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What is disability related expenditure
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What is disability related expenditure (DRE)?

 

Disability-related expenditure, also known as 'DRE,' represents the additional costs that Disabled people, older people, or people with long-term health conditions may incur. These expenses can vary widely, covering items and services such as heating, clothing, specialised food, and basic household or gardening assistance. Local authorities must allow these as part of a financial assessment before calculating what a person pays for their care. ​The DRE Calculator can help you reduce your care charges. 

How Can the DRe Calculator Help You Reduce Social Care Charges?

Our DRE Calculator, designed by disabled people and carers with first-hand experience navigating the social care system, aims to help you through the Disability-Related Expenditure claims process and potentially reduce your social care charges.

 

It can be challenging to think about DRE and what this means to you or the person you care or advocate for. Our DRE calculator focuses on your daily life and helps you identify the extra expenses you incur due to your impairments or long-term health condition. Throughout the process, the calculator will offer various tips and examples to assist you in understanding and presenting disability-related reasons for these expenses.

 

As you enter each expense into the DRE calculator, it will continually update and provide a running total. This way, you'll have a clear view of your claim amount. DREy also factors specific rules related to transport, heating, and equipment.

 

After completing the process, we will email you instructions on what to do next. The email will also include a letter that details all your expenses, an estimate of the amount you can claim, the disability-related reasons, and an appendix explaining how the calculations have been made.

 

Do I qualify for DRE?

 

To qualify, you must meet the necessary requirements specified:

  • Use chargeable social care services under your local authority/council policy. Receive disability benefits, for example, Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (Care Component) or Personal Independence Payment (Daily living Component)

  • Live in England - Our DRE calculator is designed for individuals drawing on social care services in England only, as Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland maintain separate and distinct charging policies.

  • Savings less than £23,250

 

Local authorities are required to take DRE into account when conducting financial assessments for social care support. They must deduct eligible DRE from the person's income when calculating their contribution towards care costs

 

What can I claim for?

 

Everyone's costs will be different, and a list of examples cannot contain everything. However, our DRE Calculator includes a wide range of items to help you think through what to claim for, such as gym membership, hobbies, pets, hairdressing, and many other items not included in the list below.

 

​According to the Care and Support statutory guidance: "In assessing disability-related expenditure, local authorities should include the following. However, it should also be noted that this list is not intended to be exhaustive and any reasonable additional costs directly related to a person’s disability should be included."​

 

The following list is directly taken from the Care and Support statutory guidance.
 

  1. (a) payment for any community alarm system

  2. (b) costs of any privately arranged care services required, including respite care

  3. (c) costs of any specialist items needed to meet the person’s disability needs, for example:

    1. (i) Day or night care which is not being arranged by the local authority

    2. (ii) specialist washing powders or laundry

    3. (iii) additional costs of special dietary needs due to illness or disability (the person may be asked for permission to approach their GP in cases of doubt)

    4. (iv) special clothing or footwear, for example, where this needs to be specially made; or additional wear and tear to clothing and footwear caused by disability

    5. (v) additional costs of bedding, for example, because of incontinence

    6. (vi) any heating costs, or metered costs of water, above the average levels for the area and housing type

    7. (vii) occasioned by age, medical condition or disability

    8. (viii) reasonable costs of basic garden maintenance, cleaning, or domestic help, if necessitated by the individual’s disability and not met by social services

    9. (ix) purchase, maintenance, and repair of disability-related equipment, including equipment or transport needed to enter or remain in work; this may include IT costs, where necessitated by the disability; reasonable hire costs of equipment may be included, if due to waiting for supply of equipment from the local council

    10. (x) personal assistance costs, including any household or other necessary costs arising for the person

    11. (xi) internet access for example for blind and partially sighted people

    12. (xii) other transport costs necessitated by illness or disability, including costs of transport to day centres, over and above the mobility component of DLA or PIP, if in payment and available for these costs. In some cases, it may be reasonable for a council not to take account of claimed transport costs – if, for example, a suitable, cheaper form of transport, for example, council-provided transport to day centres is available, but has not been used

    13. (xiii) in other cases, it may be reasonable for a council not to allow for items where a reasonable alternative is available at lesser cost. For example, a council might adopt a policy not to allow for the private purchase cost of continence pads, where these are available from the NHS

Template DRE Letter to send to your council

 

If you prefer not to use our DRE chatbot, you can easily use the alternative method provided below. Simply copy the template letter, paste it, and fill in the specific DRE items that you have identified.

Dear

Re: A review of my financial assessment for non-residential social care charges

I am writing to request a review of my financial assessment. In particular, I am asking you to review and take into account my individual Disability Related Expenditure (DRE). I was not told that I needed to make a specific application to get DRE disregarded when my care plan was worked on. (Delete this sentence if your council has informed you about DRE and how to claim) 

Para 8.2 of the Care and Support Statutory Guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care (which you are required to act under by the Care Act itself) makes it clear that councils should factor into their discretionary charging policies the principle that service users should only be charged what they can reasonably afford to pay. The Guidance further clarifies that I should be left with a minimum income guarantee not just for the daily cost of living purposes to ensure I have sufficient funds to meet basic needs such as purchasing food, utility costs or insurance but also to promote independence and social inclusion.

The Care and Support Guidance also states in para 8.42 that where a person receives benefits to meet their disability needs, the charging arrangements should ensure they keep enough money to meet these disability-related costs. I believe the way my assessment was carried out and the calculations do not ensure I keep enough money to meet my disability-related expenses. Therefore, I am asking you to consider the DRE I identified below

I would like you to recalculate my contribution, taking into account my DRE listed below. Please write detailed reasons to meet the duty of rationality, fairness, and transparency owed in public law if you do not consider the items above worthy of a DRE  disregard. I’ve incurred some of the expenses for a while. Therefore, I am also asking you to consider backdating your recalculation to the original financial assessment, as this is when the council should have included the DRE items. 

Disability Related Expenditure

 

Gardening - £40 per month

Because of my limited vision, gardening becomes risky, with tasks like trimming or using sharp tools. Keeping my outdoor space safe is also difficult, with identifying uneven surfaces or overgrown plants being a constant challenge. Hiring a gardener eliminates these risks, allows me to enjoy my garden safely, and even allows me to participate in activities like weeding or planting. This way, I can maintain some control over my outdoor space and its accessibility while enjoying the therapeutic benefits of gardening without needing help with every task.

Community alarm - £320 per year

 

I am a wheelchair user and have difficulty balancing therefore, if I fall or have a medical issue, getting help on my own is difficult. A community alarm allows me to call for assistance immediately with a simple button press, ensuring I get help faster. The alarm system provides peace of mind, knowing help is just a button away, especially when I'm alone.​ Knowing that help is readily available significantly reduces anxiety and fear, particularly when I'm alone. This can greatly improve my overall mental well-being and independence.

 

Cat pet food – £24 per week (you can include cat food, flea treatment and vet fees)

 

Jon's strong attachment to cats is deeply rooted in their routine and emotional support, which are essential for managing his disability. The structured activities that the cats provide offer him a sense of purpose and stability. Every day, the cats look to Jon to feed them and provide motivation to get out of bed, making him feel valued and needed. Moreover, the cats' intuitive responses to his distress, such as sitting with him, meowing, and tapping, serve as a form of emotional support. This can help alleviate feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety, promoting his overall well-being.

Mobile phone - £20 per month. 
 

Jon heavily depends on his mobile phone to keep in touch with family and friends, access important services, and take care of his mental health. If he were to lose his mobile phone, he would feel isolated and unable to connect with his support network, which would cause him to experience more anxiety, stress, and a decline in his general wellbeing.

 

He relies on his mobile phone for social connections, entertainment, and mental health. He stays connected with loved ones and friends through calls, texts, and group chats. Moreover, he engages with online communities and forums that reduce loneliness and promote well-being. Additionally, his mobile phone offers him various forms of entertainment and games that help him relax, relieve stress, and manage his anxiety.

House Cleaner - £22 per week

Since my brain injury, cleaning my home has become a huge challenge.I am experiencing extreme fatigue, and even performing simple tasks leaves me feeling exhausted. Remembering what needs to be cleaned and where everything is can be a nightmare. Also, reaching high shelves or mopping floors is difficult because my balance isn't what it used to be. On top of that, some cleaning products make me feel awful, causing headaches and dizziness.

 

Motability Fuel - £30 a month

 

Jon's entire PIP mobility component is allocated towards the Motability car. The Care Act statutory guidance Annex C 40(c)(xii) clearly states that "other transport costs necessitated by illness or disability, including costs of transport to day centres, over and above the mobility component of DLA or PIP, if in payment and available for these costs." should be considered as DRE. 

 

In Jon's case, he utilises his entire mobility component for the Motability car, leaving fuel costs as additional, disability-related transportation expenses that need to be factored into his DRE calculations. Jon heavily depends on his Motability car for daily activities such as shopping, attending doctor and hospital appointments, and commuting to his day centre, and college.  Jon depends on his car to maintain his social life, which fosters independence, promotes wellbeing and reduces isolation. Thus, the cost of petrol for his Motability car must be considered an additional expense that is necessary due to his disability. It's important to note that the petrol being claimed is only used when driving for Jon's disability-related needs.

Private Dentist - £92 per year

Jon has been seeing an NHS dentist, but she went private last year. Due to his disability and Jon's challenging behaviours, which are detailed in his care plan - he is unwilling to see any other dentist as he has developed a good relationship with her over the years and refuses to change to an NHS dentist. This means he has to pay for his treatment, including regular cleaning, instead of receiving it for free. Jon has poor oral hygiene as he does not understand the importance of cleaning his teeth.  If he were told to change dentists, he would refuse to go. We have tried everything to get him to change.

Holiday - £680 (this includes carers airfare, hotel, travel and food)

Due to a learning disability, Jon faces challenges with independent travel. Understanding schedules, navigating unfamiliar environments, and communicating effectively would be impossible. Communicating with airport staff, hotel personnel, or strangers during travel would create risks. To ensure his safety and enable him to enjoy various holiday activities, he requires assistance and support.  This assistance includes help with travel logistics as well as daily tasks like personal care, meal preparation, and mobility. Without support, Jon would be unable to go on holiday. 

 

Overall, support during holidays is essential for Jon to participate in an activity that significantly improves his well-being. Without this support, the challenges and risks associated with independent travel would make it impossible for him to enjoy a holiday.

Yours faithfully,

 
 
Do Disability Related items have to be written down in the care plan?

NO

According to the Care and Support statutory guidance:
 

"The care plan may be a good starting point for considering what is necessary for disability-related expenditure. However, flexibility is needed. What is disability-related expenditure should not be limited to what is necessary for care and support."

Top tips for making a dre claim
 

When making a claim for Disability-Related Expenses (DRE), explaining each expense and its direct relation to your impairment or health condition is crucial. This is essential because it provides evidence and context for the expense claim, which in turn helps the Adult Social Care team reviewing the claim understand its necessity.
 

The DRE Calculator is a tool that assists with this process. It provides prompts and tips to help you articulate the reasons for your claims effectively.  Below are some examples that focus on disability-related reasons:
 

Motability Fuel - £30 a month

Yes, you can claim fuel for a Motability car if the full PIP mobility component is spent on the car. 

 

Jon's entire PIP mobility component is allocated towards the Motability car. The Care Act statutory guidance Annex C 40(c)(xii) clearly states that "other transport costs necessitated by illness or disability, including costs of transport to day centres, over and above the mobility component of DLA or PIP, if in payment and available for these costs." should be considered as DRE. 

 

In Jon's case, he utilises his entire mobility component for the Motability car, leaving fuel costs as additional, disability-related transportation expenses that need to be factored into his DRE calculations. Jon heavily depends on his Motability car for daily activities such as shopping, attending doctor and hospital appointments, and commuting to his day centre, and college and visiting friends and family.  Jon depends on his car to maintain his social life, which fosters independence, promotes wellbeing and reduces isolation. Thus, the cost of petrol for his Motability car must be considered an additional expense that is necessary due to his disability. It's important to note that the petrol being claimed is only used when driving for Jon's disability-related needs.

Please note: Fuel cannot be claimed when the Motability car is used for non-disability related purposes.

Extra Clothing –  £200 per year

 

Jon has a learning disability that causes him to damage his clothes when he gets stressed, anxious, or frustrated. He often pulls at his clothes roughly, causing tears in t-shirts, socks, jumpers, underwear, and trousers. He also has bedwetting issues, which require frequent washing of his pyjamas, leading to increased wear and tear on these items, which need to be replaced regularly.

 

Extra washing, detergent, and conditioner  -  estimated £20 per week

 

Jon's disability causes him to struggle with toileting and nighttime routines, resulting in frequent accidents and soiled bedding that requires daily washing. While plastic coverings could help prevent these incidents, Jon's disability makes it difficult for him to understand the importance of using them. We have tried to use plastic sheeting in the past, but this has failed because Jon removes them each time.

Cat pet food – £24 per week

 

Jon's strong attachment to cats is deeply rooted in their routine and emotional support, which are essential for managing his disability. The structured activities that the cats provide offer him a sense of purpose and stability. Every day, the cats look to Jon to feed them and provide motivation to get out of bed, making him feel valued and needed. Moreover, the cats' intuitive responses to his distress, such as sitting with him, meowing, and tapping, serve as a form of emotional support. This can help alleviate feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety, promoting his overall well-being.

Mobile phone - £20 per month. 
 

Jon heavily depends on his mobile phone to keep in touch with family and friends, access important services, and take care of his mental health. If he were to lose his mobile phone, he would feel isolated and unable to connect with his support network, which would cause him to experience more anxiety, stress, and a decline in his general wellbeing.

 

He relies on his mobile phone for social connections, entertainment, and mental health. He stays connected with loved ones and friends through calls, texts, and group chats. Moreover, he engages with online communities and forums that reduce loneliness and promote well-being. Additionally, his mobile phone offers him various forms of entertainment and games that help him relax, relieve stress, and manage his anxiety.

 

Daily bathing leads to increased heating costs and water bills

 

Daily baths are critical for Jon to manage the physical limitations and hygiene needs associated with his medical conditions. Because he needs a large bath for soaking, water and heating costs are likely higher than a standard shower. This additional expense is directly linked to the specific needs of his disability and justifies the claim for Disability-Related Expenditure.

 

Jon's doctor recommends daily warm baths to relax muscles, improve flexibility and reduce pain. Due to balance problems associated with his disability, showering would pose a significant fall risk to Jon. Baths offer a safer and more accessible option.

Holiday - £680 (this includes carers airfare, hotel, travel and food)

You can ask the Council to consider holidays as DRE. For example, the extra costs can be claimed if you require support from a carer. Or maybe you have to pay more for a more expensive accessible hotel.  The extra cost  can be considered as DRE. 


Due to a learning disability, Jon faces challenges with independent travel. Understanding schedules, navigating unfamiliar environments, and communicating effectively would be impossible. Communicating with airport staff, hotel personnel, or strangers during travel would create risks. To ensure his safety and enable him to enjoy various holiday activities, he requires assistance and support.  This assistance includes help with travel logistics as well as daily tasks like personal care, meal preparation, and mobility. Without support, Jon would be unable to go on holiday. 

 

Overall, support during holidays is essential for Jon to participate in an activity that significantly improves his well-being. Without this support, the challenges and risks associated with independent travel would make it impossible for him to enjoy a holiday.

Template Letters of Complaint

After you have sent in your DRE claim, the council may respond by asking for more evidence or refusing to allow certain expenses. Or perhaps your local council hasn't responded at all. Therefore, we have compiled several letters you can download and send to your council:

The council is refusing to consider items for DRE

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Refusal to consider certain items for my DRE claim

I am writing to express disappointment and frustration with the handling of my disability-related expenditure (DRE) claim. As a Disabled person, I rely on financial assistance to manage my daily life and ensure a decent quality of life. Your disregard for certain items in my DRE claim is not without consequences. It's undermining my well-being and causing undue stress.

The Statutory Guidance (Annex C, para 40) contains a substantial list of items that can constitute DRE but explicitly states that the list is merely illustrative: 'that this list is not intended to be exhaustive, and any reasonable additional costs directly related to a person's disability should be included'. Furthermore, in para 41, the Guidance emphasises that 'what is disability-related expenditure should not be limited to what is necessary for care and support'.

Considering the broader perspective outlined in the Statutory Guidance, I am asking you to reconsider your request and re-evaluate my DRE claim. If you still think you cannot allow certain items as my DRE, please provide justification considering all the information above.

 

Yours faithfully,

[Insert Name]

The council hasn't responded to my DRE review 

Urgent request to review my social care contribution. 

 

Please treat this letter as an official complaint. 

 

I sent a letter to [insert council], dated [insert date], requesting a review of my social care contribution. Despite identifying Disability-Related Expenditure (DRE), I am still awaiting a response. I urgently request a reply within the next two weeks.

 

The law
 

Although local authorities can charge and take welfare benefits as income, Schedule 1 of The Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) Regulations 2014 states that if disability benefits are taken into account as income, DRE must be disregarded. Para 8.2. of the Care and Support Guidance states that the overarching principle is that people should only be required to pay what they can afford.   

  

I believe you are charging me much more than I can afford. By doing this, you are putting me under substantial financial pressure, causing me significant mental distress and undermining my well-being. I was not helped in the past to identify my DRE.  I've now received help and support with this issue and have asked you to reassess the payment so that the amount I'm asked to pay aligns with what I can lawfully afford. 

 

I believe it is reasonable for you to act on requests to recalculate contributions and take DRE into account as soon as possible. However, I am deeply dissatisfied that I have yet to receive any communication from you about my request to recalculate my contribution.   

 

Because of the reasons stated above, I expect to receive a response from you within the next two weeks. 

Yours faithfully, 

[Your Name] 

 

Providing Evidence to support your DRE claim

Including supporting evidence can speed up the processing of your application. Here's what you can do:
 

What can be considered evidence?
 

Here are some examples of documents that can help prove your needs:

  • Receipts: These could be for essential equipment, travel costs related to disability, adaptations made to your home, or care services you've paid for.

  • Bank statements: These may reflect recurring expenses related to your disability, like payments for petrol, fuel, heating, gym membership, broadband and mobile phones

  • Care plans: This document outlines the care and support you require, created by medical professionals or social workers.

  • Occupational therapy assessments: This report details any assessments conducted by occupational therapists to evaluate your needs at home.

  • Medical letters: These letters from your doctor or specialist can confirm your diagnosis and its impact on your daily life.

Don't have all the evidence? No problem!

The good news is that you can submit your DRE application even if you don't have all the requested documentation. Councils are required to be flexible when it comes to evidence.

 

If your council is being strict and demanding receipts for everything, you might consider sending them the following letter.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Subject: Unreasonable request to prove all Disability Related Expenditures with a receipt

Please review your request to provide individual receipts to evidence all my Disability-Related Expenditures (DRE).

I believe this request is excessive and unreasonable. Please consider and explain the necessity of this in my case. In addition, if this is the local authority policy to always ask for receipts for all disability-related expenditures, I am also asking to review the reasonableness of this policy.

Why I think the request is unreasonable.

I provided evidence of my expenditure. Collecting all receipts is burdensome and inaccessible for me as a Disabled person. Your request to collect and submit receipts for all DRE items creates a barrier for me to keep enough money to live on. You are not considering all my DRE, so you ask me to pay much more than I can afford in my care contributions. This goes against a key principle outlined in the Care and Support Guidance para 8.1.

I also would like to draw your attention to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman decision in the East Sussex County Council case (17 015 118). The Ombudsman held a policy of asking for receipts for all DRE items without paying attention and considering a person’s circumstances to be maladministration, noting (at para 41) that there may well be occasions when it is not possible to 'evidence every spend or provide a detailed breakdown of every cost. Councils should consider each application on its merits.' The decision further emphasised that councils should avoid adopting a blanket policy for DRE claims.

It will be difficult for me to provide receipts for the following reasons:

 

Please insert and list the reasons (Below in red are some examples that will help you think about why it is difficult to provide receipts for every item)
 

  • My diagnoses of autism and a learning disability make it hard to keep track of physical items like receipts.

  • Due to my vision impairment, organising and storing receipts can be difficult.

  • Due to my disability, at times, i experience 'Brain Fog'  significantly hinders my ability to consistently remember to collect  and storeceipts after transactions

I am asking you to reconsider your request. If you still believe I should provide all the receipts, please explain why and let me know the legal basis for your request.

 

DELETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE REFERENCING THE EQUALITY ACT IF YOU ARE ABLE TO ORGANISE AND COLLECT RECEIPTS. Please let me know how the local authority can assist me in finding and organising receipts as part of its reasonable adjustment duty under the Equality Act 2010.

I believe I am paying too much for my care as not all my DRE has been counted. This puts enormous pressure on my finances and creates immense mental distress. I am struggling to survive on how much money I have left. Therefore, I ask that you consider and respond to this letter urgently and no later than within 2 weeks.

 

Yours faithfully, 

[Your Name] 

Template Letter
Claiming Fuel
Receipts
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