We have collected together some of the most frequently asked questions our helpline receives from people new to disability, such as:


Every person’s experience of disability is unique. We may not be able to help with every question you have but we can help you find some answers.

Whenever you want to, please get in touch. There is a lot of support and advice out there to make your life easier. If you find that you are struggling to cope, we can suggest some sources of extra support.

For free, independent support or disability advice, contact Scope's helpline on 0808 800 3333.


Am I disabled? What happens now?                

It's a big question. The first thing to say is that you are not disabled because of your impairment, whether it affects your vision, your mental health, your mobility or your hearing.

What makes you disabled is how society treats you. Here are two simple examples to explain:
  • You can access information with a visual impairment. But you are disabled if the writing is too small or the information is in a format that you cannot access.
  • You can get around in a wheelchair. But you are disabled if there is no level access or you can’t get on a bus, train or other transport.
This view of the world is sometimes called the social model of disability.

How do I register as a disabled person?

This is a question people often ask but there is no longer a ‘register’ of disabled people so you don’t need to register.

The Equality Act says that you’re disabled if you have “a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities”.

It’s illegal to discriminate against you because you are disabled. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. 

How do I prove I am disabled?

Most of the time, stating that you are disabled will be enough. Sometimes you need a disability benefit entitlement letter. This will help you to get a carer’s space at the cinema or into the accessible area at gigs.

Not every disabled person can claim disability benefits. If your condition affects your daily living activities, you can apply.

How can I learn more about my condition?

Many people find it helpful to do some research into their condition so that they understand more about it. See our list of organisations.

Working on your existing relationships – partners, family members, and friends – is a big part of adjusting to life as a disabled person. This is happening to you, but it affects them too.

Talking with people in similar situations can help. Support groups can offer a way to meet other disabled people who have lived through what you are going through. This often leads to new friendships and connections, sources of information and developing new skills. We also have an online community that connects disabled people and those around them. It’s a good place to start.

Contact our helpline

Ask Scope’s online community

Get advice and tips, or share your experiences

Have you recently acquired a new impairment?

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