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HMRC internal manual

VAT Relief for Disabled People Manual

Medical and surgical supplies: is the recipient ‘handicapped’?

VRDP04100 - ‘Is a person ‘handicapped’?’ explains how the term ‘handicapped’ is defined. Many people who purchase medical or surgical appliances, or have them fitted in a hospital, will not be ‘handicapped’. People who are not ‘handicapped’ include those who:

  • have been injured in a car accident and need plates or pins inserted into their legs; or
  • are supplied with a collar for a few weeks to overcome ‘whiplash’ injuries.

However, a person suffering from a kidney problem which necessitates renal dialysis would be ‘chronically sick’, and so a renal haemodialysis unit would be eligible for zero-rating if it was supplied for personal domestic use.