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Fundraising for things you need

You should be able to get what you need from your local authority, the NHS or a charity grant.

Sometimes fundraising might be the only way to get the money to pay for what you want. For example, a particular model of powerchair. But you would need to maintain any equipment that you buy. This could be a disadvantage.

Warning Your benefits

Fundraising for yourself could reduce or stop your benefits. Get advice if you're not sure.

Contact the Scope helpline

Other ways to get things you need

You may be entitled to get equipment in a way that does not affect your benefits.

Wheelchairs

You may be able to get a wheelchair from the NHS, grants or charities.

How to get a wheelchair 

Transport

The Motability Scheme lets you lease a car, mobility scooter or powered wheelchair. It uses either:

  • the enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • the mobility component of your Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Driving and Motability

Equipment for daily life

You can apply to your local authority for an assessment. They will recommend equipment and adaptations to do essential tasks at home. This includes things like washing yourself and eating.

Social care needs assessment

For example, if you cannot clean yourself without support, your social care needs assessment could recommend a shower chair.

If a shower chair would not be safe for you to use, they could recommend a more expensive option like adapting your shower.

Adapting your home

If you need adaptations to live more independently, you might get these from:

  • your local authority
  • your housing association
  • the NHS

Getting home adaptations

Equipment for work

You may be able to use Access to Work to pay for equipment that will help you to do your job. You can also use this to pay for your travel to work or if you travel for your job. The equipment would belong to your employer.

Access to Work 

NHS treatments and equipment

If you have long-term complex health needs, you may be able to get equipment that you need from NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Paying for disability equipment and assistive technology

Charity grants

You may be able to apply for specific grants without fundraising.

Search for grants

You could research local charities to find out if they could support you.

Check your benefits claim and be careful

Fundraising for yourself could reduce or stop your benefits. Get advice if you're not sure.

Contact the Scope helpline

Look at your benefits claim. This includes reports from assessments. Plan any fundraising carefully.

You could lose your benefits if the DWP thinks you are doing things to fundraise that your claim says you cannot do.

For example, on your benefits forms you say that you find it hard to interact with people you do not know well.

Someone sends a link for your fundraising event on Facebook to the DWP. The DWP could decide you are no longer entitled to benefits.

You could ask your family or friends to do things that your claim says that you find difficult or cannot do.

Write to the DWP before you get the money

You may be able to reduce how much fundraising affects your benefits if both of the following apply:

  • the DWP decides to treat money you raise as capital rather than income
  • you buy what you need quickly

Write to the DWP. Say that you are expecting a lump sum to come into your account. Keep a copy of your email. Tell them:

  • where the money is from
  • what the money is going to be used for

Remember to buy what you need as soon as you can.

How do savings and lump sum pay-outs affect benefits? (Money Advice Service)

Someone else could run the appeal

How you manage funds you raise could make it less likely that the DWP will reduce or stop your benefits.

You could ask someone else to run the appeal or crowdfunding page. They should be:

  • a person you trust to use the money to buy what you need, for example a family member or friend
  • a person who does not claim benefits

They could:

  • manage the money so it does not go into your account
  • buy what you need

If someone runs a crowdfunding appeal for you and they keep the money, contact the crowdfunding website and report it to the police.

Support for victims of hate crime

Bank accounts

Set up a new account for the appeal if you can. The DWP may be less likely to treat the money as capital or income if you use a specific bank account. It should have the name of the appeal, such as John's Wheelchair Fund. You could choose to have more than one signatory on the account.

Keep accounts of all income and outgoings so that you can show how you have spent the money.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is asking lots of people to support you by donating small amounts of money.

People running crowdfunding campaigns make a page on a crowdfunding website like gofundme or JustGiving.

Your crowdfunding page

You will need to set up a page where you talk about what you need and take donations. The rules for crowdfunding sites vary.

Sharing your story

A strong story can make crowdfunding more successful. You will need to share some parts of your personal life to do this.

On the page, talk about what you're crowdfunding for, like a powerchair. Be as specific as you can.

It can also help if you say why a piece of equipment is right for you and why alternatives are not. For example:

  • a cheaper option, like a mobility scooter
  • equipment provided by the NHS

If you want to write more, you could write a blog post and link to it. If you do not want to start a blog you could write a Google doc.

UK Crowdfunding Association

Social media

You can use sites like Facebook and Twitter to share information about what you need:

  • Facebook is often the most effective.
  • Twitter is good if you have a lot of followers or know people with a lot of followers.

Post something different each time. People may notice if you post the same thing a lot. You do not always need to ask for money. People can also support you by sharing your story and crowdfunding page.

Posts about your life could help people to understand your needs. This could make them more likely to:

  • donate
  • share your story
  • share your crowdfunding page

Post regularly. People may not be able to donate until they get paid.

Asking people to share

Someone sharing your posts can sometimes be more valuable than them giving you a donation. You could say something like, "If you can't donate, please share."

Make a list of people who might be interested in sharing. Tag someone each time you post and ask if they can share it.

Getting questions and comments

Curious people may ask you questions about your story. Some of these may feel patronising. Preparing answers might help.

For example, someone might ask why you cannot get a wheelchair through Motability. You could say: "They don't offer the kind of wheelchair I need."

You do not have to answer negative or unpleasant questions if you do not want to. If people harass you because you're disabled, it is a hate crime.

Report hate crimes as soon as possible. There are several ways to do this. You can ask for help and you do not need to leave your house or talk to the police in person.

Reporting disability hate crime

Last reviewed by Scope on: 26/11/2020

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