What is disability related expenditure (DRE)?
Disability-Related Expenditure, also known as 'DRE,' represent 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. Indeed, in some cases, people have reduced their care charges to zero.
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 the total amount you're claiming. DREY also factors specific rules related to transport, heating, and equipment priced over £250.
Once you've completed the process, we'll email you instructions on what to do next. Attached to this email will be a letter detailing 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. You can download a sample letter produced by the DRE calculator here
Do I qualify for DRE?
To qualify, you must:
Use social care services that are chargeable 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
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, such as:
Household cleaning (if not part of your care plan)
Fuel for a Motability car
Special clothing or footwear (or extra wear and tear)
Vets' bills and pet food
The cost of medication that is not available on the NHS
The cost of home adaptations, such as a ramp or a grab rail
Social activities - if you have costs that relate to social activities to help with mental health issues
The cost of heating your home if you need to keep it warmer than usual due to your disability or health condition
The cost of food if you need to eat a special diet due to your impairment or health condition
Any day or night care which is not being arranged by the local authority
Costs relating to hobbies that support your health and well-being
Costs relating to parenting if they are greater because of your disability, e.g. extra childcare costs while you have hospital treatment or specialist equipment.
Buying and maintaining disability-related equipment
Any transport costs (both for essential visits to the doctor or hospital, but also to keep up social contacts)
Mobile phones, tablets, and computers
Mobility and communication equipment
Home delivery costs (e.g. supermarket shopping delivery charges) if you can’t go shopping yourself
Internet and broadband
Extra washing or special washing powder/conditioner for delicate skin
Top tips for making a dre claim
When claiming DRE, it's important to explain the reason for each expense and how it directly relates to your impairment or health condition. This is essential because it provides evidence and context for the expense claim and 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:
Jasbir needs a cleaner because she lacks mobility and struggles to move around her home, and she also finds it painful to grip cleaning equipment.
Alison has a mental health issue. Access to the internet allows her to keep in contact with friends and family and reduce social isolation and feelings of loneliness, contributing to her anxiety and depression.
Jeremy has to purchase incontinence pads because he is allergic to the ones supplied by the NHS.
Mohammed's dog reduces his anxiety, stress and social isolation and improves his mental health. He must pay for numerous items such as dog food/treats, flea and worming treatments, insurance, vet fees, grooming and inoculations, and dog beds.
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 certain items for DRE
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. Download the full letter here.
The council is asking for more evidence and receipts
Please review your request to provide individual receipts to evidence all my Disability-Related Expenditures (DRE). I believe this request is excessive and unreasonable. Download the full letter here.
The council hasn't responded to my DRE review letter
I asked you to review my social care contribution in light of the Disability-Related Expenditure (DRE) I have identified. Unfortunately, I have not heard from you. Download the full letter here.
examples of how the chatbot calculates dre
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 the total amount you're claiming.
It also factors in specific rules related to transport, heating, and any equipment priced over £250. Once you've completed the process, we'll send you an email. Attached to this email will be a letter detailing all your expenses and an estimate of the amount you can claim, and an appendix explaining the calculations.
Andrea's dog reduces her anxiety, stress and social isolation and improves her mental health. She must pay for numerous items such as dog food/treats, flea and worming treatments, insurance, vet fees, grooming and inoculations, and dog beds. The total cost of which is £2,500 a year = £48.07 DRE a week
James purchased a specialist wheelchair because the NHS did not have one that catered to his needs, which cost £3,900. The life span of the item is ten years*. Therefore, DRE for this item would be calculated as follows £3,900 ÷ 500 weeks (ten years) = £7.90 DRE per week.
*The local authority may work out one-off expenditures by spreading the cost over the period the item is expected to last. For example, if the item costs £1,000 and is expected to last ten years, your weekly expenditure may be worked out as £2 DRE per week. £1,000 ÷ 500 weeks (ten years)
Shamima is a wheelchair user and cannot look after her garden due to a lack of mobility in her arms. As a result, Shamima must employ a gardener for an hour a week but only six months a year. The cost for each visit is £15, which equates to £7.50 a week over the whole year. £7.50 a week is, therefore, her DRE allowance for gardening.
Internet and Broadband
Jon experiences depression and anxiety and uses the internet to contact friends and family. Without the Internet, he would experience social isolation and worsening mental health. The monthly cost for internet and broadband is £41, which equals £9.46 DRE per week.
Fuel for Motability car
Peter has a Motability car - as public transport is inaccessible - to keep in contact with friends and family, go shopping and participate in leisure activities. The Motability car enables Peter to retain choice, independence and control. The monthly fuel bill is £60, which equates to £13.85 DRE per week.
Your local authority may request additional evidence of your expenses, which can be included with your DRE letter to speed up the process. For example, you can use receipts, bank statements, care plans, occupational therapy assessments, medical letters or even copies of online articles to prove you need to spend money on certain things.
Don't worry if you cannot provide all the receipts and evidence. Submit it with what you have, as Councils must be flexible when requesting receipts and evidence.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, in a decision against East Sussex County Council case (17 015 118), said that asking for every receipt is too complicated and not fair, explaining that there may be occasions when it is impossible to 'evidence every spend or provide a detailed breakdown of every cost. Instead, councils should consider each application on its merits.'