Financial Support Services for People with Disabilities
According the research by Scope, the life of a disabled person will, on average, cost an extra £583 a month when compared to those living without a disability. There are numerous costs that welfare alone can’t cover, leaving individuals and families left short.
However, there is support available for those that need it; once you know what you’re entitled to, there are numerous services designed to help those who are struggling to cover the costs of day-to-day life and save money.
According to the government, those with disabilities and long-term illnesses shouldn’t be charged VAT on essential items and the equipment that they rely on. This includes but is not limited to:
- Emergency alarms
- Specialist beds
- Building work for adjustments for handrails and ramps
- Installation costs, repairs and maintenance
To check what’s included, you can refer to the HMRC guide for more information.
It’s worth noting that it’s always best to check if the discount is available for the item before purchasing it. Also be aware that the discount is removed during purchase instead of reclaiming the VAT back afterwards.
Utility Bill Reduction
If you’re disabled or living with a disabled person, you can claim certain discounts on your utility.
If you have a medical condition that requires the use of a significant amount of water and are on benefits, you could potentially be eligible to pay the area’s average metered bill.
The scheme works by using a fitted water metre and capping your bill to the surrounding area’s average. If you use under the average, then you’ll only need to pay for what you’ve used.
To apply, all you need to do is speak to your water supplier and fill out a form. You will need evidence to support your application; this can include your awards notice of benefits and proof of your medical condition.
Warm Home Discount
To help support vulnerable customers who can’t afford their energy bills, this discount includes a credit of £140 on your energy bill, which will be credited between September and March.
To be eligible, you will need to either have a low income, receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or get means-tested benefits like universal credit. There is a limited amount available each year, so the scheme works on a first-come-first-served basis.
Reduced Council Tax
Council tax is calculated on the size of the property. However, being disabled can often require extra space, such as a large washroom or space to allow access for wheelchairs and specialist equipment. Be sure to ask your local council about the Disabled Band Reduction scheme to see if you could be entitled to a reduced council tax bill.
If you have been diagnosed with SMI and are living alone, you won’t need to pay council tax. However, if you live with another adult, you can gain a 25% discount.
Disabled Student Allowance
If your disability affects your studies, you can apply for DSA. To apply, you need to be in either full or part-time education for at least a year. The allowance is intended to help cover the costs incurred from studying with a disability.
You can apply for DSA when applying for other student finance, such as tuition and maintenance fees. If you’re not applying for other loans, you’ll need to download a DSA1 application form, which can be found on the Student Finance website.
Students that are eligible for the NHS Disabled Students’ Allowance won’t be able to also apply for DSA.
A medical condition or physical disability can exempt you from paying the standard prescription charge; for this, you will need a valid medical exemption certificate.
You can collect a form from your doctor; the application process should take around two weeks. Between applying and receiving your medical exemption certificate, you can apply for a refund on your purchased prescriptions. But be sure to ask for an FP57 refund receipt when paying.
Reduced Rates at Libraries
Some libraries will offer lower rates for bookings and borrowings for disabled people. You will usually find free or cheaper audio-visual material available for disabled people. Sadly, this is not a service that is required, so not all libraries will offer it. Get in touch with your local council to find out what particular discounts are available.
Some local authorities offer a free delivery service for disabled and housebound people, which is worth finding out more about if you are unable to visit your local library.
Reduced Travel Tariffs
Fortunately, there are discount schemes when it comes to travel, which can help make life that little bit easier.
The Blue Badge allows holders to park their car at reduced rates or park in exclusive areas that offer better mobility and accessibility. Blue Badges also offer other benefits, such as parking on double yellow lines if the car isn’t blocking access or creating an obstruction.
Most public car parks will allow Blue Badge holders to park for free during certain periods. However, this will need to be double-checked.
Those with “hidden” disabilities, such as anxiety or dementia, can now get a Blue Badge. However, the eligibility does vary; you can find further information at GOV.UK.
Disabled bus passes are available to apply for through your local council, or you can apply for discounted bus travel.
Those living in London can apply for a Freedom Pass, which allows free travel across the city, including the use of the tube, busses and rail journeys.
Rail & Coach Travel
Disabled railcards provide a lot of savings, which can quickly add up. Annually, they will cost £20, but you will receive a third off of your travel at any time. When travelling with a carer, they will also receive a third off of their fare.
The National Express Disabled Coachcard is priced at a reduced amount of £12.50, but this may also incur an extra P&P charge of £2.50. Like the railcard, the coach card also offers a third off of your travel fare.
To receive the cards, you will need to prove your eligibility; commonly accepted evidence includes proof of receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or are registered as having a hearing or visual impairment.
We hope this article has proven to be a helpful resource. As proud providers of holidays for people with disabilities, supporting those with disabilities and their families is at the heart of what we do.
For more information about The Calvert Experience, please get in touch with our friendly team.
Nick, a 68-year-old stroke survivor, has pedalled 100 miles in less than a month to raise £370 for Calvert Trust Exmoor. This is the second year in a row that Nick has cycled for us after he raised £280 in 2020.
A stroke in 2009 changed Nick’s busy life forever, but he wanted to continue his love of cycling.
However, Nick felt lop-sided with limited mobility and describes his mental state as being “like a jigsaw has dropped and you need to find the scatted pictures.” Therefore he could not use a regular two-wheeled bike.
Nick was introduced to accessible cycling at Calvert Trust Exmoor in 2015 when he visited with his wife to help with his ongoing stroke recovery. He enjoyed several activities but using an adaptive bike was his highlight. He told us…
“I resolved to ‘Never Give Up’, the motto that still keeps me pedalling to this day! My first experience of what would go on to be my passion, recumbent cycling, was at Calvert Trust Exmoor.
“Finally, I could safely get the adrenaline pumping by hooning around at hair-raising speeds. I came straight home and bought my own recumbent trike and haven’t stopped since.”
After Calvert Trust Exmoor temporarily closed due to Covid-19 in 2020, Nick was keen to get involved with fundraising and wanted to raise money to ensure the charity could continue its work in the future. “Crucial funds were needed to cover essential and unavoidable costs like caring for the equipment, the horses and maintaining the fabric of the centre,” said Nick.
Then, when our 25th Birthday Fundraising Appeal was launched this year, he wanted to get involved once again to raise what he could.
Calvert Trust Exmoor wishes to thank Nick for his efforts, fundraising £650 in less than two years. His continued strength and determination to keep going and keep improving himself is amazing, he should be very proud. It’s been great to have him on board, raising crucial funds during the pandemic. We wish Nick all the best for the future and whatever he decides to do next.
Kathleen raises £327 by entering Devon ultramarathon
Kathleen, from South Molton, took part in the 117 mile non-stop Devon Coast to Coast Ultramarathon on the 15th and 16th of May 2021 and has so far raised more than £327 for Calvert Trust Exmoor.
Kathleen joined the other runners on the start line at 6 am on Saturday in Wembury on the South Devon coast. From there, the aim was to run across Devon through the night, hoping to finish Sunday evening at Lynmouth.
Sadly Kathleen could not finish and had to stop, but she is still pleased to have covered 68 miles non-stop in 23 hours and to have raised money for a charity close to her heart.
She told us: “It is my passion to be out on the moors and the coastal paths in Devon. I love that Calvert Trust aims to make Exmoor accessible to everyone, and if I can do something to help others access this incredible outdoor area that we live in, then I’m only too happy to do so.”
Before the event, Kathleen said: “It seemed fitting to dedicate this particular challenge to raising money for Calvert Trust Exmoor, as I will be running across both National Parks in Devon, and Calvert Trust was set up to make the National Parks accessible for everyone.”
Afterwards, she added: “Whilst I’m disappointed to not finish the ultramarathon, I’m proud to have covered the miles I did in very difficult circumstances. There were some highlights, including meeting a friendly farmer at midnight who gave me some money for Calvert Trust Exmoor. But then tiredness took over and the hallucinations began, causing me to pull out.
“I’ve not been put off doing ultramarathon events though and will be tackling the Climb South West Jurassic Coast 100km ultramarathon in June, again raising funds for Calvert Trust Exmoor.”
Everyone at Calvert Trust Exmoor thanks Kathy for smashing her fundraising target of £250 and we look forward to hearing all about her next challenge. Well done Kathleen!
25th Birthday Appeal
The money raised has gone towards Calvert Trust Exmoor’s 25th Birthday Appeal to fundraise £250,000 in 2021, encouraging everyone, regardless of disabilities, and current circumstances, to do something active whilst raising money.
You may know Sam and Tyler, two of the activity instructors at Calvert Trust Exmoor.
Their Trig Trek has so far raised more than £400 for the charity, which we are very thankful for! Anyone wishing to add to the fundraising total can do so by visiting this Trig Trek Just Giving page.
Take a look at the gallery below to see some highlights of their adventures.
Trig markers, points, or pillars are positioned on the high peaks of Exmoor National Park and were used by the Ordnance Survey to determine the shape of the land.
Sam and Tyler walked to each of the 26 remote trigs, only using a car to reach the moors from the Calvet Trust Exmoor centre where they have been living on furlough since March.
Before starting the Trig Trek, Sam said…
“We’re helping to raise money for Calvert Trust Exmoor, that brings outdoor adventure activities to people with special needs and disabilities. Any donations would be for the best of causes, keeping the wonderful place open as they have struggled during the lockdown.”
Over the five days of walking, they experienced both high temperatures and torrential rain, bumped into snakes, and endured lots of blisters.
Yet Sam and Tyler are proud of what they have accomplished. Sam says…
“It was a lot harder than we thought it was going to be.
“We hoped to do the walk in five consecutive days and had the route all planned out. But a combination of sore blistered feet and unpredictable weather meant we needed to take a couple of days off. Plus some of the trig points could not be easily found or reached which threw the planning out the window a bit. Yet it was a brilliant experience and I’m glad we’ve done it.”
Whilst Tyler added…
“It was really nice to explore Exmoor and discover the areas most people don’t usually visit. We were knackered afterwards, but the walks were worth doing to test ourselves and to raise money for the charity.”
Andrew Laming, Centre Director at Calvert Trust Exmoor, has high praise for the activity instructors.
“It’s wonderful that Sam and Tyler have gone above and beyond to raise money for the centre. I would like to thank them for their fundraising efforts and say ‘well done’ from the whole team.
“All the money raised will contribute to the running of the centre once we re-open on the 21st August.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Sam, Tyler and the other centre instructors leading guests through activities once again.”
The Calvert Exmoor Challenge was created to encourage fundraisers for Calvert Trust Exmoor during the lockdown and beyond.
Fancy doing your own challenge? There’s still plenty of time.
We invite you to create a unique challenge that best fits your current lifestyle and conditions. Sign-up today.