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Lupus is an incurable immune system illness, probably genetic in origin and mainly suffered by females. It can affect any part of the body and that's the danger.

Lyn has suffered from Lupus for thirty-five years. As we are in Lupus Awareness Month, we would like to share her story.

October 03, 2019 by The Able Label Team
VAT Exempt icon


We are so happy that we can make beautiful, accessible clothes. But, we also like to shout about the fact we can offer VAT relief on the majority of them too. This is because they have been specifically designed to help make dressing easier.

We often get asked how does it work? Am I eligible, is my relative eligible? So we have put together this guide to make it all a little clearer.

VAT exemption logo from HMRC


We have had several people call us for clarification about VAT exemption and whether it applies to them. Others have simply put through orders oblivious to the fact that they may be eligible for VAT exemption on The Able Label clothing. 


We therefore wanted to help explain VAT exemption on our clothes to help with future orders. 


What is VAT exemption?

VAT is a tax that you pay when you buy goods and services as a consumer within the European Union, including the UK. 20% is the standard rate for VAT. H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) states that “equipment that has been designed solely for people with a disability, chronic or terminal illness or on the adaptation of equipment so they can use it can be VAT exempt”.  This means that they pay the retail price excluding VAT. 


Who is entitled to VAT exemption?

As per HMRC wording, “people with a disability, chronic or terminal illness” can be VAT exempt. Chronically sick means that you have an illness that is likely to last a long time and disabled means substantially and permanently handicapped by illness or injury. Some disabilities covered by this include arthritis, diabetes, lupus, angina, parkinson’s, stroke, dementia, fibromyalgia, MS and ME.


Please be aware that VAT exemption does not apply to a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb. 


The items must not be purchased for the general use of other able-bodied persons, they have to be for the own ‘personal and domestic use’ of the disabled individual.


What items are VAT exempt?

Only products shown with "excl VAT" prices are available for purchase with VAT exemption.


How do I claim?

To claim VAT exemption when placing an order is simple. When you are at checkout follow these steps:



1. Tick the box “I qualify for VAT Exemption”.

2. You will then be prompted to create an account by clicking on the “Create an Account” link. 

3. Complete details fully for all boxes to set up an account, and tick the button to show that you do qualify for VAT Exemption. Go on to complete the extra details fully for the VAT Exempt claimant and then click ‘Create’

4. Your account has now been created so click ‘Take me to my Cart’ to proceed  with the order.

5. For future orders, log in and VAT exemption will automatically be applied.



What HMRC require

The Government requires that you fill in a simple declaration setting out the nature of your disability and/or chronic or terminal illness. We are required to retain a copy of your declaration and it may be passed to HMRC as evidence of your eligibility. 


The Able Label require no proof of your disability or a doctor’s letter, however you need to remember that it is an offence to falsely claim that you or someone you are buying for is eligible for VAT exemption under the guidelines.


What to do now?

If after reading this guide you are still unsure if you or the person you are buying for qualifies for VAT exemption then please read the HMRC guide, consult your doctor for clarification or email us at where we will be happy to help.



We have a family friend who has suffered from Lupus for thirty-five years. As we are in Lupus Awareness Month, we would like to share her story.

Initially she felt very tired all the time. She had two sons under five and was expecting her third son when the family situation changed and she was left on her own to cope with three sons. Unlike the eldest two sons her youngest son wouldn’t settle and it was five months before he slept through the night. Naturally she felt tired even after sleep and although she visited the GP several times, he just said it was natural to feel tired with three small children.

Eventually she arranged to have a blood test, which showed anaemia, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, although it took another ten years before ITP (connection between rheumatoid arthritis, lupus & platelets) was diagnosed.

Initially she was treated at St Thomas’s Hospital but saw patients in wheelchairs & with disabled stickers & found it too much so she transferred to her local Hospital. She was given various drugs but they proved unsuccessful. Gold injections were tried but they gave kidney problems so the Gold injections were stopped. A Locum Doctor from St Georges’s Hospital, Tooting, thought that having her spleen out would help the platelet problem but the removal of her spleen made no difference. It was decided to try Retixamab, a chemotherapy drug and she has been receiving infusions every 6 months in 2 fortnightly, 5 hourly sessions for the past few years. At last, this treatment has on the whole been successful.

Lupus brings with it many related difficulties. Her Autoimmune system is damaged and her platelet levels have been as low as 1. Her joints become very stiff, especially coming up to an infusion of Retixamab. She has Thyroid problems, suffers from migraines and is prone to kidney infections and pleurisy.

She is also however, the most positive and up beat person we know. Recently retired at 67 after a long career supporting young children, her work ethic was excellent. She was a real ‘Girl Friday’ willing to help with any task in a cheerful manner. She made cakes for staff every Monday morning and would welcome visitors with a tea or coffee, despite being unwell or in pain. She is still very hard working, gardening, decorating, sewing, etc. She is always ready to help people and is a real inspiration to others with the belief you only get out what you put in. Living with lupus may not always be easy but if you have the right attitude, you can achieve anything.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by lupus, let us know, we would love to hear your story.

For more information on lupus, including symptoms, triggers and some pointers, take a look at Lupus UK’s website.

December 29, 2016 by The Able Label Team