Funding For Equipment
Page last reviewed / updated: April 2021
Next review due: April 2022
Check if Your Child is Eligible for Health or Local Authority Funding
Your OT / physio / specialist should be able to advise you. Broadly, for your child’s daily use at their main home and nursery / school:
- Wheelchairs: your child should be assessed by NHS Wheelchair services to see what funding they will give for which chair
- Other mobility aids: should be provided by the NHS
- Equipment to assist independence at home: should be provided free by Local Authority Social Services
- Medical Equipment: for example to assist with breathing and airway clearance should be provided by the NHS
- Computers for use at school: should be funded by your Local Education Authority
You may also find the Health & Social Care section of the website helpful.
Be Clear What Funds You Need
- A quote from the supplier
- Health Authority Contribution - if you want to fund a wheelchair, you need to know the value of any contribution that the Health Authority will make through the Voucher or Personal wheelchair budget scheme
- VAT - doesn’t have to be paid on certain disability aids and equipment for personal use. The general rule is that if the item has been ‘designed solely for disabled people’ it's VAT exempt. It includes: adjustable beds; hoists; sanitary devices; some medical appliances; emergency alarm call systems; any other equipment or appliance solely designed to be used by a disabled individual. VAT also doesn’t have to be paid on any charges made for the installations, repair and maintenance of these aids and adaptations. For more information on this please visit: www.gov.uk/financial-help-disabled/vat-relief or phone HMRC on 0300 200 3700 or ask the supplier.
- Maintenance and insurance – will you need this? Some items of equipment will have guarantees or warranties. Some are very high value, such as a powerchair and will require maintenance and insurance. You might want to add these costs into your funding target.
There are a number of organisations and charities that may help with funding. Each one has its own criteria – which can be quite complex. The length of time charities take to make a decision also varies. Some process applications as they come in, others have set dates for considering applications. Many will part-fund for more expensive equipment but most charities won’t fund retrospectively, so it’s important not to place your order or pay any deposit until all funding has been secured or pledged.
We suggest you, or your OT or physio, phone SMA UK to talk about your individual circumstances. We will then sift through the information we have and advise you where and how to apply for help.
Your Own Fundraising
Some families raise funds through the efforts of extended family, friends and other supporters. This might be via cake sales, sponsored events or online appeals such as crowdfunding. It pays to be very clear about your target and details of the equipment (including maintenance etc.) that you're fundraising for. Let your sponsors know what you'll do if your money exceeds the target you need.
You can find information and possible avenues for online fundraising here:
- Go Fund Me: www.gofundme.com/how-it-works
- Just Giving: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding
- Tree of Hope: