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HMRC internal manual

VAT Relief for Disabled People Manual

Definitions and use of terms: meaning of ‘disabled’

What is ‘disabled’?

The word ‘disabled’ implies a condition of a long-term nature with a substantial adverse effect on the ability of the individual to carry out day-to-day activities and includes:

  • mental disability;
  • blind or visually impaired; or
  • acute hearing loss,

although spectacles and hearing aids are specifically excluded from relief - see VRDP26000 and VRDP18000.

A temporary injury such as a broken limb is not a form of disability.

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Is an elderly or frail person ‘disabled’?

Those who are frail simply because of old age are not considered to be disabled.

However, an elderly person might also be chronically sick or disabled.

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Dyslexia and asthma

The severity of many conditions varies and some sufferers will not be disabled by the conditions whilst others are. Such conditions include dyslexia and asthma.

Where a person’s dyslexia or asthma has a substantial long term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities then he/she should be treated as being disabled for VAT purposes.

This means that not everyone with dyslexia or asthma is disabled.