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Only on this website, not on any estate agent or council or community websites, is it revealed that purchasers/leaseholders of residential Sovereign Harbour property must pay a unique annual and increasingly expensive flood defence and harbour charge averaging £265 a year in 2018 in addition to council taxes, property insurance, management fees and ground rents. In no other flood area or harbour or marina area or private estate anywhere else in Britain, the UK, Europe or the world does this apply. A much wider flood zone area than just Sovereign Harbour is involved, affecting  more than 17,000 homes, yet the Sovereign Harbour Trust, owned by The Wellcome Trust makes only the 4,300 Sovereign Harbour residents and their successors pay it, to the Environment Agency, not businesses including managing agents and property developers. As Members of Parliament and Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County councillors have refused to help right this wrong applicable uniquely and solely to Sovereign Harbour residents, the matter has now been referred to overseas agencies. A second unique covenant  requires owners/leaseholders of 369 South Harbour properties in the water feature precinct to pay a further annual charge of £328 in 2018. It is the only such water feature in the world that applies such a charge to properties overlooking it.

Eastbourne & Sovereign Harbour Disability Association (ESHDA)

Local and UK laws protecting the disabled do not match those in America, Canada, Europe and elsewhere

Gazette news 

Sovereign Harbour

Beaches Council Tax Wrongs Eastbourne Disability Association

Emails

Estate Rent Charge

Forbes Clan Forbes Clan 2 Integrated Council/NHS General John Forbes

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Pensioners Concerns Property Guidelines Sovereign Ward  

By Keith A. Forbes and his wife Lois Ann Forbes. Both disabled, they live in Eastbourne and write, administer and webmaster this website. Keith, a disabled journalist, activist for the rights of the disabled and elderly and member of relevant mutually linked international organizations, is a member of the UK's The Society of Authors.

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About Us

Acting chairperson. Keith Forbes. Phone 01323 471090. Or write to ESHDA, Flat 18, 16 San Diego Way, Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 5BG, England. editor@sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk. At this time, members meet mostly by email..

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1. Public and private buildings old and new are not legally required to be disabled-accessible

Tower of London, only partially accessible to disabled

For Tower of London, see https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/visit/accessibility/#gs.WuiWzg8 

Here in the UK and locally, there is no legally-required disability-friendly physical equal access under the Equality Act despite its name, to any shops, stores, public buildings historic or otherwise for disabled people, unlike in the USA, Europe, etc where national, regional and local buildings both public and private, services, routes and more must be disabled-accessible. 

(In the USA, see https://www.access-board.gov/attachments/article/1350/adaag.pdf), There, in Canada and much of beyond, it is a legal requirement that all public and private building developments including hotels and those on historical registers must be fully accessible to the registered disabled. UK laws do not have these stringent requirements. They merely require owners of public and private buildings including churches  to make "reasonable changes."  See https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/what-are-the-different-types-of-discrimination/duty-to-make-reasonable-adjustments-for-disabled-people/

Also, UK planning laws are governed mostly by local authorities, with only limited oversight by national legislation and make no formal disability requirements whatsoever in private sector building development or ongoing maintenance or redevelopment. Only Northern Ireland is somewhat more disabled-friendly, for new buildings only. Further, beyond the UK, whenever and wherever any public or private building or civic improvement or town planning works or town or city or other municipal entity occur, when affecting in any way anyone with a certifiable disability, a statutory minimum written notice of at least one calendar month is required. Not so here in the UK where there is no stated minimum-time requirement.

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2. Building Regulations in the UK are not up to international standards for the disabled, elderly and mobility impaired

In the UK, national, regional and local government-regulated private and public-sector owned buildings used for residential accommodation of the disabled, elderly or mobility-impaired do not specifically require accommodation units to be disabled-friendly in accessibility or have lifts (elevators) or banisters on both sides of staircases or above-ground or below-ground garaged or disabled parking based on a certain number of non-disabled car parking spaces, unlike in the European Union, USA and elsewhere. Nor is there any legal requirement that areas outside the buildings that are not assigned car parking spaces be kept clear at all times for emergency vehicles.

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3. London Tube system not completely disabled-friendly

Visitors to the UK who are disabled and UK residents are rarely able to go by tube or subway in London where so few tube stations have lifts and ramps. 

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4. There is no national or local authority Disability identification

disability symbolsIn the USA all who are registered as permanently-disabled carry a state-issued but nationally accepted identification card with their photograph, contact details and type of disability shown on it. (For a sample of what one US state (Illinois) does, see https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/identification-cards-people-disabilities). In the European Union and certain other countries, similar identity cards are issued. Thus they can prove they are disabled and as such are entitled to use disabled facilities and services both nationwide and abroad. No such registration exists at national or county (local authority) level for any UK-based disabled. Which means that when moving house from one UK local authority area to another, or applying for disability or seniors disability benefits or concessions from a new area, the disabled have to reapply each time, using the cumbersome method for each application of sending a copy of the official disability letter issued at national level. Making matters worse is that each local authority has different regulations. There are several private-sector Disabled Identification and/or Access card issuers, each claiming their cards, issued yearly or for three years, at a cost of £10-£15 per person, are accepted by various organizations, but to date they have not said specifically that they are accepted by councils or local authorities in lieu of your official eligibility letter. All the latter will still require you, when applying for applicable benefits or concessions,  to send relevant copies of your eligibility letter. So the private-sector disability identification card may not be of much value-for-money use.

Councils or local authorities, not any UK central government facility, issues all who are disabled and qualified by ownership, occupancy, size and disabled-friendly facilities where they live, with a 10% discount off their council taxes after the premises have been personally inspected by them and found suitable. They also issue when merited Disabled Parking Permits (for a fee). It is hoped - at least by this particular disability-focused entity -  that councils or local authorities will, additionally, be able in future to issue appropriate disability identification when requested, again for a fee, of a type that will show what benefit they are receiving, mobility status and what they may be due, and be recognized internationally, nationally, regionally and locally, to eliminate the need to produce printed physical bulky documentation for each legitimate request.

Such a council or local authority-issued - legal government ID -Disability Identification Card should include:

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5. Blue Badge (Disabled) Parking in Eastbourne is misused, with no Police enforcement

See http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/residents/streets-parking-and-travel/parking-and-car-parks/where-parking/blue-badge/

For disabled individuals who qualify. Issued by local authorities (councils). The UK's Blue Badge Scheme is the equivalent to the USA's (free of charge) Physically Handicapped Parking Permit. A change to national legislation in 2007 allowed Councils to charge up to £20 for issuing or renewing Blue Badges. For those who do not have the appropriate documentation such as the Disability Living Allowance at the Higher Rate, which entitles them automatically to a Disabled Parking Badge (DPB), local Councils now make you go through a procedure get one. 

Disabled ParkingThere are no legally-required Disability/Handicapped Parking areas in any non-public supermarket, shopping malls, residential areas or other non-council parking places.  In the UK, only in an area where charges are made for (public) parking is it an offence, under Section 47 of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 if a person parks in a designated parking space without a blue badge; and then only for parking incorrectly, namely failing to observe "blue badge only" restrictions, not for deliberately depriving a blue badge holder of such spaces. There is no national government or council or local authority ability to impose a fine. Disabled parking bays in all non-public areas are provided on an advisory basis only and rely on the cooperation, but no more, of local non-disabled motorists not to use them. Because they are not legally enforceable there are constant reports of disabled parking badges abuses but nothing is done by local or national authorities or police. It is estimated that for every one able driver who obeys the signs, three do not. Such spaces are deemed to be private, not in the public domain. Shopping centres and their stores hire a private car parking company to monitor parking but clearly this is money wasted because nothing much if at all is ever done to make miscreant motorists pay dearly  it it only very rarely that it will issue a parking summons. Those in the UK who need such disabled parking spaces endure some particularly rough times when they complain to offending motorists, with flagrant deliberate abuse of disabled parking signs when shopping at Aldi, ASDA, Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco and elsewhere in Eastbourne. This totally appalls visiting Americans, Australians, Europeans and others who stay at Eastbourne hotels or in private homes. In their home countries, police are empowered to ticket abusers.

Disabled Parking only signPolice in Eastbourne will not prosecute Disabled Parking Permit violators, unlike abroad. In comparison, here is how New Jersey, USA does it. See http://www.nj.gov/mvc/pdf/Vehicles/DDS-guide.pdf.  Other US states have similar laws. Note the comprehensiveness of New Jersey and other states laws and regulations protecting residents of that state and the fines applicable, a minimum of $250 for the first offence with subsequent offences each $250 and up to 90 days community service for non-compliance, plus with their vehicles taken to a tow-away zone  and the costs that entails. Every US state has something similar. Note also how a qualified disabled person can summon a Police Officer to assist. Registered disabled persons can request law enforcement officers to arrange for the removal to tow-away zones of vehicles unlawfully parked in handicapped parking spaces or zones. Law enforcement officers can enforce handicapped parking on both public and private property. Further, if someone who does not have a disability uses a disabled persons permit or licence plates, or misuses one of someone who has died, the motor vehicle licensing authority that licensed that vehicle can revoke that licence or deny renewal.  Additionally, in the USA, the disabled and/or their accompanying carers (caregivers) who are doing the driving are exempted for up to 24 hours from the issuance of penalties for parking in a  disabled space for up to 24 hours beyond the normal allocated times, providing they have the required placard or license plate.  But none of these apply in the UK. Councils and storeowners with disability parking all have time limits of no more than three hours. Councils should require all UK police law enforcement officers in their jurisdiction, as they do in USA and Canada, to have powers to ticket Blue Badge offenders. Here in the UK, police are not law enforcement officers but act only as community service officers. Interestingly, UK visitors in particular to the USA, Canada, Europe, etc. who are not disabled and believe they can ignore Disabled (Handicapped) Parking regulations there as they do habitually in the UK have been fined heavily and have become a significant source of income to those jurisdictions. In view of their own financial hardships, councils here in the UK should make Blue Badge miscreants pay dearly for each time of an offence. Currently, in the UK a disabled person deprived of a disabled parking space by a miscreant means no or minimal punishment for the scofflaw but persons with dogs visiting graveyards can be fined up to £400 by their council for allowing their dogs to foul a graveyard.

In his letter dated 4 May 2006 addressed to the writer of this website, Bert Massie CBE, then Chairman of the UK's Disability Rights Commission - said in part: "I have experienced the strong enforcement exercised in the USA and Canada which ensures that parking bays for disabled motorists are only occupied by those people for whom they were designed. I would certainly welcome similar legislation in this country. As a wheelchair user myself and a driver I too am constantly frustrated by non-disabled people stealing disabled people's parking bays. The growing anger of disabled people is entirely understandable and I have called on several occasions for stronger law enforcement." 

UK laws to protect the disabled from misuse of signed disabled parking places are minimal when compared to laws in the USA, Canada, European Union and elsewhere.  

Councils should bring penalties for deliberate abuse up to international code, not the pathetic £60 now, if imposed at all. Make it a minimum of £160 - the average in every state of the USA, for first offence, double that for the second, triple plus impoundment of vehicle for the third. Only when scofflaws realize it carries a heavy penalty will they stop.  

Disability Hate Crimes committed by Disability Parking offenders

When abuse - now legislated a disability hate crime - is directed to a disabled person in Eastbourne by someone who is does not have a disabled parking badge yet parks there in defiance of the latter, or for any other disabled-related injustice, that disabled person so abused should make a note of the offending vehicle's license plate number or home or working address and report it by telephone or fax or email to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). See http://cps.gov.uk/. The nearest CPS office is in Hove, Brighton, at City Gate, 185 Dyke Road, Hove. East Sussex BN3 1TL. Tel: 01273 765600. Fax: 01273 765606.

As an example of such a Disability Hate Crime offence note that on 14/02/2017 a man was given a three month community order, after shouting and swearing at a disabled woman, after she challenged him about whether he had a permit to park in a disabled bay in New Ash Green. The victim, who uses two crutches to walk and is registered disabled, saw a car parked in the bay outside a doctor's surgery, but it was not displaying a blue badge parking permit, so she asked the man in the car if he had a permit. Billy Coleman then screamed abuse at the woman, related to her disability, making this a disability hate crime. He drove off, but was tracked down, after the woman remembered his number plate and asked a passer-by to write the details down. Mr. Coleman was also given an electronic curfew between 10:00pm and 6:00am for 48 days and this additional part of the sentence was only imposed because this offence was classed as a disability hate crime. This is known as a sentencing uplift, which increases the sentence for any offence where a defendant showed hostility or an offence is shown to have been motivated by hostility based on age, disability, homophobia and transphobia or racist and/or religious grounds. He was also ordered to pay £310 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. Chief Crown Prosecutor Jaswant Narwal said: "Disability hate crime is an insidious crime, where the victims are often those least able to defend themselves. This is why they are taken so seriously and sentencing uplifts, which recognise the hostility shown by the defendant, are imposed in these cases. Sadly, incidents such as this are not uncommon. For example, in another case recently, a man spat in the face of a disabled man, who was injured while serving with the Royal Air Force, in an attack over disabled parking spaces. These spaces are for reserved those who have been allocated permits because of their disabilities and it is extremely disturbing that we still have people who refuse to accept this and then abuse those who have a right to use them."

Blue Badge Parking for disabled people, House of Commons. See http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN01360/SN01360.pdf 

Blue Badge Disabled Parking Restrictions in rest of UK, getting worse, not better.  More and more councils were allowing Disabled Parking concessions only to those whose tax disc showed their vehicles were in the disabled tax class. But when the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) stopped issuing tax discs  and moved instead to electronic records, many councils are now requiring all Blue Badge holders to bring their vehicle's V5C Registration Certificate (log book) and to register individually with them, for a fee of course. But all Motability customers (including these authors) don't have V5Cs because Motability retains them. Motability will allow its customers to obtain a copy but councils should not be imposing such new restrictions on the disabled. 

Disabled or Health Condition affecting Driving. See https://www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving.

Disabled or healthy, driving after 70. See http://www.ageuk.org.uk/travel-lifestyle/driving/?utm_source=yeu-2017-02-16&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=yeu-eng/?itv=CON-02565406&itc=0&ito=8617

Parking Control, see http://www.ukparkingcontrol.com/disabled-parking 

Parking for Disabled People. See http://www.ukroads.org/webfiles/TAL%205-95%20Parking%20for%20Disabled%20People.pdf 

Providing Accessible Parking.  See Parkingguide(finalwordversion).doc. Also has useful guides provided by the Department of Transport for the number of Disabled Parking Spaces in any one development based on the total number of parking spaces and how they should be signed and bordered. 

UKPC Disabled Parking. See http://www.ukparkingcontrol.com/disabled-parking 

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6. Eastbourne does not allow just-for-you Disabled Parking Bay at your home here in the UK

If your disability means that you need to park close to your home, your local council may not be able to help. Yes, if you live in an area where everybody parks on the street, you can arrange to have a disabled parking space created, but it will not be just for your car. Anyone else who has a disabled parking badge is equally entitled to use it. If you have private parking at your home but can't always access it because of how other people park, you can ask the council to mark the street as an access route. If your disability means you can no longer use the parking facilities on your property, or have a disabled-related difficulty in accessing it in winter or due to stone curbs that impede your path and could be dangerous, or some other impediment, you can apply for a reserved on-street parking space.

Pre-conditions:

However, note that residential disabled car parking spaces provided under the Disabled Car Parking Space scheme are advisory only, and have no legal standing (unlike in the USA, Europe, etc). Their use relies on the good will of people in the community. Be aware this may cost the applicant. In the UK it will not be for your use only. Anyone else who has a Disabled Parking Badge can park there.

Be aware that even you are disabled in accordance with the above criteria but live in a flat or terraced house in a private off-street development where there is a common driveway but no garage and have an assigned regular (not disabled) parking space not wide enough for a disabled person to access or exit safely, you may still not qualify for a disabled parking space. The Council cannot intervene in the matter because here in the UK, unlike in the EU or Canada or USA, etc. there are no national or local authority residential or planning regulations requiring private properties to provide genuinely-disabled persons with disabled parking. Only in public areas or on public streets is this required.

In all the residential areas of Sovereign Harbour there are NO disabled legally enforceable parking spaces. Unfortunately, the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council do not follow the example of European Union, USA and Canadian jurisdictions in requiring developers of private-area properties to have the same disability parking laws and provisions as in public or town or city areas.

Disabled visitors will not find, when on business or vacation anywhere in the UK, disability legal protections equivalent to or better than laws applicable where they come from. The few laws or regulations that do apply are routinely ignored and there is no local or central or national authority to enforce them unless (a) the offences occurred in a public, not private place and (b) the local authority have the power and the will to enforce them vigorously. In nine cases out of 10 this is not possible and will not happen.

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7. Pavement and dropped-kerb parking in Eastbourne not prosecuted by Eastbourne Borough Council, unlike abroad

The disabled who live in the town who use wheelchairs cannot get by cars parked partly on the pavement. And those who obstruct dropped kerbs to prevent wheelchair users from safely crossing a road are similarly not prosecuted. 

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8. Council Taxes (property taxes) exemptions are rare, especially for non-affluent elderly or disabled, unlike in Europe, USA. etc.

In the USA and elsewhere, property tax exemptions or heavy discounts for the disabled seniors, those over 65, are common, see those in Florida at http://floridarevenue.com/dor/property/brochures/pt110.pdf,also Washington State at http://dor.wa.gov/docs/pubs/prop_tax/seniorexempt.pdf and Georgia at http://www.georgialegalaid.org/resource/property-tax-relief-for-seniors-and-veterans as merely three examples of what all American states without exception and their local authorities have long been offering routinely to their senior citizens over 65 mostly when earning under US$50,000 annually, the disabled of any age and military veterans. Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, and European countries have followed the US example. There, they either no longer charge their disabled or over 65 year old owner-residents any council-tax equivalent property taxes if below a certain taxable value or apply a generous discount of up to 50%. In stark contrast, most elderly in the UK who are home owners or renters get no Council Tax relief at all unless they are either earning a means-tested minimum income to qualify or, if (a) disabled and (b) can qualify in one-band facilities requirements where they live.

Cap on USA's Property Tax payments for seniors: See https://www.cga.ct.gov/2003/olrdata/pd/rpt/2003-R-0873.htm

See below for automatic property tax exemptions in USA on a state-by-state basis for disabled military veterans who once served in the US Armed Forces:

 State

 Minimum Disability Requirement 

Alabama A disabled veteran in Alabama may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service and has a net annual income of $12,000 or less. Exemptions differ between the state and counties, click here for detailed information.
Alaska A disabled veteran in Alaska may receive a property tax exemption of up to the first $150,000 of the assessed value of his/her primary residence if the veteran is 50 percent or more disabled as a result of service. The exemption transfers to a surviving spouse if the veteran is deceased from a service connected cause.
Arizona A disabled veteran in Arizona may receive a property tax exemption of $3,000 on his/her primary residence if the total assessed value does not exceed $10,000.
Arkansas A disabled veteran in Arkansas may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is blind in one or both eyes, lost the use of one or more limbs or is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.
California There are two categories for full property tax exemptions. Qualified veterans may receive a basic exemption if the assessed value does not exceed $100,000; or a low income exemption if the assessed value does not exceed $150,000 when the household income does not exceed $40,000. Both categories are for full property tax exemptions.
Colorado A disabled veteran in Colorado may receive a property tax exemption of 50 percent of the first $200,000 of the actual value of his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled. A property tax deferral exists for eligible veterans over the age of 65 and for active duty personnel.
Connecticut All eligible veterans in Connecticut may receive a property tax exemption of $1,500 from the total assessed value of his/her property if the veteran served at least 90 days of active duty during wartime and are honorably discharged. Veterans below a certain income level and/or disabled veterans are eligible for additional exemptions. Contact your municipality’s Tax Assessor for specific details.
Delaware There are currently no state-mandated property tax exemptions for disabled veterans in Delaware.
Florida A disabled veteran in Florida may receive a property tax exemption of $5,000 on any property he/she owns if 10 percent or more disabled from a result of service. If the veteran is 100% disabled as a result from service then he/she may receive a full property tax exemption.
Georgia A disabled veteran in Georgia may receive a property tax exemption of $60,000 or more on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled, depending on a fluctuating index rate set by the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The 2016 amount is $63,780; property in excess of this exemption remains taxable.
Hawaii A disabled veteran in Hawaii may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.
Idaho A disabled veteran in Idaho may receive a property tax exemption up to $1,320 on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 10 percent or more disabled as a result of service and reported total income of $29,640 or less in 2016.
Illinois A qualified disabled veteran in Illinois with a disability of at least 30-50% will receive a $2,500 reduction in EAV; those with 50-70% can receive a $5,000 exemption; and those with 70% or more pay no property tax.
Indiana A disabled veteran in Indiana may receive a property tax exemption of up to $37,440 if the veteran served honorably during any period of wartime and is 100% disabled as a result from service, or is at least 62 years of age with at least a 10% service-connected disability.
Iowa A veteran in Iowa may receive a property tax exemption of $1,852 on his/her primary residence if the veteran served on active duty during a period of war or for a minimum of 18 months during peacetime. A disabled veteran in Iowa may receive a full property tax exemption if the veteran is 100% disabled as a result from service.
Kansas A disabled veteran or qualifying family member in Kansas may receive a property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 50 percent or more disabled as a result of service. The exemption amount is determined based on income.
Kentucky Homeowners 65 and older or totally disabled as determined by a government agency in Kentucky may receive a property tax exemption of up to$36,900 on his/her primary residence.
Louisiana A disabled veteran in Louisiana may receive a property tax exemption of up to the first $150,000 of the assessed value of his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.
Maine A disabled veteran in Maine may receive a property tax exemption of up to $6,000 on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 62 years or older or is 100 percent disabled.
Maryland A disabled veteran in Maryland may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.
Massachusetts A disabled veteran in Massachusetts may receive a property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if all qualifications are met. To qualify, one must be at least 10% disabled, must have lived in MA for 6 months prior to enlisting and have lived in the state for 5 consecutive years. An exemption of $400 may be received if the veteran is 10 percent or more disabled, a Purple Heart Recipient or Gold Star parent. A $750 exemption may be received if the veteran lost the use of one hand, one foot or one eye; $1,250 if the veteran lost the use of both hands, both feet or a combination of the two, or if the veteran is blind in both eyes as a result of service. A veteran may receive a $1,500 exemption if 100 percent disabled as a result of service. The MA Department of Revenue prepared a full overview of local exemptions.
Michigan A disabled veteran in Michigan may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service. The state also offers a homestead tax credit and property tax relief for active military personnel.
Minnesota A disabled veteran in Minnesota may receive a property tax exemption of up to $300,000 on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as result of service. Veterans with a disability rating of 70 percent or more may receive an exemption of up to $150,000. Surviving spouses of military personnel are eligile to receive a $300,000 exclusion.
Mississippi A disabled veteran in Mississippi may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the assessed value is $7,500 or less and the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.
Missouri A disabled veteran in Missouri may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is a former Prisoner of War and is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.
Montana A disabled veteran in Montana may receive a property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service. The exemption amount varies based on income and marital status, as determined by the Montana Department of Revenue.
Nebraska A disabled veteran in Nebraska may receive a property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100% disabled as a result of wartime service.
Nevada A disabled veteran in Nevada may receive a property tax exemption of up to $20,000 of the assessed value of his/her primary residence if the veteran is 60 percent or more disabled as a result of service.
New Hampshire A disabled veteran in New Hampshire may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled, has lost two or more limbs or is blind in both eyes as a result of service. A disabled veteran that is 100 percent disabled may receive a tax credit of $700.
New Jersey A disabled veteran in New Jersey may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of wartime service.
New Mexico A disabled veteran in New Mexico may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of wartime service. Any veteran may qualify for a $4,000 reduction if the veteran served a minimum of 90 days consecutive active duty and was honorably discharged.
New York A disabled veteran in New York may receive one of three different property tax exemptions on his/her primary residence. The exemption amount varies based on type of service, disability as determined by the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs and the value of the exemption as determined by the county or municipality.
North Carolina A disabled veteran in North Carolina may receive a property tax exemption of up to the first $45,000 of the appraised value of his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.
North Dakota A paraplegic disabled veteran in North Dakota may receive a property tax exemption for the first $120,000 on his/her primary residence or if the veteran has been awarded specially adapted housing. A disabled veteran with a rating of 50% or greater may receive an exemption against the first $6,750 of the taxable valuation.
Ohio A disabled veteran in Ohio may receive a property tax exemption up to $50,000 of the market value on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.
Oklahoma A disabled veteran in Oklahoma may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service. The Oklahoma 100% Veteran Disability Tax Exemption applies to sales tax, excise tax and ad valorem tax.
Oregon A disabled veteran or surviving spouse in Oregon may receive a property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 40 percent or more disabled as a result of service. The exemption amount varies annually according to income and increases by 3% each year. The 2016 exemption amounts are $20,158 or $24,191.
Pennsylvania A disabled veteran in Pennsylvania may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of wartime service. To be eligible a veteran must prove financial need, which according to the state is income less than $87,212. Veterans whose income exceeds that value may still be eligible.
Rhode Island A disabled veteran in Rhode Island may receive a property tax exemption on his/her primary residence. The exemption amount varies based on county, the value of the property and the exemption category that the veteran qualifies for. There are seven categories: Veterans’ regular exemption, Unmarried Widow of Qualified Veteran, Totally Disabled Veteran, Partially Disabled Veteran, Gold Star Parents’ exemption, Prisoner of War exemption and Specially Adapted Housing exemption.
South Carolina A disabled veteran in South Carolina may receive a full property tax exemption if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service. The disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs must include one of the following conditions: paraplegia, hemiplegia or quadriplegia, Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). A Homestead exemption is available for all persons over 65 and/or totally and permanently disabled.
South Dakota A disabled veteran in South Dakota may receive a property tax exemption of up to $100,000 on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service. Paraplegic veterans may receive a full propery tax exemption.
Tennessee A disabled veteran in Tennessee may receive a property tax exemption on the first $100,000 of his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled and has lost the use of two or more limbs or is blind in both eyes as a result of service. The exemption amount varies by county.
Texas A totally disabled veteran in Texas may receive a full property tax exemption if the veteran receives 100% disability compensation from the VA and a rating of 100% disabled unemployability. Partially disabled veterans and those over the age of 65 may receive a property tax exemption based on their disability rating and age up to $12,000.
Utah A disabled veteran in Utah may receive a property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 10 percent or more disabled as a result of service. The maximum exemption amount available to qualified veterans is $253,264. Active duty armed forces personnel may receive a full property tax exemption if he/she is deployed out-of-state for military duty.
Vermont A disabled veteran in Vermont may receive a property tax exemption of at least $10,000 on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 50 percent or more disabled as a result of service. The exemption amount varies as each town votes on the amount. The maximum exemption amount allowed by the state is $40,000.
Virginia A disabled veteran in Virginia may receive a full property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.
Washington A disabled veteran in Washington may receive a property tax exemption on his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service. The exemption amount is based on income, as determined by the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans with less than a 100% disability rating may receive a partial exemption.
West Virginia A 100 percent disabled veteran or any veteran over the age of 65 in West Virginia is exempt from paying taxes on the first $20,000 of assessed value on a self-occupied property if the veteran was a resident of the state at the time they enter military service.
Wisconsin A disabled veteran in Wisconsin may receive a property tax credit on their state income tax return for his/her primary residence if the veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service or has a 100 percent SCD rating. The veteran must have lived in WI when they entered into service or for a 5 year period after entering. The exemption amount varies.
Wyoming A veteran in Wyoming may receive a property tax exemption of $3,000 of the assessed value of his/her primary residence if the veteran has lived in the state for 3 or more years and served during a period of war. Disabled veterans are eligible for the same exemption.
District of Columbia A veteran must be over the age of 65 or disabled in order to qualify for a property tax exemption in the District of Columbia. The exemption reduces the veteran’s property tax by 50 percent. To qualify the veteran must own at least 50 percent of the property and annual income cannot exceed $100,000.

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9. Disability Vehicle License plates for disabled car owners are not issued in the UK

In the UK, unfortunately, there are no such. disabled license plates. There are no signs at all on any cars that the driver or a passenger is disabled. 

Arizona disabled license plate California disabled license plate  Missouri disabled license plate  Kentucky diisabled license plate  Arkansas disabled licence plate

A small sampling of US States with special vehicle licence plates for the registered disabled

Every state in the USA issues these. It means that wherever in the USA a disabled vehicle driver may be traveling in his or her vehicle, irrespective of in which state it is registered, it has a specific unique and current disabled registration. They also alert non-disabled drivers to take extra care. Three examples are shown in the links, one  from New York. See http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/Vehicles/HDC_Placard_Application.pdf. From Montana, at https://media.dojmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/MV5.pdf. One from California, at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffvr07. A further five examples are shown in the photos above. In all US states, an application from their disabled residents can cover both a disabled license plate and a parking tag (equivalent to a UK Disabled Parking card).

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10. Disability seating requirements on Eastbourne and other UK buses and trains are not legally enforceable

Problems on buses

Bus priority seating

On a UK bus, some front seats are clearly signed to give priority seating to elderly, sight-impaired or blind, wheelchair-bound and mobility-restricted passengers. But this is often ignored, particularly when in the afternoons when regularly-scheduled buses stop near schools after 3 pm. Until recently, despite signage directed specifically to help wheel-chair bound passengers, mothers with infants in prams who occupy the wheelchair space can refuse to move. The driver was not able to order her to make way for the wheelchair-bound and the disabled had to wait for another bus. A Supreme Court hearing on this held on 18 January 2017 resulted in the wheelchair user winning his case. See https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-work/news/wheelchair-spaces-buses-must-be-priority-court-rules  It is hoped this will lead to a requirement by the bus company to the driver to insist the pram user move or if not he will stop the bus until she does so. This recent court case resulted in only a partial victory for the disabled bus user. Why because the law still does not make it clear that a wheel chair user always has priority, the bus driver must ask the offending pram user to move and she must do so by law, as is required abroad.

Disabled on Eastbourne buses. How Stagecoach may be able to help, see https://www.stagecoachbus.com/help-and-contact/national/i-m-disabled-how-do-i-find-out-if-i-can-use-the-bus

Problems on trains

The sign below-right now routinely appears on Britain's trains. But it is often ignored by able public transport users including mothers and fathers accompanying young children.  

Local disability groups should now be asking their local train companies if, given the recent Supreme Court ruling relating to wheelchairs on buses (see above) finally getting some priority, the presently non-enforceable Priority Seating referred to below should now be legislated as enforceable. 

train services Disability seating sign

Photo, right: Southern Railway train signage for the disabled on certain seats

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11. Disabled Rooms at Eastbourne Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs are not disabled-friendly by international standards

Their websites claim many have accessible rooms, the British and European way of saying they are for the disabled/physically handicapped/challenged. They may be by UK standards but rarely do they meet USA ADA-compliant requirements. Unfortunately, here in the UK, unlike in USA, Canada, Europe etc. visitors who are disabled/will need to confirm in advance directly with a hotel that it has the kind of  accessibility they need.

On their websites, if they offer accessible rooms at all for the disabled, they do not show on which floor they are located, or what emergency measures are in place if lifts (elevators) are not working in the event of an emergency, when accessible rooms are not on the ground floor. They do not always state that some properties do not have lifts or elevators, as they should because some walking disabled may not be able to use a staircase or stairs, especially if they do not have banisters on both sides. Nor do they always state they also have Disabled Parking facilities. There are no laws requiring them to do so, nor are there any that specify what general criteria they must meet in different types of disablement, such as wheelchair bound or able to use only a modified wet-room shower, not a bath with a shower above it that you have to step over to get in and out. Most UK properties have no disabled-friendly walk-in  wet rooms. Other hotels claim they are disability friendly but their disabled rooms often have bathrooms with standard-length tubs not even supplied automatically with a safety tub mat. Unfortunately for both UK hotels, other accommodation and the disabled, when a person who is not really functionally disabled asks for a disabled room and one is available out of a very limited number, the hotels cannot refuse. Such a disabled room is often no longer available to a severely disabled guest. Tthere are no laws in Britain that require a hotel to ask a guest to show appropriate disability identification, as there is in the USA and elsewhere.

If when you get to a hotel, bring your valid Disabled Parking Card and ask to park in a disabled Parking area. If you cannot because someone else who does not have such a badge has parked there, lodge a complaint. It keeps a record of all cars parked at the hotel. If it will not contact the owner to move the car, then report it to an organization (like this one) which will do something about it. Merely complaining to your nearest (non-activist) disability group is not enough, most British disability groups will not gripe publicly or try to take it further for fear of losing their local council-funded support or other local funding. 

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12. Disabled access holidays and limitations on cruises that cruise companies or travel agents don't tell you

UK-based travel agents don't tell you, but should be required to, that if you are disabled in a wheelchair or using crutches or walking sticks or walkers (Zimmer frames) and/or are  otherwise in any way mobility-impaired, you will encounter some substantial difficulties both on and off your cruise ship (on shore excursions). Here are the main problems:

Disabled Facilities on Cruise Ships

Unfortunately, despite what some disability-friendly holiday websites may claim, these authors know from personal experience that satisfactory disabled access holidays, while quite readily available in Europe, are not so in Bermuda, the Caribbean and elsewhere. In most ports of the Caribbean, disabled passengers in wheelchairs on cruise ships or traveling independently will not be able to go ashore and then take local mass transit (public transportation) buses or taxis or ferries. Only in the American ports of Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands where the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies will the latter be routinely available.

cruise ship

Cruise ships sailing to and from from US ports are required by US laws have between 15 and 25 disabled cabins and staterooms, and to make them more roomy than for the non-disabled. cruise lines. In the USA, they are required by ADA regulations to ensure allow persons who are not disabled do not occupy staterooms intended solely for the disabled and their caregivers or carers. (Disabled persons, if denied a cabin specifically for the disabled, under American laws have specific legal remedies if such cabins are instead given by cruise ship operators to persons not officially registered as disabled and don't have appropriate disability and ID documentation to prove it). No such regulations apply under UK law.

River cruising

(From the personal experiences of these disabled authors).

While river cruising is an easy and wonderful but not-cheap way to see lots of places, it is not ideal for any disabled or other passengers with mobility problems, for several important reasons. Most river boats do not have cabin and bathroom doors adapted (made extra-wide to allow access) for wheelchair users and some don't have lifts (elevators). If they do, the lifts may not go to all levels. Circular staircases lead to the least expensive cabins and are unable to be accessed by wheelchairs. Mobility scooters on board are neither possible nor practical. Getting on and off the vessel, especially for those with a balance problem, may be difficult. There are often steps up and down to the docks. Sightseeing in old towns with cobbled streets may be a problem. Not all places you visit will be wheel-chair friendly. Buses you take for shore excursions probably won't be.

For elderly, disabled or mobility-impaired passengers on riverboats there can be other hazards, again of the types not found on ocean-going cruise ships all of which have elevators going up and down to all floors.  Some riverside towns and cities have only a limited number of riverboat moorings. As a result, riverboats often have to go alongside each other. With their different lengths, sizes and gangplank placements, it is not an easy matter to negotiate them to get ashore, especially for the elderly and disabled or the mobility-restricted. Your riverboat cruise staff will ask you to go outside the ship, climb up the narrow staircase, go to the other side of the ship, go down that side’s narrow staircase, then cross over to another ship and do the same again. This poses unacceptable risks and dangers to the disabled, mobility-impaired and elderly passengers on riverboats.  

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13. Eastbourne & other UK theatres accessibility not enforced under UK laws

In Eastbourne see Congress Theatre, Devonshire Park Theatre, Winter Garden.

 Disabled visitors and newcomers planning to attend a performance should first discuss their needs and any special requirements with the Box Office staff when booking tickets. They will try to ensure disabled theatre-goers are offered the most appropriate seats. The Congress Theatre offers an additional service for any group bookings i.e. residential homes, schools etc. who would benefit from arriving early. Please contact the theatre at 01323 415528  in advance to arrange for a Support Usher to welcome the group before everyone else. Leave a message for the Duty Manager who will make contact as soon as possible. At the Devonshire Park Theatre, entrance for wheelchairs users is to the right of the building. Please make yourself known to a member of the front of house team who will escort theatre-goers to this entrance. For ease of access, if entering the building through this door, it is suggested disabled visitors and their essential companions if also present purchase their tickets on this side of the auditorium, for seats number 1 onwards. There is also an Essential Companion scheme. Application forms are available from box office by calling 01323 412000 or by downloading the Essential Companion Scheme Application Form.

Facilities available include:
• Wheelchair accessible toilet
• Blue Badge parking (three or more spaces, not unlimited) near to venues
• Infrared Hearing System (Congress and Devonshire Park Theatre)
• Induction Loop System (Winter Garden and Devonshire Park Theatre)
• Patron Lift (Congress Theatre and Winter Garden)
• Guide Dogs welcome
• Orientation tours available on request
• Brochures available in audio format, request copy from box office on 01323 412000 or email boxoffice@eastbourne.gov.uk
• Audio Description provided at the Devonshire Park Theatre by the Friends of the Devonshire Park Theatre. Available Friday evenings and Saturday matinees of week-long productions.

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14. Eastbourne town centre NCP multi-floor parking does not offer lower pricing for disabled, unlike European and North American facilities

Eastbourne, despite its declarations of being disabled-friendly in so many ways. is totally unlike towns in the European Union, Canada, USA, etc. where free disabled parking is routinely offered in their city or town centre multi-storey parking centres.  In sad contrast, Eastbourne does not offer this. It has disabled parking spaces with a sign saying they are for the disabled only but there are no discounts or free parking for disabled drivers. Deemed a private facility under UK law it is also not regulated for its disabled parking spaces.

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AA Disabled Travellers Guide

See https://www.theaa.com/staticdocs/pdf/services/disabled_travellers_guide.pdf. Especially useful for disabled travellers from the UK going to Europe and beyond. It also makes clear that certain equipment in the UK, such as Radar keys for toilets, cannot be used in Europe or beyond. 

Academic Network of European Disability Experts (ANED)

See http://www.disability-europe.net/ 

Accessibility for the Disabled

See http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/designm/intro.htm

A (comparative) Guide to US Disability Laws and Services

See https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm#anchor64645

ADA National Network

See https://adata.org/faq/what-kind-law-ada To compare with UK laws for the disabled.

Age Concern Eastbourne

See http://www.ageconcerneastbourne.org.uk/. Members include disabled residents.

Applying for an Eastbourne Disabled Facilities Grant

See http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/residents/housing/private-housing/assistance-grants/disabled-facilities-grant/ 

Benefit Answers

See http://www.benefitanswers.co.uk/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=pip%20benefit&utm_campaign=Generic 

Benefits for people who are sick or disabled

See https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/benefits-for-people-who-are-sick-or-disabled/ 

Building for Equality: Disability and the Built Environment

See https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmwomeq/631/63102.htm 

Building for Equality

Government must lead the charge. See https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/news-parliament-2015/disability-and-built-environment-report-published-16-17/ 

Care for the Carers

See http://cftc.org.uk/

Cinema free tickets for carers of registered disabled

Disability awareness

A valuable service for the disabled and their carers, with a national card that can verify that if the holder is verified as severely disabled and by paying a small annual fee can have accompanying carer entitled to a free cinema ticket. The cardholder is the person requiring assistance, not the carer. See Cinema Exhibitors' Association Card in the list of disabled or disabled-friendly organizations below. Phone 0845 123 1297. Email info@ceacard.co.uk. To qualify, you need to complete CEA Card Application form with surname, house name/number, street name, town/city, county, postcode, telephone; include passport-size photo; send a copy of proof of eligibility such as DLA or Attendance Allowance or equivalent or registration as a blind person; enclose payment, cheque for £5.50 payable to The Card Network; allow 3 weeks for processing.

Citizens Advice, Eastbourne

See http://www.eastbournecab.co.uk/

Concessionary Travel in Eastbourne for disabled and over 60s

See https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/national/concessionary-travel

Council Taxes Disability One-band deduction

Disabled resident

See http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/residents/council-tax/discounts-exemptions-and-disregards/relief/

Good but subject to certain conditions. Providing the disabled person qualifies and the house or flat has the rooms to qualify. It is required under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and its successor the Equality Act 2010 for councils to assist the disabled who qualify and reduce council tax banding for those with a permanent disability. It applies to only one place, the sole residence of disabled applicants. They should apply promptly. With no national registration methodology, disabled persons who move from one local authority jurisdiction to another and have previously had a one band council tax banding for the disabled, don't qualify in the new local authority until they apply and meet the same criteria. Councils or their appointed agents will visit the property concerned to confirm eligibility. 

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at United Nations

See https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html 

Disability Discrimination - what it means

See https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/disability-discrimination 

Disability Exclusion and Debt Problems

See https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/discrimination-because-of-disability/disability-discrimination-and-debt-problems/

Disability Living Allowance and PIP for working age disabled

See https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmworpen/1493/1493.pdf

Disability Grants and Magazines

Disabled assistance at British Airports, often misused

A nice feature, handled very well by kind and sympathetic handlers at all UK and many overseas airports. Incredibly useful to the genuinely disabled, thanks mostly to European not UK disability laws. Most large UK airports now have special seating areas clearly marked for disabled-only. Unfortunately, because they are not completely blocked off from the general public, the disabled area at London Gatwick's North and South Terminals are taken advantage of by many non-disabled, some of whom wander into the disabled area to view the flight departure signs or to recharge their mobile phones or laptops or tablets or just to sit in more peace and quiet than on the non-disabled seating areas. Other misuse by the non-disabled is most obviously from Jamaicans flying back home, laden down with parcels but not needing airline passenger special assistance in other ways. It ought to be a legal requirement that only passengers who have specifically asked for such assistance, are given and wear the appropriate flashing cord around wear neck for when they are collected as when their flight is announced, should be allowed to sit there.

airport disabled assistance airport disabled seating 2

airport toilet sign for disabledairport reserved seating for disabled

Disabled Insurance Tax exemption

For basic details, see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/insurance-premium-tax-increase-to-standard-rate/insurance-premium-tax-increase-to-standard-rate and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-ipt-1-insurance-premium-tax/notice-ipt1-insurance-premium-tax.  It currently amounts to over 12 percent of all insurance premiums. Presently, the only known exemption for the disabled is exemption from the insurance tax for Motability customers only. As there has long been disabled VAT exemption (see below),  surely this should apply too?

Disabled Parking abroad

Parking arrangements for disabled people vary a great deal around the world, but in the EU - which the UK will be leaving by 2019 - the rules are now quite standardized. You can now use a blue badge in most EU countries, not always at no cost.. Your travel agent should be able to help you clarify the rules for particular destinations. Blue badges are also accepted in some countries outside the EU. Some American states now recognise them, but as a rule it is best to apply for a temporary visitor's disabled access permit in each state you intend to visit. Websites to consult include http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/files/parking_card_leaflet_en.pdf and http://www.focusondisability.org.uk/reciprocal-park-europe.html

Disabled VAT exemption for certain items or work

VAT relief for Disabled People. See https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419404/Disabled_Helpsheet__Construction_-final__2_.pdf. and https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/vat-reliefs-for-disabled-and-older-people for what qualifies and what does not. Be sure to ask if the supplier will offer VAT-free billing if the item qualifies. when merited.

Eastbourne & Sovereign Harbour Disability Association (SHDA)

Eastbourne Borough Council's Disability Involvement Group (DIG) 

See http://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/community/eastbourne-disability-involvement-group/  kindly shows a link to us and we reciprocate it gladly.  

Eastbourne Hospitals

Provided by the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Hospitals are Eastbourne District General Hospital at http://www.esht.nhs.uk/hospitals/eastbournedgh/ , King's Drive, Eastbourne BN21 2UD. Phone 01323 417400 and Conquest Hospital, St. Leonard's, Hastings,see http://www.esht.nhs.uk/hospitals/conquest/. For car parking at Eastbourne District General Hospital see http://www.myhospitalmap.org.uk/Eastbourne/CarParkingatEastbourneDistrictGeneralHospital.aspx. Disabled Parking is shown.    

Eastbourne District Hospital

Eastbourne District General Hospital

Eastbourne Mencap

Learning disabilities. 

Eastbourne Residents Leisure Card

See http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/residents/leisure-and-events/residents-card/

Eastbourne Seniors Forum

See http://www.esf-online.org/index.html

Eastbourne Shopmobility

See http://eastbourneshopmobility.org.uk/

East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre

See http://www.eshrc.org.uk/ 

EU Disability Card

See http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1139

European Commission, Persons with Disabilities

See http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1137 

European Disability Forum and European Disability Strategy 2020

See 

European Disability Policies and their Coordination

See https://rm.coe.int/16800cde11 

European Disabled Toilet Key

See http://www.messefrankfurt.com/frankfurt/en/besucher/anreise_und_aufenthalt/barrierefreier_zugang/europa_wc-schluessel.html?nc. Or see http://www.proinfirmis.ch/index.php?id=2670

The UK's Radar key will not work anywhere in Europe, the EuroKey should be obtained. 

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

European Health Insurance Cardtravel insuranceAs UK residents, if you've not already signed up for one and want to holiday in Europe, you'll need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It entitles you to free or reduced-cost health care if you get ill or have an accident in any European Union country. You will need to complete the online form (your card will be delivered in seven days) or by calling 0845 606 2030. Every family member needs a separate card. Before you apply, you need to have the name, date of birth and NHS or national insurance (NI) number of everyone you are applying for.

The EHIC lasts for 3-5 years and allows UK nationals resident in the UK, while they still can (until Brexit ends the arangement in 2019) to receive free or reduced-cost emergency healthcare when visiting European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Department of Health website explains where the EHIC is valid. The treatment will be free or at a reduced cost, but private treatment is not usually covered. Should you need to make a claim once you return to the UK call the Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle), 0191 218 1999 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm). Renew your EHIC for free directly at www.nhs.uk/ehic. If you use an unofficial website you may have to pay.

It is also important to make sure you have private health insurance. This is because the EHIC will not cover all the costs of your treatment (for example, will not cover your costs if you are treated by any cruise ship or riverboat medical staff or anyone they have to call) and never covers the cost of getting you home (repatriation) if you are seriously ill. Supplementary, more inclusive EHIC coverage is available. If you are going to a non-European country, only very few countries offer any similar arrangement. For more information on the EHIC see the Department of Health's advice for travellers or call the EHIC Enquiries Line on 0845 605 0707. 

Famous People with Disabilities

See https://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/article_0060.shtml

Harbour Medical Practice Disabled Access

See http://www.harbourmedicalpractice.co.uk/info.aspx?p=4 

Hearing Link

See https://www.hearinglink.org/. Charity for those with hearing loss. 

Livability

See https://www.livability.org.uk/friendship-really-matters-creating-welcome-church-learning-disabilities/ 

Looking for Work if Disabled

See https://www.gov.uk/looking-for-work-if-disabled/looking-for-a-job

Motability

A very good, albeit not cheap service for the disabled, more generous in some respects than leasing arrangements directly with manufacturers. Presently, only Motability customers, not those using other forms of car financing, get exemption from the insurance tax referred to above. Motability dealers in Sussex include, see http://www.motabilitylifestyle.co.uk/classifieds/motability-car-dealers/sussex/eastbourne/dealers.htm 

National Accessibility Standards in Europe

See BlobServlet-docId=14840&langId=en. See from the diagrams further on how they cover far more areas than in the UK, also look at private housing and facilities not just public facilities.

Nationwide Disabled Access Register

See http://www.directenquiries.com/disabledaccess.aspx

Orange Badge Disability Solutions

See http://www.orangebadge.co.uk/bathroom-solutions/level-access-showrooms-wet-rooms/ . Has a showroom in Lewes, installs showers for disabled, etc.

Office for Disability Issues, Government, UK

See Office for Disability Issues, UK Government, see https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-for-disability-issues

Parkinson's UK Eastbourne Branch

See https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/local-support-groups/regions/south-east-england/eastbourne-branch 

Scope about disability

See https://www.scope.org.uk/support/disabled-people/money/mortgages-hold 

Shinewater Court, Eastbourne

See http://www.thedtgroup.org/physical-disabilities/our-services/shinewater-court/ 

Sovereign Centre, Eastbourne

Not part of Sovereign Harbour but near it. See present facility at eastbourneleisurecentres.com/SOVEREIGN_CENTRE/. As noted from the presentation at the 25th February 2017 meeting of the Eastbourne Borough Council-led Disability Access Group (DIG) by the developers, a brand-new, fully disabled-accessible Council-funded but to be privately managed Sovereign Centre is to be built by 2018 adjacent to the present facility. Its new disability-friendly features will include pools with ramps, lifts, nine disabled parking bays, mobility scooter bays, appropriately colored signage to assist the deaf, blind and more. For more details of where disability needs have been met to date, see newEastbourneLeisureCentre.pdf. It is hoped that it will also be possible at the new facility to charge the mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs of the disabled, so that they will be able if they wish to either proceed to the fabulous Sovereign Harbour walkways described below a mile or so away or return to Eastbourne.

Sovereign Harbour accessibility

For a Sovereign Harbour Residents Association Map, see http://www.shra.co.uk/maps.html

Mobility scooter and wheelchair access. Sovereign Harbour is far and away the nicest, flattest and most scenic accessible place in Eastbourne for easy and lots of mobility scooter and wheelchair access for the disabled. Many people who live in Eastbourne, including the disabled, are not yet aware of this. Not yet on any Eastbourne area maps is the fact that four of the five harbours within the Sovereign Harbour group are completely accessible, not via the public Atlantic Drive and Pacific Drive roads but  via their flat scenic brick pathways (walkways) immediately adjacent to their harbours, a wonderful surprise for the disabled in manual or electric wheelchairs, adapted cycles, small mobility scooters and the mobility-impaired who can walk a little unaided. The fifth, Sovereign Harbour North, is similarly accessible for about half its length. For new disabled residents and visitors it is possible, if their disability vehicles do not need charging en route, to travel the entire two-mile route from the Eastbourne town centre to Sovereign Harbour complex. See below some of the nice features of the harbour areas.

Sovereign Harbour mobility path

Sovereign Harbour brick walkway

Sovereign Harbour flat brick pathway going around nearly all the five harbours, perfect for mobility scooters. Photos above cc Keith and Lois Forbes.

Sovereign Harbour Disabled Parking concerns

Presently, in the Sovereign Harbour retail areas, Disabled Parking Spaces available are at the ASDA/Crumbles retail centre (about 60 in total) and the Waterfront car park (20).. At ASDA/The Crumbles most of these spaces are close to shops and ASDA has to be complemented for having the largest number seen to date at any supermarket shopping centre in the UK. At  the Waterfront complex, all 20 Disabled Parking spaces, despite being on the western end, closest to restaurants, shops and services are at least 150 yards away from them..

In the residential areas, the complete lack of properly signed and appropriately bordered legally unenforceable disabled parking nearly everywhere is a major problem to all the residents who are disabled among its 7,500 residents.. 

The complete lack of any disabled parking spaces at any of the units of flats in the Sovereign Harbour area in their below-building or adjacent parking areas is one major problem. Another is that some cars are parked so badly that they impede and slow or halt the progress of emergency vehicles to aid the disabled.. This lack of residential disabled parking was never addressed in the Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document of February 2013. Nowhere in its content does it mention the need for disabled parking areas for disabled residents, or the fact that the latter, because of their disability, need wider parking spaces than the norm. The obligations of individual developers to provide not only adequately sized and enough parking spaces for the able-bodied but sufficient wider international-standard Disabled Parking spaces as well for the registered disabled, is not specified. Instead, what clearly seems to have happened is that developers have crammed as many parking spaces as they can into their developments, many of which are so small they cannot easily accept longer and wider cars of today, and with none of the undercroft and only one (see photo above, which partially but not wholly meets the standard) having wider and properly disability-marked Disability Parking available. 

When the superb The Waterfront complex (see eastbourneharbour.com) describes Sovereign Harbour in which it is located as "Eastbourne's international experience" and the entire harbour area has street and quay names from prominent places around the world, that "international experience" cachet should surely be followed by developers in creating parking and disabled parking to international standards in residential areas. This should be a requirement of the planning departments of local-authority councils instead of it being left solely to developers because their developments are not on public property. It has long been required and legislated internationally by planning departments of local authorities that these provisions be enacted on both public and private properties.

Sovereign Swimming Club for the disabled

Every Sunday afternoon at Motcombe Pool.

Special Olympics, Eastbourne

See .specialolympicseastbourne.org.uk/ 

Sussex Association for Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus (SASBA)

See sasbah.org.uk. 

Sussex Yacht Club Sailability for the disabled

See sussexyachtclub.org.uk/sailability 

Tax Credits Problems

See http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2015/hmrc-concentrix-report-published-16-17/ 

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Written, administered and web-mastered by

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Keith A. Forbes and Lois A Forbes at editor@sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk  
© 2018. Revised: November 10, 2018