If you can’t sit comfortably and safely because of your muscle weakness or any breathing difficulties, you should already have had any specialist seating you need sorted out by your occupational therapist (OT) or physiotherapist (physio).
You may be reading this because things have changed for you and you’re no longer comfortable in the seating you were given. Maybe you aren’t being seen regularly by an OT or physio. Maybe you’ve managed with standard chairs up until now, but you’re beginning to find these difficult to get into or out of, or to stay in a comfortable position once you’re seated. Whatever the reason, talk to your parents about contacting your GP or neuromuscular consultant, explaining your issues and asking them for a referral to an OT or physio.
Your OT should be able to supply some seating free via the NHS or the Local Authority. Usually they can only supply what’s needed at your main home address. If your parents are separated or you spend a lot of time with grandparents or other relatives, it might be good to have more than one seating option, but your family will probably have to find the money for this.
If your family does want to apply for help to buy additional or specialist seating. Support Services at SMA UK can suggest charities that may provide a grant. Most charities won’t fund if you've already bought the item, so it’s important your family doesn’t place an order or pay any deposit until all funding has been secured or pledged.
Most charities will need:
- a letter from your OT / physio to say that the seating you've chosen is suitable, safe and meets your needs and that the NHS is unable to provide funding
- your quote from the supplier detailing costs, including any extra accessories and delivery. Seating may be subject to a tax called VAT if it hasn’t been ‘designed solely for disabled people’ (the general rule for whether an item is VAT exempt). Your family needs to ask the supplier to check with the manufacturer about this.
You can find related information in the 'Living with SMA' section:
Funding for Equipment
Page last reviewed / updated: April 2021
Next review due: April 2022