Apart from free prescriptions and free eye examinations, most people who have diabetes are not entitled to additional welfare benefits. However, some people with diabetes may be eligible for disability benefits and incapacity benefits, depending on the effect that the condition has on their lives. The main groups that are likely to qualify for welfare benefits are children, the elderly, those with learning disabilities or mental health problems, and those with diabetic complications. Disability benefits are mainly for people who need help in their daily lives, while incapacity benefits are for people who are not fit to work.
You may also qualify for a type of disability benefit called Attendance Allowance. This is for people over 65 who are severely disabled and have needed attention or supervision during the day or night for at least six months. Carers may also be entitled to some benefit too depending on their involvement in caring for the person with diabetes.
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can check whether you are getting all the benefits to which you are entitled. They, as well as your diabetes specialist nurse, should also be able to provide advice on filling in the forms. Information on the types of benefits available can also be obtained by calling your local benefits enquiry line or the Disability Benefits enquiry line on freephone 0800 882 200.
You are likely to qualify for more benefits if you are blind or partially sighted - for more information, call the RNIB on 0845 766 9999.
For information on the Government's Green Paper on Social Care; 'Shaping the Future of Care Together,' see under related links.
If you have diabetes, you may be entitled to VAT relief on certain items which you need because of your condition and which you are buying for your own personal use.
This could be a blood glucose meter or testing strips for blood or urine.
The VAT exemption is usually applied in-store, and you may need to prove you are eligible (for example, a letter from your doctor).
You may be asked to sign a declaration in-store at time of purchase to qualify.
There is no need to reclaim via HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
If the goods or services you buy qualify for the VAT relief, your supplier will give you a sales invoice showing VAT at 0 per cent. This means that you won’t be charged VAT. (It’s not a case of you having to pay the VAT and then claiming it back from HMRC.)
More information on VAT exemption.