Aids and equipment

In general, social services are responsible for providing equipment for daily living and non-medical needs, and your health authority is responsible for providing equipment to meet nursing or medical needs.

In addition, equipment to help a child access the curriculum may be arranged by a school or local education authority. Our special helpline education specialists can provide further information about your child’s rights to support at school.

How to ask about aids and equipment

To find out what aids and equipment you might be entitled to, you can contact a healthcare or personal care professional such as a social worker, GP, district nurse, physiotherapist or school nurse.

An occupational therapist (OT) or social worker will usually visit you in your home to discuss the situation further and carry out the assessment. An OT is a professional who can advise on equipment for daily living and managing more easily within the home.

Home adaptations

An adaptation is a change made to your home to make it more accessible and safer for a disabled person. You may be entitled to a grant to cover the costs of any work you need carried out in your home.

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) in England, Northern Ireland and Wales

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, DFGs are awarded where works are considered essential to enable better access and movement at home or to make it safe for a disabled occupant. A DFG can help with the cost of, for example:

DFGs are not means tested, which means the income and savings of parents and carers are not taken into account for works to meet the needs of a disabled child or young person under 19.

The exceptions are when the young person is getting certain means-tested benefits in their own right or when they are in advanced education.

How to request a DFG

Speak to your local council about making a formal application for a DFG. The statutory time limit for assessing a formal application is six months. Most local authorities will ask for an assessment from an occupational therapist (OT) or social worker to decide if the work is ‘necessary and appropriate’ to meet your child’s needs. 

However, it is important to note that contacting social services or the OT with a request for a DFG assessment is not the same as making a formal application. If you have asked for an assessment without making a formal application, you might face lengthy delays. This is because unlike formal applications, there is no statutory time limit on how long you have to wait to see an OT.  

To minimise delays, make a formal application for a grant as soon as you can so you can get a decision within the six-month time limit. You can do this even if you are still waiting for an OT to visit to do an assessment.

The local authority may also be able to provide discretionary assistance where for example the works aren’t considered to be `necessary and appropriate’ or costs of the works exceed the maximum limit.