Choosing and Buying Equipment

The right equipment can make a big difference to your ability to live independently in your home. It’s a good idea to get specialist advice.

Disability Information Services Kent

Registered charity no. 1059443
The Disability Information Services Kent are an independent organisation whose aim is to provide a one-stop point of information to any person with a disability, the elderly, carers, family and service providers.
DISK is run by people with a disability for the benefit of people with disabilities. We are here to help you.

The Disability Information Services Kent can offer you :
A free and confidential service.
Local, regional and national information.
Contact names and addresses for support groups, self help groups, telephone help lines.
Information is available by telephone, or personal visit to our office. Or the mobile service which holds clinics at various locations around South East Kent.

Disability Information Services Kent (DISK)
7 Town Walk
CT20 2AD

Tel : 01303 226464
Fax : 01303 226312

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists can give specific advice about individual items of disability equipment. They can also be helpful if you’ve recently become disabled and are unsure what equipment you may need.

You can find an occupational therapist through the social services department of your local council. They can visit you at home and help you decide what equipment is right for your lifestyle.

Help from the Disabled Living Foundation

The Disabled Living Foundation helps older and disabled people find equipment to enable them to live independently in their own homes. Their services include:
A helpline service, which answers queries about equipment
An equipment demonstration centre, where you can try out equipment and get advice from occupational therapists and physiotherapists
A range of online factsheets to help you choose equipment, including stairlifts, hoists, scooters and household equipment.
The foundation has also launched an online service to help with choosing products around the bathroom, bedroom, stairs and telecare. The ‘Living made easy’ website provides free, impartial information on all products available in the UK.

VAT Information

Which equipment and services can be bought without paying VAT?
If you have a long-term illness or you’re disabled, you won’t have to pay VAT when you buy any of the following items:

Adjustable beds, chair lifts, hoists and sanitary devices
Auditory training aids
Low vision aids
Medical and surgical appliances designed solely for the relief of a severe abnormality or a severe injury
Motor vehicles, boats and other equipment and appliances designed solely for use by chronically sick or disabled people

You also won’t have to pay VAT on any charges made for the installation, repair and maintenance of these items, or on any spare parts and accessories needed for them.

Certain building work may also be VAT free. This includes building work on:

Ramps, doorways and passages
Bathrooms, washrooms and lavatories

If you need to have any general purpose goods adapted for your use because of your condition, anything you pay to have them adapted will be VAT free, but you’ll still have to pay the normal rate of VAT on the goods themselves.

Also, if you’re over 60, then you may not have to pay the full standard rate of VAT if you get certain mobility aids installed in your home.