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Home Insights & Advice What is the UK Motability Scheme and how do I qualify?

What is the UK Motability Scheme and how do I qualify?

by John Saunders

Since its inception in 1978, the Motability Scheme has helped millions of people across Britain who experience mobility issues with access to specially adapted vehicles that they can use in their day-to-day lives.

More than 600,000 currently use the scheme in Britain. As recipients they exchange mobility allowances from the government to lease a motability car, wheelchair accessible vehicle, a mobility scooter, or a powered wheelchair.

How do I qualify?

It’s straightforward to find out if you qualify for Motability. If you are currently receiving any of the following allowances and have at least 12 months remaining as a recipient, you are eligible for the Motability scheme:

  • Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA)
  • Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP)
  • War Pensioners Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

If you are currently the recipient of any of these payment allowances, you are eligible to join the Motability scheme and start applying for assisted transport like a car or mobility scooter. If you are not sure if you’re eligible, you can use the ‘Eligibility Checker’ on the Motability website to find out.

How does Motability work?

The Motability Scheme simply exchanges the cash allowances you receive as part of mobility benefits from the Government to lease mobility equipment and vehicles. The motability dealers who provide the lease are in turn paid directly by the Department for Work and Pensions who deduct the cost from your monthly allowance.

A standard lease will typically last anywhere between three to five years and during this time you won’t have to worry about the managing or maintenance of the vehicle. Insurance, breakdown cover and vehicle tax is all included in the cost of a motability lease, as will some adaptations that are made to your vehicle.

Depending on the vehicle you lease, you may be required to pay an advanced payment. This will especially be the case for more expensive motability cars, but you are able to claim for extra financial help from the Motability charity to support financing this cost.

You can choose what to spend your mobility allowance on. If you tend to travel short distances, you might be better off leasing a mobility scooter that you can use for short trips. On the other hand, if you need to travel long distances then a motability car is more likely to be a suited option.

You can consider motability options in line with alternatives like private taxis and charitable services. This could be a better use of your monthly allowance in the long term if you don’t think you will get the use out of a car or scooter.

Getting a Motability Vehicle

You’ll need evidence that you are eligible for the scheme when signing for a motability lease. This can be a driving license or passport and you’ll also need a certificate of entitlement from the Department of Work and Pensions.

There a specialised motability dealers across the UK for motability cars, wheelchair access vehicles, and motorised scooters and wheelchairs. They can support you with finding mobility equipment and help choose a vehicle with the appropriate adaptations.

You can now get motability models from the majority of major car brands, meaning you can drive the latest models from the likes of Volvo, Ford and Peugeot with mobility adaptions for help with access, stowage, seating and physical driving.

Wheelchair access vehicles will have rear doors to assist access for wheelchair users and motability recipients can choose 2 people to drive the vehicle on their behalf.

It’s likely the motability showroom will ask you to carry out a questionnaire that will assess exactly what you need from a vehicle. It does help doing your research before though and finding a model you would be comfortable driving in and you can sum up your options with the help of a specialist.

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