Motability Car Scheme

Although often unable drive, many disabled people rely upon car journeys in order to live their lives day to day. Public transport as a wheelchair user or someone with mobility problems can be a nightmare, and even for those who are not easily fatigued can take up a lot of time and energy both for the disabled person and/or their carer. It helps, therefore, that in the UK many disabled people are eligible to take part in the the Motability car scheme allowing them to rent a car or mobility scooter for a number of years at rates far below the market.  Moreover, they provide a separate grant for adapting a car (whether obtained through the scheme or separately) in order to help reduce what is often a large burden on the finances of disabled people.

If you are a disabled person who is unable to drive then you may be allowed to apply for a Motability car to be driven by two people that you nominate during the application process. Those who care for a disabled child or children may also be able to apply on their behalf, and those who have no need of a car can apply for a mobility scooter or a wheelchair, a major benefit of getting your wheelchair through Motability being that insurance and servicing is included in the price.

Eligibility is mainly decided on the basis of the allowances that you already receive from the government. Only those receiving the highest rate of the mobility component of DLA (Disability Living Allowance) or who are receiving the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement will be considered eligible for Motability care hire. You can only apply if you have 12 months left of your DLA and can only keep the car for as long as you keep your allowance, renewing it as needs be.

After the lease is over you will be asked to return the car to Motability and permitted to apply for another lease should you wish.

Once you are deemed eligible you will be permitted to rent a car for a minimum period of three years for a price that will include road insurance, MOTs and breakdown cover. The most important cost to which Motability do not contribute is the cost of any adaptions to the car that your disability makes necessary. These will need to be funded by you unless you apply for and receive a separate grant, either from Motability or the governments Specialised Vehicle Funds to pay for them.

Overall, the Motability car scheme is accessible only to those small percentage of people with mobility problems who qualify for the highest level of DLA, but for those who do qualify it provides a crucial lifeline and means that many people who desperately need the benefits of a car but cannot afford them do not have to go without. The main hidden cost is the cost of adaptations and even that is covered by a separate grant for many of the people who need it.