If you have a disability, then it’s likely you’re all too familiar with the extra challenges it brings. Regardless of the severity of your disability, even life’s simple tasks can become a struggle, especially if you’re trying to get by on a low income and can’t, therefore, buy equipment or use services that could solve a lot of your problems. This is where the grants can help, allowing you to pay for invaluable support that could seriously increase your personal freedom and independence.
If you’re looking for grant sources, then some of the following may be able to help.
Disabled Facilities Grant
The UK government recognise the need to provide increased mobility to people with a disability and offer a Disabled Facilities Grant. This can be utilised to make modifications to your home to simplify access and allow you to get around more easily. This might be as minimal as having a wheelchair ramp and some grab rails fitted, or it could involve more serious work like widening doors, lowering kitchen units and moving an entire bathroom into a more convenient location.
If you want to get a Disabled Facilities Grant, you have to submit your household income so any payout can be means-tested. If you’re on benefits, however, you will almost certainly qualify for a grant due to your low income. Eligible benefits include income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Income Support and Universal Credit. Depending where you live in the UK you could get up to £30,000, though this is the maximum amount and you’re likely to receive a far smaller payout.
To make an application, simply contact your local council to get the relevant form. The grant will not reimburse you for any money spent, so hold off on having any modifications made until money is approved and, even then, wait until your council decides whether they’re going to pay you or a contractor directly.
Travel for Less
Another form of funding for disabled adults is via free and discounted travel. Using public transport can be expensive, especially if you have to rely on a daily bus or train service. However, there are a number of ways to save money, from free bus passes to discounted train and ferry tickets. Regardless of whether you’re a pensioner, registered blind or have a COPD disability which limits your mobility, you may qualify for travel grants.
Reduced fares for travel come in a variety of forms, so you should identify which would be the most worthwhile for your circumstances.
- Bus Passes
In England and Wales, you could be entitled to a free bus pass if you’re blind, partially sighted, without speech or deaf. You may also be able to get a pass if you were born without, or have lost, your arms, or have a disability or injury which makes walking difficult.To claim a free bus pass, simply contact your local council. In London you can also get a Freedom Pass which provides extra transport on trains, ferries and trams. In Scotland, a National Entitlement Card is available, whilst in Northern Ireland you can get free or discounted fares.
- Train Discounts
Free train tickets are a rarity, but if you’re disabled you’ll probably be able to get discounted rail fares. The Disabled Persons Railcard offers one third off national rail trips for you and a companion. There are no travel restriction in terms of travelling time, though there is a small fee attached; £20 for a year or £54 for three years. The card also works on some Red Funnel and Stena Line fares.In Northern Ireland, a SmartPass is required. This offers half price tickets for many, but also free train travel for those with severe disabilities such as blindness.
- Road Fee Reductions
If you’re able to drive, then having a Blue Badge offers a number of benefits. You can apply for this if you receive a Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement or have received compensation from the Armed Forces. You can also register a vehicle if you’re blind; your carer’s car, for example.Having a Blue Badge means you get extra parking options, saving on fees, but can also avoid paying London’s Congestion Charge.
If you need the help of carer to live comfortably, then it’s a good idea to check if they qualify for a carer’s allowance. This could mean you won’t have to pay them privately because they receive money from the government for the job they’re doing. It could also help if you’re being looked after by a loved one and they’ve had to cut back on their working hours.
If your carer looks after you for more than 35 hours per week, they should be entitled to a Carer’s Allowance as long as you’re receiving at least one of a number of benefits. These include the Disability Living Allowance or the medium or higher rate of PIP. Your carer also needs to be earning £110 or less per week, though this is the maximum after deductions so be sure they’ve taken into account national insurance, income tax and other work-related expenses first. More details can be found on the gov.uk website.
There are many avenues for you to look down when searching for funding if you’re disabled. A lot of charities can provide extra help if you need money for something very specific, but it’s best to check for government benefits too; often these can be the best and easiest way to quickly introduce more independence and wellbeing to your life.