According to the disability charity Scope, there are around 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, of whom around 4.1 million are in work. Disabled people, therefore, are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as the rest of the population.
Living with a disability can throw a few challenges which make it more difficult to find and keep work. Moreover, disabled people may require access to specialised (and often expensive) equipment to retain their freedom. You might think of a wheelchair or a set of crutches, but adaptations around the home can be just as transformative. The same goes for an adapted mobility vehicle, which might make it easier to get to your place of work.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of disability grants – these are donations from UK charities made directly to the disabled person, to finance the purchase of these items. In most cases, they don’t have to be paid back – which makes them preferable to loans in almost every case.
Identify the Grant
Before you can apply for a grant, you’ll need to identify one that’s appropriate to your particular needs. Turn2Us offer a free tool which allows you to search for grants based on your postcode, gender and age. Alternatively, you might browse the available grants on the Disability Grants website.
Apply for the Grant
Having identified the grants you need, you’ll want to get in touch with the awarding bodies. They’ll expect you to fill in a few forms to confirm that you qualify for support. If this is difficult, then you might seek the help of a friend or family member, or of an organisation like OPAAL.
In many cases, you’ll need to submit a report made on your behalf by a professional – perhaps a medical one – to confirm that you have the disability that you claim you do. This is to prevent the system from being abused – but you shouldn’t let it deter you from claiming the grant you deserve.
What about PIP/DLA
Government support is also available, and shouldn’t be neglected. For most of us, the older Disability Living Allowance has been phased out, in favour of Personal Independence Payments. The latter provides between £23.60 and £151.40 a week to those over the age of 15, but who aren’t yet eligible for a state pension. While the amount of support might seem trivial, it’s worth claiming alongside any additional grant you’re getting from charity.
If you need the assistance of a carer, then you might find that they’re eligible for support, too, in the form of carer’s allowance. If this is a close family member, then you might find that this makes a big difference to your domestic financial circumstances – but even if it isn’t, it’s worth applying for.