Financing a Stairlift
This guide will help answer frequently asked questions regarding all aspects of financing a stairlift in your home. This includes stairlift grants and the options available for free stairlifts through social services. Read on for budgeting tips, fundraising information and suggestions for particular organisations and charities able to help.
For any questions related to how much a stairlift costs, please see the relevant guides. These include the cost of new stairlifts and how much it costs to install a stairlift. You can also read about how your purchase assists Age UK.
- Are there stairlift grants available?
- Can I get a grant for a stairlift?
- How to get a stairlift for free?
- How to get a stairlift from social services?
Grants for stairlifts
Grants are available to help fund the cost of a new stairlift. If you or someone you know requires a stairlift but are worried about how they are going to finance it, then try not to write off the hope of getting a stairlift completely. There are financing options available to those in need.
Are there stairlift grants available?
Grants and funding for stairlifts are available through a number of sources; from government grants to aid from charities and other organisations. It is important to bear in mind, however, that not everyone will qualify for certain types of financial aid, and a stairlift grant is not guaranteed, even if you are in need of one. Here is a selection of the grants available to help with the cost of a stairlift:
- The Disabled Facilities Grant
- Charities such as The Edward Gostling Foundation
- Referrals to charities from Occupational Therapists or health and social care workers through Independence At Home, and Margaret’s Fund
- Specialist charities such as the SSAFA and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
Can I get funding for my stairlift?
Buying a stairlift is a major personal investment, with equipment that is specially manufactured and installed by professionals. But, by finding additional funds for a stairlift, it can make the purchase easier. So, if you’re asking yourself ‘can I get funding for my stairlift’, then read on to find out the best options for you.
The Disabled Facilities Grant
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, there is a government grant available called the Disabled Facilities Grant or DFG. This grant is to help those who need to make alterations to their home and has a value of up to £30,000 in England, £36,000 in Wales, and £25,000 in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, Disabled Facilities Grants are not available. Contact Age Scotland for more information about what support you could receive.
The amount an individual receives from a DFG is means-tested, so it is based upon household income and household savings that are above £6,000. Many people should find that they are eligible for this stairlift grant but should not expect the maximum amount to be awarded as standard.
Applications for a DFG can be picked up from any local councils. To apply for this stairlift grant, you will need two written estimates from stairlift companies. Age UK Mobility can provide one of these for you when you book a home visit.
If you are a landlord and have a tenant in need of a stairlift, you can also apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant in order to help fit a stairlift in your rental property.
The ACT Foundation
If you have successfully been awarded a DFG, but need additional financial support for your stairlift, then you can apply for a stairlift grant from the ACT Foundation. These grants are smaller than the DFG, but with a maximum value of £2,500, they can go a long way to helping towards the cost of a curved stairlift in your home. You will need to download an application form from the ACT Foundation website and return it by post.
RABI - Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution can offer stairlift grants to farming families across the UK. They can also offer free stairlifts to successful applicants. To begin the application process, please call their freephone helpline on 0808 2819490 and complete an application form. You will also be asked for some information about your financial situation.
The Armed Forces charity can provide stairlift grants to anyone who has served in the armed forces and is in need of a home adaptation. To begin the application process, please call their free helpline on 0800 731 4880.
A spokesperson for the charity says; “if you are a member of the Armed Forces, past or present, or a military partner or spouse, then please do get in touch with SSAFA so we can help adapt your home to help you cope with reduced mobility.”
Getting financial aid for a stairlift can take anywhere from 3–18 months. Therefore, if the cost of a new stairlift is not affordable, it might be worth considering buying a reconditioned stairlift. Waiting times for a new or reconditioned stairlift installation will typically be one week.
Check the Turn2us resource
Older people wanting an easy way to see if they can benefit from grants can look at the Turn2us website.
Una from Turn2us, adds; “Make sure that you are receiving all of the welfare benefits that you are entitled to and check if there are any grants that you are eligible for. You can check both at Turn2us.org.uk.”
Using the website or speaking to one of the Turn2us advisors can help those trying to finance a stairlift find all the benefits and grants for stairlifts that they are eligible for.
Handicare work in association with the Age UK Trading CIC and have numerous contracts to supply stairlifts funded by local authorities and through government grants. Age UK the charity does not work with local authorities but Age UK Trading CIC works with Handicare to make decisions about Age UK Mobility products and to assist in direct sales purchases.
Budgeting or fundraising for a stairlift
One of the most common ways to finance a stairlift is to budget for it yourself, but another route you can go down is to start a fundraising campaign that will help you pay for your stairlift.
Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, explains how making some shrewd financial moves can help finance a stairlift. He says;
"There are plenty of ways to finance your stairlift, and most of them involve external financing sources. But, with some shrewd financial moves, you might be able to do this without any outside help. Get yourself on a budget, then reduce your monthly expenses as much as possible. Once that's done, you should see a monthly surplus in your bank account, and you can use that money to finance your stairlift.”
Local fundraising is certainly one of the most traditional ways of financing essential work that can help those with a disability. The Institute of Fundraising provides plenty of helpful tips on fundraising and, although their guidance videos are aimed at those who want to turn fundraising into a career, the ideas contained within them are useful for local fundraising too.
Asking members of your local community to part with their money is quite likely to be a sensitive issue, so other funding methods may be more suitable. Some classic ideas include a cake sale, sponsored challenge or quiz night.
Are stairlifts tax exempt?
Individuals purchasing stairlifts for their own personal use may be eligible for relief from any Value Added Tax (VAT). Eligibility for 0 per cent VAT depends on meeting certain criteria. To be eligible, the person must be ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and the stairlift must be for personal or domestic use. According to HMRC, ‘chronically sick or disabled’ means:
- physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect upon his/her ability to carry out everyday activities
- condition which the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness, such as diabetes
People purchasing a stairlift on behalf of a ‘chronically sick or disabled’ person won’t be stopped from claiming VAT relief.
The stairlift provider will ask individuals to complete a "User VAT declaration" at the point of sale to confirm eligibility. It will need to contain sufficient information to demonstrate that a customer fulfils all the criteria for eligibility. It is very important to do this at the point of sale and not after as the zero rating works by the supplier not charging VAT, rather than working on a refund basis. Any errors will be sorted out by the supplier, not HMRC.
Those over 60 can qualify for a reduced rate of VAT (5%) for stairlifts and some other mobility aids that are installed for use in a private home.
If you think that your home requires adaptations to better suit your mobility needs, then you may be able to have some equipment added to your home for free. This includes features such as grab rails, ramps, and automatic lightings. To apply for disabled home equipment through your local council, visit the section on the government website.
How to get a stairlift for free?
It is possible to get the full cost of a stairlift covered through financial aid, meaning that you can essentially get a stairlift for free.
However, the process of applying for financial aid for a stairlift is not as simple as getting a stairlift fitted for free through a local council or through a charity. There are stairlift grants available that can cover the full or partial cost of a stairlift. This does mean that you essentially are able to get a stairlift for free, but it involves a thorough process of applications through local authorities and health and social workers.
For farming families, the RABI can purchase stairlifts for those in need, please see the section above on how to contact them.
For more information about how to get a stairlift for free, please contact your local council.
If you are hoping to have a stairlift funded by the local council or social services, this section will explain everything you need to do to get started.
It is possible to get a stairlift from social services, as you can be referred to several organisations that can offer financial help through a health or social care professional or through an Occupational Therapist.
Disabled Facilities Grant
As explained in detail above, your local council may advise you to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant
Margaret’s fund is a registered charity that helps women living with ill health in the UK. Whilst not open to men, this not-for-profit organisation provides small grants to help women with the cost of a stairlift or other disability equipment in their homes.
This grant can only be applied for through social services, such as a care professional or Occupational Therapist.
Independence At Home
This charity can offer grants of up to £2,000 for your stairlift through social services. Unlike the DFG stairlift grant, you can’t apply for this yourself, it must be through a health or social care worker, nurse, or through another form of social services.
To get a stairlift through socials services, you/your social worker will need to do the following:
- Write a headed letter to the charity describing what the funds will be used for
- Complete an application form which can be downloaded from the Independence at Home website
- Supply a medical diagnosis of your disability or condition and statement of requirements for your stairlift
- You will need to supply social services with a quote from your stairlift company. Age UK Mobility can provide this when you book a home visit.
This guide will help answer questions regarding financing a stairlift. This includes stairlift grants and the options available for free stairlifts through social services.
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