Walking Aids: A Gift for the Disabled

Being able to walk is a gift - a gift that few of us think about. When we are stripped of such gifts, only then do we truly acknowledge their value.  Should you ever need assistance with walking, there are options for aids such as canes, walkers, and crutches, as well as some advanced aids such as manual and power wheelchairs.

Canes

As the name suggests, a cane is a stick with a curved handle. It is the most used and the most common walking aid. If you have a little pain in your legs or need a little bit of support to walk, the cane is your way to go. A cane should be your number one choice as it is not only helpful but also extremely portable.

Crutches

At least once in your life, you might have come across someone using crutches, or perhaps you might have used them yourself! Crutches are used when a person can’t support his weight on his legs. This might occur due to an injury such as a fracture. Crutches reduce the weight on your legs and hence, increase stability and balance.

Walker

A walker is often described as an older version of a rollator. It is mostly used indoors and like all walking aids, it helps you get around. However, with its four legs, it provides better and stronger support than a cane.

Rollator

Rollators are also walkers. However, the difference between a walker and a rollator is that the latter possesses wheels and a brake system. Unlike walkers, rollators may be used outdoors and often come with additional accessories such as attached baskets and holders.

Manual Wheelchair

A manual wheelchair is basically a rollator, except that it has a seat and relatively large wheels. Manual wheelchairs are operated externally by either the person sitting in the wheelchair or another person walking behind and pushing.  Wheelchairs are one of the most used walking aids available.

Power Wheelchair

The power wheelchair is a walking-aid which can be operated without significant physical effort. As compared to a manual wheelchair, a power wheelchair comes with an automated motor, and a system to control that motor. A power wheelchair can be used indoors as well as outdoors which gives it an edge over other walking aids. It is both comfortable and mobile.

The field of walking aids has seen revolutionary advancements and innovations since its initiation. Walking aids have transformed from simple sticks and canes to advanced walkers, rollators, and wheelchairs. Not only this, a number of electronic scooters have also been invented to help disabled people roam freely just like everybody else. In 2011 a company developing walking aids released its first self-balancing powered walker. The walker uses sensors to detect the weight and angle of the body and provides respective and efficient support. In the end, it all comes down to choosing the aid that best fits your needs depending on your medical condition.

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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).