Money Saving Expert team shares essential tips to help people with … – Edinburgh Live

by MoneySaverExpert

A brand new guide from the team at Money Saving Expert has disabled people at the heart of their guidance.

The website, founded by finance guru Martin Lewis, have rounded up a six-strong list of tips for people looking to save money. The tips are aimed at people with a disabling condition, which can affect many aspects of life.

The handy tips can help budget and save money while dealing with a disability.

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Apply for equipment and support from your council

If you need to adapt your home due to your disability, it’s worth applying to your council to see what equipment and support it can offer you. What’s on offer varies by council, but it can be a real help.

Local authorities can sometimes offer grants to support people, but this is subject to each individual area. Before you’re offered a grant, an occupational therapist will likely meet with you to discuss your needs. They will recommend any adaptations, such as:

  • Ramps
  • Wider doorways
  • Stairlifts
  • A downstairs bathroom
  • Walk-in showers
  • Adapted heating or lighting controls
  • A heating system suitable to your needs

Avoid paying VAT on wheelchairs and emergency alarms

If you’re disabled or have a long-term illness, the Government says you shouldn’t be charged VAT on items which have been designed or adapted for your personal use. This includes wheelchairs or equipment to help you get around your house. It also covers installation, repairs/maintenance and spare parts or accessories.

As this covers products specifically made for disabled people, your supplier simply won’t charge VAT if you (and the goods) are eligible.

The disabled person will need to confirm to the supplier or retailer that they are eligible for the VAT to be taken off – which may include filling in a form or simply ticking a box at the online checkout.

Officially, the Government says VAT needs to be removed at the time of purchase – you can’t reclaim VAT on items you’ve already bought.

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Haggle with telecom firms for a better deal

Many firms require customers to call to cancel or negotiate a better contract – but for some, it isn’t always easy to make a phone call.

While all companies must make “reasonable adjustments” to allow you to contact them, what this means in practice varies. For example, some providers offer a sign language option via webcam when you contact customer services, others offer a live chat function.

Contacting your provider – whether to simply make changes to your account, or haggle a better deal – could save you some cash.

Warm Home Discount availability

If you're disabled and on certain benefits, you may be eligible for the scheme.
If you’re disabled and on certain benefits, you may be eligible for the scheme.

The Warm Home Discount scheme is available to millions of households in the UK. It requires suppliers with more than 50,000 customers to help vulnerable people pay for their energy over winter.

If you’ve got a standard credit meter, the money isn’t paid to you – it’s a £150 rebate applied to your electricity or gas bill between October and March. If you’re on a prepay meter, you’ll usually be sent a top-up voucher.

If you’re disabled and on certain benefits, you may be eligible for the scheme.

Specialist or emergency equipment can qualify for priority power from your network

There are a variety of reasons you may be able to register for priority service with your power network (not your energy supplier, but the organisation responsible for owning and maintaining electricity cables).

For example, if you rely on specialist equipment for home medical care or have special communication needs, if you’re blind, partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing.

Each energy supplier and network operator runs its own register. Ofgem says by joining a priority services register, you should get advance notice of power cuts and priority support in an emergency if you:

  • Are of pensionable age
  • Are disabled or chronically sick
  • Have a long-term medical condition
  • Have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs
  • Are in a vulnerable situation

Even if you don’t fall into one of the categories above, it may still be worth asking. The Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) have stated that people are welcome to get in touch if they have other needs, and feel they need extra help in the event of a power cut.

Disabled students could be eligible for an allowance

If you’re studying and need help with costs you have to pay in relation to your course as the result of a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty, then disabled students’ allowances (DSAs) can help you.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students can get up to £25,575 a year for support.

How you apply depends on whether you’re studying full or part-time. The details are as follows:

  • For full-time students, you can apply for DSAs as part of your student finance application, either online or via a paper form. You won’t need to re-apply each year.
  • For part-time students, you’ll need to apply for DSAs using the paper form (you can’t apply online). You’ll need to reapply each year of your course.

You’ll get the allowances on top of your other student finance, and you don’t need to pay them back.

For more information, the Money Saving Expert website has lots of guides for people of any condition.


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