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Physical disability

A physical disability is the long-term loss or impairment of part of your body’s physical function. It can involve difficulties with walking and mobility, sitting and standing, use of your hands and arms, sight, hearing, speech, breathing, bladder control, muscle control, sleeping, fits and seizures or chronic tiredness. A physical disability may be genetic. It can also come about through something that happened before or during birth or later in life through an illness or injury. A physical disability may be obvious, such as loss of a limb, or less obvious, for example, epilepsy.

Go to the Equipment  and Getting out and about section of the site to find out what equipment or local support groups are available in your area.

If you have a long-term illness or a disability, you may be able to claim one or more of the following benefits.

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is for people of working age people whose illness or disability limits their ability to work. It is designed to cover everyday living costs such as food and bills.
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is for people aged 16-64 with a disability. It is designed to help with some of the extra costs you have because of your disability.
  • Attendance Allowance is for people over 65 who have a severe disability.

If you need to make adaptations to your home, you may be able to get a disabled facilities grant to help with the cost.

Staying independent

West Sussex County Council offers a number of different services that can support you to stay independent. You can find out more about these services by following the links to the relevant sections of this website. Occupational therapy can help you make the most of your abilities and reduce your reliance on help from others. The Regaining Independence Service offers short-term support if you are recently become disabled or have experienced a setback and you need help regain skills or confidence. If you have a physical disability you may also be able to borrow equipment from the Equipment Loan Service.

There are also specialist day services that offer support for people with a physical, sensory or memory impairment and people with an acquired brain injury.

You will need to have a social care assessment from West Sussex County Council to access these services. A social care assessment will help you find out what services might suit you and whether you are eligible for funded social care support from the County Council. You can get further information about these services and request an assessment by contacting West Sussex County Council’s Adults’ CarePoint.

Adults’ CarePoint Online: online enquiry form

Phone: 01243 642121

NGT Text Relay: 18001 01243 642121

(available as a downloadable app for computer tablets and smartphones. Helps people with speech and hearing difficulties.)

Email: socialcare@westsussex.gov.uk

Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm (excluding bank holidays).

Last updated: 05 December 2023

Websites you may be interested in

NHS Social care and support guide

This website explains your options and where you can get support



Specialist employment and training throughout West Sussex


Independent lives

Provides information and advice to disabled people and their families.