Are you "registered" disabled?

With whom does one register as disabled? Is it the local authority? Does the issuing of a Blue Badge automatically register you as disabled? My OH IS SPMS, he is still working, he does have a Blue Badge but no other benefit. We have just moved to a bungalow which needs a lot of work and my builder has said that if OH is “registered disabled” we won’t have to pay VAT. I’ve seen the term"registered disabled" in other publications but it’s never clear who holds the register. Any advice gratefully received.

I can’t help re being registered disabled but ask him how he got his blue badge, in my area you only get a badge if you have the mobility component of DLA or PIP. I imagine that would also qualify you for VAT exemption.

Jan x

Hi, VAT relief for the disabled.

VAT is a tax that you pay as a consumer when you buy goods and services in the European Union, including the UK.

Disabled people don’t have to pay VAT when they buy equipment that has been designed for disabled people or when they have equipment adapted so they can use it.

VAT is not charged on some services provided to the disabled, including building work to adapt a disabled person’s home and the hire of disability equipment like wheelchairs.

Often referred to as ‘zero-rated’ or ‘eligible for VAT relief’, the rate of VAT charged on them is zero.

The rules about VAT reliefs for disabled people are complex. Not everything that is supplied to disabled people is zero-rated for VAT.

Services that are eligible for zero-rating include:

  1. the servicing, maintenance and installation of disability equipment
  2. adaptation work on equipment or appliances so a disabled person can use them
  3. some building alterations to a disabled person’s home
  4. the hire of qualifying disability equipment


I think this one went out with the ark! I don’t know if a few councils may still do it - particularly in Scotland - but certainly there’s no general register.

Being in receipt of PIP or DLA - particularly the higher rates - is often seen as “proof” of disability for access to other services or concessions. I’m not sure blue badge would be enough, even though it typically has similar qualifying criteria. It would also be unfair as the qualifying measure, because people might not have one due simply to not driving or not having access to a car, but not because they aren’t disabled.

Since it’s the builders who raised the subject, ask what documents they usually expect to see for their records. I’m sure it will be proof of one of the disability related benefits.

Also, be careful, as I believe the VAT exemption only applies to work required in direct connection with your OH’s disability - e.g. installing ramps or handrails, or widening doorways to accommodate a wheelchair. You can’t claim VAT exemption on ordinary domestic improvement works that would have been needed irrespective of disability.


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VAT relief on building work if you have a disability.

Building work that can be VAT free

This section has information on the building work that can be VAT free in your home ie:

Ramps, doorways and passages, Bathrooms, washrooms and lavatories, Installation or repair and maintenance of lifts, Preparation or restoration work.

Also has a list of building works that are not VAT free.

How do I register as disabled NHS webpage:

When I have purchased goods and services that are directly relevant to my disability/chronic medical condition all I have had to do is to sign a form that the supplier submits to HMRC with his VAT return. It asks for your name and address and what your disability is (not loads of details - just “Multiple Sclerosis”, “Type 2 Diabetes” etc.)

It’s been the same when I have purchased my scooter last month from a small independent supplier, when I purchased my crutches online and even when I purchased a glucose monitor for my diabetes from Boots. However I have noticed that some very small suppliers don’t offer to supply goods with the exemption - presumably because they are not VAT registered as they have a very small turnover.

I presume that HMRC must do checks on the seller when they check his VAT returns and they could even contact you to check that the work etc was done but I have never had any comeback.

Some big suppliers are unable to offer this as well. According to the person I spoke to at Odstock Medical, they have to charge VAT on their FES. They have pursued this (to the European Court of Human Rights - I may have imagined they told me that) and got no joy.

registered disabled. Don’t you just hate that phrase?

If you have MS you are legally disabled. You do not have to be claiming benefits to be acknowledged officially as disabled. If you work your pants off, with progressive MS, you don’t get benefits. (I deteriorated & had to retire). Hence a blue badge only requires 2 letters on your reasoning for application. I am sure I learned this from MS Society page years ago.

re building works, do read HMRC details thoroughly & make sure you understand & apply to the letter. (Been down that route). You should not pay vat on labour or materials if all via a vat registered builder/provider. There are a lot of forms etc. Don’t confuse with disability aids, which should be zero rated, if you declare you are disabled. Even eBay offers this. Having said that, it may not work out to be the cheapest route, so shop around. Not all builders are the same! I did a self build for my downstairs accommodation, I think it worked out cheaper. But hubby did a lot. They do have their uses!