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Saving for disability related equipment ignore in means tested benefits

burgermanburgerman Member Posts: 1 Listener
edited August 2019 in Disabled people
About me. T4paraplegic, bunch of other issues. Own house paid for, and adapted. I use a US built drive fro wheelchair minivan. Its 13 years old. I want a new one. I do not want loans, motobility, etc as I do few miles, and look after vehicles. Because I need a DRIVE FROM WHEELCHAIR van, for a normal full sized rehab style chair theres really only around 2 solutions. In both cases about 50 to 65K... So I need to save for a few years. At least!

So... I get direct payments for care (means tested). I get the usual PIP, and ESA support group. I get council tax discount, and pay some towards my care.

I realise savings of 6k or higher would cause me to lose various benefits etc. But I read somewhere that savings for a disability adaptation, disabled adapted vehicles could be ignored if agreed in advance. So the savings for that would be ignored. Question is who do you ask, is this correct, and how exactly do I deal with it. Because they have no problem with you getting ripped off for finance, and so doing the thing sensibly obviously works out better for everyone other than the lender!  So any advice?



  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger

    I have never heard of savings being ignored for this reason. It's possible for the profits of a house or sale of a house to be ignored for up to 26 weeks when buying another house. Otherwise savings of more than £16,000 will mean all means tested benefits will stop. PIP will continue because it's not means tested.
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @burgerman and a warm welcome to the community! I have had a look and I also can't seem to find this information. Do you know where you read this?

  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,031 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi, I often look at what`s available in a drive from vehicle.....nearly new ones are there, although rare, but transit sized vans are on sale. Or do you want a brand new one? It`s the initial cost of conversion that hikes the price up......used are so much less dosh!
  • Joanne_ScopeJoanne_Scope Scope helpline, Scope adviser Posts: 190 Pioneering
    Hi @burgerman.
    I have had a read through the DWP information about what counts as capital for benefits and I can't find anything that says money saved for a vehicle can be disregarded. If there is something it would be really useful to know.
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 364 Pioneering
    This is  a really good and important question...we have exactly the same sort of issue re saving to get new power chair that meets need (which NHS doesn;t) and other disability related items.   We find that money can be double or even triple counted when means testing...  Puts me in mind of the fact that student LOANS are treated as income by DWP, and even though all or almost of it will be eaten up paying for much more expensive adapted accommodation, it means you get virtually nothing in terms of benefits like ESA..
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 699 Pioneering
    Age and disabled organisations need to get  this sorted,  presumably   by jointly taking  a carefully selected case to court, with carefully selected lawyers.

    Scope I think has figures on the cost of disability.  The o.p. mentioned a secure roof, the adaptations, wheelchair  that does N O T come from n.h.s.,  and that merely  for a vehicle, replacement  needs £65,000 to be set aside. That would  leave  out other disability related extra living costs such as heating, costs of requiring an accessible holiday  or outing, not the cheapest,  and suitable clothes and food,  not the cheapest. 

    Then there  is the  cost of assistance,  which is N O T covered by the council.   Older frail disabled people will be terrified of care homes, but need ample savings if they have no private  pension and cannot be sure if they will live another five years, or twenty five.  

    It is a strange notion that  people count as rich, at various levels starting, o.p. states,  at £6,000,  and with apparently a cut off at £23,000, making people ineligible for applying for council housing,  or for housing benefit, or for legal aid.

    There must be instances for a test case,  where absolutely nobody, not even a court,  could agree it is reasonable  to  count someone with a dedicated savings account for vital medical need,  as if they are exactly equal  with some healthy  person  who wants to keep  every penny of his lottery winnings.

    I'm trying to remember some comparison with people who have criminal injury compensation or similar disregard in some legal situations,  possibly in divorce?
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,062 Disability Gamechanger
    Unfortunatley savings are savings with the exception sometimes of the capital from a house sale for six months nothing else is exempt.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    woodbine said:
    Unfortunatley savings are savings with the exception sometimes of the capital from a house sale for six months nothing else is exempt.
    I have to agree with this here. Savings for anything other than the sale of a house to purchase another house and from a backdated benefit claim are not disregarded. We have to remember that means tested benefit, is exactly this, means tested.
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • mimmitmimmit Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Have you thought of buying one with a loan or hire purchase so not saving but paying for it as you go enabling you. To get it quicker  and same as saving but no problems with amount and use of it now ,it is only a thought,hope you get it soughted
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 699 Pioneering
    Mimmit the idea of getting loans and hire agreements  is a good one.  But there are drawbacks. 
    Firstly because if money cannot be squandered,   the cost may work out  as nearly  twice what  it would for the same thing bought after being  saved up for.

    Then, there is the fact you are the owner and in control. Your relationship is between yourself and the supplier. That can work out worse, orr can be better. Its a gamble.    The thing you desperately rely upon, because of your disability,  belongs to Jones. It breaks.  That makes all the world of difference to you.  Jones, however,  couldn't care less if the repair takes 24 hours or three months. 

    The thing you hired may be perfectly fine at the end of the contract. If you owned it yourself,  you could decide to sell  or to keep it, and even when you do replace it, you may choose to store it as that vital emergency spare, if the next one breaks down.

    But the biggest obstacle to renting, hiring, or getting loans is that very often, people don't want to trust  a disabled or old unemployed person to repay. 
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