Who Is Eligible For Free Mobility Equipment?

Written by
Emily Carver

Who Is Eligible For Free Mobility Equipment?

Did you know that you could be entitled to free mobility equipment? If you are living with a long-term injury or mobility issues, you could receive free home adjustments, mobility aids or gadgets to help make life easier for you at home. 

Your eligibility will be determined by your local authority through a needs assessment. This is a friendly and patient-centric appointment that will take place at your home and will be conducted by an occupational therapist. 

Mobility Equipment Needs Assessment

In order to be eligible for disability equipment for the elderly you must undergo a free needs assessment. This process will take about an hour, but could be longer depending on your needs. You can apply for a needs assessment through your local council.

The occupational therapist will be able to assess your home, lifestyle and accessibility needs to determine what free mobility equipment would be most helpful for you.

How the appointment works

Your local council will schedule a time convenient for a healthcare occupational therapist to visit and assess your home and your mobility requirements. The occupational therapist will take time to speak with you in detail about your specific needs, this will help them to gain a better understanding of what your current pain points and risks for injury. Together, you will be able to create a plan and discuss any equipment required to support you at home and discuss any free mobility equipment solutions. During your appointment, take your time and be thorough in letting them know what you find difficult - no matter how small it may seem. If during your needs assessment the health care professional finds that you could benefit from some additional support at home, they could refer you to receive additional care. 

Older couple meeting home occupational therapist for a needs assessment for free mobility equipment

What will be assessed

During your assessment, the occupational therapist and local authority will be evaluating how they can best support you to live well and independently at home. They will typically consider the following. 

  • An assessment of the patient’s range of motion and mobility.
  • An evaluation of the patient’s communication needs to understand if they are visually impaired or hard of hearing.
  • The patient’s mobility and accessibility needs and where they are not currently being met at home.
  • Evaluate the home to flag where there is a risk of injury and making a plan for prevention.
  • A comprehensive assessment of any special requirements or risk. For example, any back injuries, dementia, Parkinson’s etc. They will need to understand if these factors could pose a risk to the patient’s safety at home. 
  • An assessment of stature and strength. This will help them to understand to what extent the patient can bear weight and what mobility aids would be appropriate.
  • Assessment of patient’s independence at home. For example, if they are able to get in and out of bed, use the toilet or shower independently. 

The health care professional will be thorough in their questions in order to gain as much information about the patient’s needs as possible. The appointment will be patient-centric, ensuring that decisions are made with the patient wherever possible and appropriate. 

Following the appointment, your occupational therapist will create a report in which they list ‘desired’ and ‘essential’ outcomes from their findings. It is the local authority’s duty to meet all ‘essential’ outcomes as per the Care Act 2014

What Free Disability Equipment May You Be Entitled To?

Following your assessment, report and recommendation of essential outcomes from the occupational therapist, you could be entitled to free disability equipment for your home. 

It is the responsibility of your local council to pay for each home adaptation that cost less than £1,000. These are typically for smaller mobility aids such as a ramp or additional lighting. 

For more expensive items and home adaptions, for example, lowering your kitchen countertops or widening doorways, you may be able to apply for a grant to help with costs. Both the Disabled Facilities Grant and Independence at Home have great opportunities. 

Here is a list of free disability equipment that you may be entitled to.

Stairs

Stairlift

Banister

Bathroom

Bath lift

Walk-in shower

Bath grab rail

Construction

Widening doorways

Lowering kitchen worktops

Outdoor

Ramp

Step rail

Outside lights

Intercom system


Additionally, your occupational therapist could refer you to receive the following smaller free mobility aids

Bathroom

Commode

Push-button for toilet flush

Raised toilet seat

Slip mat for the bath/shower

Bath/shower rail

Tap handle extenders

Kitchen

Easy pour kettle

Adapted cutlery with easy-hold handles

Easy to grip appliances

2-handled cups

Bedroom

Bed grab rail

Straps to assist with lifting legs

Bed raisers

Living Room

Reclining chairs

Dressing

Hooks to help with zips and buttons

Sock aid and other dressing gadgets


If you are living with an illness or disability and for any reason are unable to receive help from the NHS or local council, you could explore grant opportunities to support with mobility aid costs. Charities like Independence at Home have supported countless people with long term illnesses or injuries with grants. Please refer to their website for eligibility criteria. 

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