Local Councils & Support Organisations: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 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.
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.
Can I use my Blue Badge in Europe?
The Blue Badge scheme is for drivers or passengers with severe mobility problems. The scheme provides a range of on-street parking concessions enabling Blue Badge holders to park closer to where they need to go. The scheme operates throughout the UK and is managed by local authorities who deal with applications and issue badge. The Blue Badge is recognised across Europe, so you benefit from the same parking rights as anyone else with a disability in whichever country you’re in.
Parking concessions for holders of a disabled parking card differ from country to country, so it’s important to check the rules in the country you’re visiting
For further information check out the worldwide guide to parking abroad by The International Automobile Federation.
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.
Age Scotland have developed a mini-guide on accessible days out in Britain. Check out the Great British accessible attractions mini-guide.
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 concessionary bus pass?
Concessionary travel gives free or discounted trips on public transport to eligible disabled people and older people living in Scotland. This information guide outlines the main travel concessions available, eligibility and how to apply. Concessions apply to buses, trains, ferries and some coach services.
Contact your Local Authority or Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to apply for your National Entitlement Card. Find your local concessionary contact at the Transport Scotland Website.
You will need:
- a recent completed application form
- a recent photograph
- proof of age or disability
- proof of your current address
For further information see our Travel concessions for disabled people information guide or contact our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
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.
How can I search for a local disability support group near me?
Local and community based sources of support can be fantastic places to let you know a range of other support services in your area. You can search for local support groups for adults and children in Scotland using our Scottish Disability Directory. Local support groups can offer disability information and advice, help, support and assistance to disabled people, their family members and carers. Additionally they might run social events or meet ups within your area.
To search our Scottish Disability Directory follow the instructions below:
1. Make your way to our Scottish Disability Directory page on the website
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 and are looking to add smaller local support groups. 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 look further into 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. Additionally, most local authorities have one-stop-shops or local charities that you can get them from. You will need to provide proof of your disability when buying one.
For a list of locations where you can buy a RADAR key local to you, see our list of RADAR key retailers.
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 in the workplace 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. For further information on the definition of disability, see the 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 advise and assist people on issues relating to equality and human rights.
If you need employment advice, ACAS provide free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. You can call their helpline on 0300 123 1100.
If you can’t sort out the problem at work, you may be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal. You should use the ACAS free Early Conciliation service before applying to a tribunal. In most cases the tribunal must receive your claim within three months of the dispute.
Making a complaint
There are several steps that you can take when making a complaint.
- Complain directly to the person or organisation. You can write a formal letter or complaint. Your letter should also say what you would like to happen next. For example: an apology; changes to the way they do things; money as compensation. You can use a template form available from the Equality Advisory Support Service.
- You can ask someone else to help you sort it out. Some mediation services offer free or subsidised mediation. Contact Scottish Mediation.
- An advocate can support you to say what you want to say, or will say what you want to say, when you are not able to do so. Contact the Scottish Independent Advocacy Service.
- Make a claim in Court. Be aware that if you do decide to make a claim in court, you need to tell the court about your claim (by filling in a form and paying a fee) within six months of what happened. Information about how to make claim in Scotland can be found on the Scottish Courts Service website.
You do not have to choose only one of these. Instead, you could try each of them in turn. You can, if you want to, make a claim in court straight away. Do think very carefully about whether making a claim in court is the right course of action for you. Making a claim may be demanding on your time and emotions, and before starting the process you may want to look at whether or not you have a good chance of succeeding.
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?
To get a disabled parking space outside of your house, you should contact your local council to apply for a disabled parking space. They will conduct an assessment which may incur a cost.
To apply, you must meet the following conditions:
- have a valid and current blue badge
- either be the driver of the vehicle or be assisted by a carer who is the driver, provided that the carer lives at the address stated
- the vehicle must be kept at the address stated in the application form
- there is normally difficulty in obtaining a parking space on the public road.
Bear in mind that the space can be used by anyone with a disabled parking blue badge and cannot be reserved for the sole use of the applicant.
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’.
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 would like to apply for a blue parking badge, where do I start?
The quickest and easiest way to apply for a blue badge is on-line. You will be asked a few questions to see if you may be eligible before applying.
The second option is to make an application through your local council. Many local authorities have applications available to down load online. If you do not have access to the internet then you can phone your local authority and request a paper copy be sent out.
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.
Local Councils & Support Organisations: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.