
The National Key Scheme (NKS), often referred to as RADAR keys, offer disabled people independent access to locked public accessible toilets around the country. You can buy from Disability Rights UK either over the phone or through their website.
You can also purchase RADAR keys through some chemists and online.
Call the Disability Information Scotland helpline on: 0300 323 9961
What can I do if I feel that I have been discriminated against?
The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination at work and in wider society. You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. There is detailed guidance here Equality Act Guidance.
If you feel you have been treated unfairly there a number of steps that you can take. You can speak to an advisor at an advice agency such as your local citizens advice bureau or you can call the Equality Advice Support Service (EASS) who can help people with equality and human rights issues.
If you need employment advice, ACAS provide free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees about employment law. You should always get advice before discussing your problem with your employer. You can call their helpline on 0300 123 1100.
Making a complaint about other discrimination
There are several steps that you can take when making a complaint about other matters:
- Follow the organisation’s complaints procedure and say what you would like to happen next. For example an apology, changes to the way they do things or money as compensation. You can use a template form available from the Equality Advisory Support Service.
- Ask an advocate to support you to say what you want to say or explain what you want to say if you are unable to speak for yourself. Contact the Scottish Independent Advocacy Service.
- Get advice about the options, costs and consequences of taking court action.
If you need further information, or help to contact your local advice service please call our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
How can I get a disabled parking space outside my house?
If you need a disabled parking space outside your house, contact your council. They will assess your circumstances and may charge for this.
To qualify, you must
- have a current blue badge
- either be the driver of the vehicle or be assisted by a carer who is the driver if they live where the space is needed
- keep the vehicle at the address you give on the application form
- normally have difficulty getting a perking space on the public road.
A disabled parking space can be used by anyone with a blue badge, not just the person who applied for it.
For further information or help searching for your local council’s contact number then please contact our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
For more information on getting a blue badge, check out our Blue Badges Information Guide.
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.
Most suppliers will know if their product has been specifically designed to help disabled people. They will offer their products free of VAT as you buy them.
You’ll need to confirm in writing that you meet the conditions for zero rating. 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.
How to I get a Blue Badge for parking?
The quickest way to apply for a blue badge is on-line here Apply for a blue badge online
If you do not have access to the internet some local authorities can support you to apply on a paper application form.
I am going on holiday, how do I hire a mobility scooter or wheelchair?
Shopmobility have members throughout the UK who rent out wheelchairs and scooters to help people access shopping centres and leisure activities. You can find a list of their members here Find a ShopMobility Centre | ShopMobility UK
In Wales, Northern Ireland and England you may be able to rent a wheelchair from the Red Cross Rent or hire a wheelchair | British Red Cross
The website Mobility Equipment Hire Direct connects you to commercial suppliers in the UK and across the world.
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?
People often call us because they are struggling with getting in and out of the bath. The first step would be to contact your local social work department (or NHS Highland in Highland) to arrange a care needs assessment. You might qualify for an adaptation such as a walk in shower in your bathroom. For more information see our Assessment of Needs Information Guide.
Housing: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.