Independent living

Updated on 25 June 2021

Disabled people and carers

The government encourage independent living by giving you choice on how your needs are met. If you qualify, you can get money from different schemes so you can choose and pay for your own support and services. You may also choose to pay for help with your own money.

Illustration of a man in a wheelchair with a hand above and below him

If you need a personal assistant (PA) to help you live independently at home and to support you with things like cooking, shopping, medical tasks, personal care and getting around, you can:

  • Have one provided by your Local Authority (if you qualify for government funding)
  • Use a care agency
  • Choose and take on a PA of your own (either using government funding or your own money)

(If you have a lot of savings or a high level of income, you may not qualify for any government funding. The help available to you also depends on where in the UK you live. If you want to see if you qualify for any money from the different schemes available, as a first step, you should contact your Local Authority or Council to discuss your needs. You can find contact details for your Local Authority or Council on GOV.UK)

The last option gives you more choice and control over who cares for you and what tasks they do, but it also means you might become an employer and have to deal with responsibilities such as tax, National Insurance, auto-enrolment and employment law.

You can find out more about using an agency or taking on your own PA in this section.

You may receive occasional help from family, friends and neighbours. Even though you may not pay them for such help, you may want to give them gifts as a thank you or reimburse any out of pocket expenses such as travel expenses. You will need to think about issues such as tax and the minimum wage if you give gifts or money to informal carers.

Tax guides

Share this page