Advice: Am I entitled to a Motability car?

Pat Hutchinson MBE.
Pat Hutchinson MBE.

By Pat Hutchinson MBE, District Manager, Newtownabbey CAB

Q: I am 58 and I have severe arthritis and have walking difficulties. I have been awarded high rate mobility on DLA. I need a car to get around and I heard I can get a car through the Motability Scheme; is that true?

A: The Motability Scheme gives people with disabilities the opportunity to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair at an affordable price.

Eligibility: The Motability Scheme can help you with leasing a car if you’re getting the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement, Armed Forces Independence Payment or the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

You can apply if you have 12 months or more of your Disability Living Allowance ‘award’ remaining. If your award is not renewed during the full length of your chosen scheme, your car, powered wheelchair or scooter will need to be returned.

Even if you do not drive yourself, you can apply for a car as a passenger and propose two other people as your drivers.

You can also apply for a car on behalf of a child aged three or over who is entitled to the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.

Cars and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs): You can lease a new car supplied by a Motability-accredited dealer for at least three years. Insurance, routine servicing and breakdown assistance are included. A wide range of adaptations are also available. You may need to pay for the fitting and removal of any adaptations.

You can choose to pay your total weekly allowance or part of your weekly allowance to lease a vehicle. This will depend on the model you choose. For more expensive vehicles, you will need to top-up your allowance by paying an Advance Payment (AP).

Up to two named drivers are included as part of the lease, allowing non-drivers to join the Scheme and parents and carers can join on behalf of a child aged three and above. The vehicle must be used for the benefit of the disabled person.

At the end of the period, the car is returned to Motability Operations who operate the car schemes under contract to Motability.

Powered wheelchairs or scooters: With a Motability scooter or powered wheelchair, you can get a new scooter or powered wheelchair of your choice every three years. Insurance, loss and damage protection, breakdown assistance, servicing, maintenance, repairs and replacement tyres and batteries are included in the cost of the lease.

You can choose to pay your total weekly allowance or part of your weekly allowance to lease a vehicle. This will depend on the model you choose. You will also need to make a non-refundable payment at the beginning of your lease.

You are also eligible for free road tax if:

• you are in receipt of high rate mobility

• you are undergoing long-term hospital treatment and have only had your DLA higher rate mobility component removed because of this

• you receive war pensioners’ mobility supplement

• you are aged 65 and over, applied for exemption before 13 October 1993 under the Disabled Passenger Scheme and continue to meet the conditions of this scheme.

Contact Motability: To find out more about the Motability Scheme, phone Motability on 0300 4564 566 or minicom: 0300 0370 100.

• Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or log on to www.adviceguide.org.uk

Call Newtownabbey CAB, Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole on 028 9085 2271 or email enewtownabbey@citizensadvice.co.uk