Equipment provision through local authorities & direct payments

Equipment provision through local authorities & direct payments

Much of the equipment listed on this website may be provided to your child by your local authority. This will usually occur following an assessment and recommendation by an occupational therapist and will depend on the eligibility criteria of your local authority. If your child is eligible, the equipment will be provided on a long-term loan basis. This means that the equipment will remain the property of the council, but that your child can use it for as long as they need it. The council will take responsibility for the servicing and maintenance of the equipment.

Direct payments

If your child's occupational therapy assessment shows that they need a piece of equipment but you prefer an alternative piece of equipment that meets the same need, you may be able to have a direct payment. It is now mandatory for local authorities to offer the choice of direct payments.

A direct payment is a cash payment that equals the amount it costs your local authority to supply their choice of standard equipment. You can then add your own money to this ('top-up') to buy your preferred piece of equipment. For example, your local authority may provide you with a bath lift that has a fixed angle backrest and you may wish to pay for a bath lift that has a reclining backrest. Usually you will be the joint owner of the equipment with your local authority.

Before you purchase the equipment, your local authority must be satisfied that your child's needs will be met by the item you have chosen, and that the equipment is safe. You will also need to agree with your local authority who will be responsible for the servicing and maintenance of the equipment. Following purchase, you will need to provide proof of purchase and your local authority will review the equipment to ensure safety and suitability. Note that if you receive direct payments to arrange your child's care and support at home then this must not be used to buy equipment.

Arranging an assessment

To enquire about an assessment with an occupational therapist contact your local social services. You can obtain their contact details by entering your postcode on the GOV UK website.

Further reading on direct payments:

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Advice last checked: 07 February 2016 Next check due: 07 February 2019

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
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