Help to Buy
There may be various sources for help with funding, not just for mobility equipment but also day to day living needs, e.g.
- Disability Living Allowance - financial support from the Government
- NHS Independent Wheelchair Vouchers/Personal Wheelchair Budget (England)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
This is a Benefit, financial support from the Government if your child has a health condition.
This is a universal benefit it is not means tested so it does not matter what your family income is or if you are receiving other Benefits.
You may not realise you are entitled to it and it is not for mobility alone it is to help with all sorts of additional costs you incur to support your child. If you are not already receiving DLA then we recommend you ask your health professional and visit here:
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for Children
Citizens Advice, How to Claim DLA for your Child
NHS Mobility Equipment
The NHS provides equipment through their Wheelchair Services Departments but it's much more than Wheelchairs which they supply, and for children often pushchairs.
To begin with you need to have your child assessed by your local NHS Wheelchair Services Department.To find the contact details for your local Wheelchair Services visit a
NHS Wheelchair Services Directory or for an Interactive Map
It is difficult to advise if your child will be eligible without contacting them because each Wheelchair Service either has different rules or interprets the rules differently.
For general guidance a child with a physical condition which affects their mobility is more likely to be eligible than a child with only a behavioural condition even though they may need mobility equipment for their safety.
If your child has both a behavioural condition and a physical condition then approach your local Wheelchair Services about the physical condition initially.
Some Wheelchair Services will deal with you direct without a referral from a health professional, others will ask you to get a referral from a health professional. Health professionals may be pessimistic about the likelihood of your child being eligible or predict it will take months, they are not always right so don't be put off, push for the referral.
It is also important to be rejected by the NHS for mobility equipment before applying for a Grant from a Charity because the Charities are not there to subsidise the NHS.
NHS Independent Wheelchair Vouchers/Personal Wheelchair Budget
Some families are deterred from applying for mobility equipment from the NHS because the equipment offered either does not suit the family's lifestyle or have the user friendly features which make using it a joy rather than a chore.
In particular no one seems to like the standard NHS wheelchairs which can be heavy, clunky, ugly, clumsy, uncomfortable, impractical...depressing. This is the sort of kit which can end up gathering dust in the garage without either providing a solution to the mobility need or saving the NHS money.
In England there is another option the Independent Wheelchair Voucher which most NHS areas are in the process of replacing with a similar scheme called the Personal Wheelchair Budget.
There is some guidance about Personal Wheelchair Budgets on the NHS England website.
You could think of the Independent Wheelchair Voucher as being like a Prescription for Aspirin which you would take to your local Pharmacy but instead it is a Prescription for a Pushchair (or at least part payment of one) which you bring to us. The value of the Voucher is calculated by your Wheelchair Service based on the child's needs and the cost if the equipment they would have given you. Vouchers can vary in value, we rarely see any worth less than £250 and we have seen some worth £1000.
You bring the Independent Wheelchair Voucher to us and we satisfy any requests the Wheelchair Service have to ensure the product is suitable for the child. If the pushchair you want us to supply costs £400 and you have an Independent Wheelchair Voucher for £250 then you pay the additional £150 direct to us. Once we have supplied the pushchair to you, and confirmed to the NHS that you have received it, then we invoice the NHS for the £250 Voucher.
If you choose the Independent Wheelchair Option then you are not eligible for NHS equipment for three years, generally (unless there has been a fundamental change in the child’s condition).
We often supply the pushchairs to families on behalf of Charities, in particular:
Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children
Action For Children
Boparan Charitable Trust