If you haven't already, read our guide on disability.
From benefits, grants and workplace adjustments, to charities for specific conditions, getting support to manage a disability is often a case of knowing how to access what you need.
Use this action plan for disability to help you get support at home and at work to help you cope.
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If you need care and support to help you carry out daily activities like washing, dressing, or moving around your home, arrange for a needs assessment from your local authority.
Your local authority has a legal duty to carry out an assessment to find out what help you need. These assessments are free, and are carried out by a care specialist on behalf of your local authority or the NHS. Depending on your needs and your income, you may be eligible for free home care and support. If not, you’re still entitled to receive care services, but you’ll be expected to pay for or make a contribution towards them. Exactly how much will depend on your ability to pay and where you live.
To find out how to arrange a needs assessment, check out this article.
Explore whether you’re entitled to disability-related financial support like benefits, tax credits or payments or government grants.
Every year, around £16 billion in benefits and tax credits go unclaimed, so it’s worth checking to see if you’re eligible for benefits like a Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), or government grants like the Disabled Facilities Grant or Access to Work.
Use this handy benefits checker to see what you might be entitled to, and read up on financial support that’s available when you have a disability.
Explore whether you're eligible for a charitable grant.
There are lots of grants available to people when they need it most. Many organisations, usually charities or not-for-profits, may be able to help you with a one-off cash payment if you meet certain criteria. There are grants designed to help with everything from education to household essentials and respite for carers, so it’s worth checking to see.
Use this handy grants checker, or visit Grants for Disability, which lets you search for grants specific to conditions or situations.
Depending on your condition, you may be entitled to further benefits that may make your life easier.
A Blue Badge allows you to park in accessible parking bays, helping you get closer to your destination. You can apply for a Blue Badge online here if you live in England or Wales, here in Scotland and here in Northern Ireland.
This key allows you to open accessible public toilets. Toilets fitted with these locks can be found in shopping centres, pubs, cafés, department stores, bus and train stations and many other locations across the country.
'Can't wait' card
Lots of condition-specific charities can offer you a ‘can’t wait’ card to keep in your wallet. You can use this to help you gain access to bathrooms in places like bars or restaurants.
If you find travelling by train difficult, apply for a Disabled person’s railcard. It costs £20 per year, and can get you 33% off train fares for you and a friend.
Contact your local council to see if you can get a disabled person’s bus pass.
Community transport scheme
If you can't access private or public transport, search online to see if your area has a community transport scheme.
The CEA Card is a national card scheme for UK cinemas. If you're eligible, you can get a free ticket for someone to accompany you to the cinema.
Build a network of people who can advise and help you when you need it most.
Find a charity that supports your specific condition and join it. You may have to pay a small fee to become a member, but these organisations can usually give you valuable guidance and advice around dealing with your condition and your general health. And they may have local groups you could join to share your experiences, and gain a social outlet in your area.
If you’re in work, check if your employer has an employee network for disability. These are usually very active, and operate independently of employers. These can also offer a great sense of support, and help you cope with juggling your condition and your work. Search on your intranet or contact your HR department.
If you feel like your manager or your colleagues aren’t being supportive, especially if your condition is non-visible, you could request disability awareness training for your whole team. Check on your intranet or contact HR to see if this is possible.
If you’re working and your condition is affecting your ability to do your job, consider disclosing it to your manager or to HR and asking for reasonable adjustments.
If you have a condition that qualifies as a disability under the Equality Act, your employer has a duty to make adjustments if:
- you’re disadvantaged by something because of your disability
- it’s reasonable to make the changes in order to avoid this disadvantage.
Even if you think your condition might not qualify as an ‘official’ disability, it’s worth disclosing it if it’s interfering with your ability to do your job. It may be a difficult conversation to have, but if your employer knows something’s going on, they’ll likely offer you support.
If you’re worried about how to approach this conversation, ask for advice from a charity that’s specific to your condition, and read up on your entitlements.
If your condition means you’ve been out of work for some time, ask for support to return.
You may be eligible for an Access to Work grant which you could use to pay for practical support to help you start working again. This could include things like funding private transport to and from work if your condition means you can’t take public transport.
Or if you’ve been on long-term leave from your current role, ask if your employer can offer you flexible working, reduced hours or different tasks while you get back into the swing of things.
Read about how to get help to return to work.
Learn your rights and what support's available to you if you're caring for a disabled family member.
Becoming the carer of a disabled child, a partner with a disability, or any other family member can happen to any of us, at any time. Caring can be rewarding, but it can also feel overwhelming at times. As a carer you have your own rights and entitlements. Knowing these can help you get the support you need.
Read our guide to caring to find out what support is available to you, and how to access it.
Managing a long-term health condition can be difficult, so try to build your coping techniques.
Getting and staying as active as you can can be a big help. Even 20 minutes of exercise a day will boost the release of endorphins (your body’s feel-good chemicals) and help reduce stress and anxiety. The NHS has helpful content on getting active when you have a physical disability.
Another way to look after your health is to ensure you have a healthy diet. For tips on changing your diet for good, click here.