Home adaptions, equipment and services

Equipment to help you at home

You may need special equipment or aids to help you manage at home. For example, a raised toilet seat or hand rails. If your doctor or nurse agrees that you need equipment, they can refer you to a social worker who can get it for you. Or you can contact your local social services or social work department directly. They can arrange for a social worker or occupational therapist to assess your needs. They may be able to supply what you need for free.

You can also get general advice and information about all types of equipment from the Disabled Living Foundation.

If you have problems using public transport, there are community transport schemes that could help.

Grants for adapting your home

Local councils or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive can give you financial help if you need to repair, improve or adapt your home for health reasons. For example, if you need to install a stair lift or a ramp.

Grants for home adaptations are different across the UK:

  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, these grants are called Disabled Facilities Grants. If you live in England or Wales, visit gov.uk If you live in Northern Ireland, visit nihe.gov.uk
  • In Scotland, you should contact your local council to find out what support they offer. You can find contact details in your phone book or at cosla.gov.uk

There are also grants to help you improve the heating and insulation in your home. These are mainly for people who are disabled, on a low income or aged over 60. We have more information about managing your energy costs.

We also have more information about help with housing costs.

How to claim

  • If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, contact your local council. You should be able to find contact details in your phone book or by visiting gov.uk if you live in England, cosla.gov.uk if you live in Scotland, or wlga.wales if you live in Wales.
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

VAT-exempt goods and services

If you have a long-term illness or are registered disabled, you do not have to pay VAT on certain products. These are products that are designed or adapted for your own personal or domestic use.

For example, you may not have to pay VAT on items to help your mobility. This may include:

  • cars
  • adjustable beds
  • stair lifts
  • wheelchairs
  • medical appliances to help with severe injuries
  • alarms
  • Braille paper or low-vision aids (but not glasses or contact lenses)
  • building work such as widening doors or installing ramps, lifts or toilets.

For more information, visit gov.uk or call 0300 200 3700.

Nursing home charges

People who pay for their own nursing home charges should check whether they are entitled to financial help. Speak to your healthcare professional or call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.

Back to Help with health costs

Prescriptions

You may be eligible for free prescriptions if you have cancer. There are also other ways to help with the cost of medications.

Eye treatment

Some people may be able to get free eye tests. There are certain criteria that qualify you for free eyetests.

NHS Low Income Scheme

The Low Income Scheme may help people who still have to pay healthcare costs, but may be on a low income.