Tips for Getting Around in the Snow

Wintertime can present challenges for those with mobility disabilities, especially when it comes to snow and ice. Being prepared for the wintertime does not take a lot of time or expense, but it is something that you need to do before the weather sets in. 


If You Use a Walking Stick, Walking Frame or Crutches 


The rubber tips on the bottom of your walking stick, crutches, or walking frame can wear out over time. It is vital to change these rubber tips with new ones that have better tread on the bottom for traction. Some rubber tips are also equipped with spikes for traction in the ice. A word of caution: these spikes make walking with these devices a little more tricky.  You will have to change them every time that you enter a building or you risk ruining the floor. 


Try to walk near a wall, railing, or have a companion with you when venturing out in the snow. Make sure that you have your mobile with you so you can call emergency services if you fall. 


If You Use a Mobility Scooter or Wheelchair 


Lightweight wheelchairs and mobility scooters may find it challenging to get through the snow and ice. The lighter weight and smaller tires make it difficult to gain traction in the snow and ice. If you use a lightweight mobility scooter, it may be beneficial to switch over to a wheelchair and have someone push you in the snow and ice for safety reasons.  


If you have a heavy-duty scooter or wheelchair, you should be able to maneuver through snow and ice a little better. These mobility devices are generally good to move in up to 15 centimeters of snow. Make sure to check the weather before venturing out on your own and always have your mobile handy. 


Driving in the Snow and Ice with a Disability 


Driving in snow and ice is difficult for everyone. For those with disabilities, however, there is an additional risk. If the car breaks down or becomes stuck in the snow or ice, it is much harder to leave the vehicle and seek help. 


If you are going to travel in the snow, make sure that you have some extra blankets available in the event of an emergency. Always tell someone where you are going and when you should be expected. And, of course, have your mobile fully charged and with you before leaving. 


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More information

Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).