Motability – everything you need to know

Are you, or is someone you know, disabled and needing a vehicle to get around? A friend’s daughter – Suzy, who is a disabled wheelchair user – has recently exchanged her mobility allowance from the government for a lease car under Motability’s Car Scheme. They also run a Powered Wheelchair and Scooter Scheme, although you can only lease one of these items at a time. It’s a popular scheme, with 4 million people using it over the last 38 years and 1.5 million eligible for the relevant allowance.

Read on to find out how the Motability Scheme helped Suzy get on the road in her first set of wheels.

What is Motability?

Motability is a registered charity set up in 1977 in response to the fact that the mobility allowance provided by the Government at that time was not sufficient to run even the smallest car. By using leverage to get discounts, introducing a practical top-up financing option and including many adaptations at no extra cost, the scheme has made mobility affordable.

The scheme is run by Motability Operations, part of the Motability Operations Group, a private limited company owned by four major UK banks. They make their money from rental income and re-sale of end-of-lease vehicles. We were reassured to know that the scheme is run professionally and Suzy’s mobility allowance is safe. It was also good to find that most profits are ploughed back into the company to benefit customers.

Am I eligible for the scheme?

To be eligible to lease through the Motability Scheme, you must be receiving one of the following allowances:

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

1.5 million people in the UK are eligible for the higher rate mobility component (HRMC) of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which applies from age three, although applications can be made earlier, and up to age 16. The mobility allowance is still available after that, but via the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead.

What’s the process for getting a Motability car?

More than 2,000 vehicles are supplied each year through 5,000 car dealers so, if you are eligible for the Motability Scheme, the next step is to visit a local dealer who participates in motability and arrange to see their Motability advisor. Perrys’ experts have won a lot of praise for their advice and support, and for making it simple for their customers.

Questionnaire to help choose a car

Suzy went with her parents and they took some time working out the best car for her particular needs before test driving some options. She does a lot of city driving and enjoys whizzing around the shopping malls in her electric wheelchair. So she needed something small and nippy but big enough to get the wheelchair in. Working through the Motability Suitability Questionnaire with the dealer helped the family to work these things out.

Documents needed

Once Suzy had chosen a car, the dealer completed the application online for her there and then! To make this possible, the family ensured they took along the necessary documents:

  • The disabled user’s Certificate of Entitlement
  • A recent utility bill
  • The driving licences of any other drivers to be insured.

If you’re making a dealership visit but the other drivers can’t come along, don’t worry. They just need to complete a Driver Consent Form instead.

Finance and payments

The schemes are based only on leasing and not on hire purchase. Motability helps you to arrange for your 4 weekly payment to be made as a direct transfer to them from the relevant benefits agency. This takes all or most of the allowance, although scooters and powered wheelchairs cost less.

The lease payments include the big worry items: insurance, breakdown cover, servicing and maintenance, tyre and windscreen replacement.

If the car that you want or need costs more than your mobility allowance, you can make an Advance Payment to cover this. This might cover further adaptations not covered by the scheme, for example. The care component of the Disabled Living allowance can’t be used to top up but the means-tested grants from the Motability charity can. If you need a heavily adapted car, Motability provide help with that too, through the Government’s Specialised Vehicles Fund.

And at the final stage, when Suzy gets to the end of her contract, she can lease a new car but also buy the old one too if she likes, for her brother, who’ll be about ready to join her on the road by then!

If you’re looking for a motability car deals are available on many car makes and models at your nearest Perrys dealership – they’ll be happy to help you!