The Motorbility Scheme UK
The Motorbility Scheme
Motorbility was set up by the government in 1977 and has supplied more than
1.7 million cars and powered wheelchairs to disabled customers.
Motorbility was established to provide disabled people with safe, reliable
and affordable cars. You can use this scheme to hire or buy a car or powered
wheelchair or scooter if you have been awarded Disability
Living Allowance (DLA) high rate mobility component (or War
Pensioners' Mobility Supplement).
The award must usually be for long enough to complete the full length of the
chosen agreement (see 'Disability
Living Allowance - Length of award' below).
Where more than one person is eligible to apply, it may be possible to use
both allowances towards the cost of one car.
You can apply for a car as a passenger if you are eligible but don't drive.
A parent or carer can apply on behalf of a child who is receiving an award.
Proposed drivers must not have any serious driving convictions, disqualifications,
or endorsements within the last five years. There are also some restrictions
on drivers under 25 and those with provisional licenses.
Motorbility also provides grants for driving lessons.
Motorbility offers a choice of:
- A new car on a three-year contract hire lease.
- A new or used car on hire purchase, over a term of two to five years.
- A new or used powered wheelchair, or scooter on hire purchase, over a term
of one to three years.
Once you have chosen which scheme you wish to join, you must then agree to
pay over all, or part, of your allowance to it.
By far the most popular choice is the contract hire scheme, which offers customers
a new car from a list of approved manufacturers, on a three-year lease. All
maintenance and servicing costs are included, together with comprehensive insurance
and breakdown assistance.
You do not have to be the driver of the car. You can instead apply for a car
as a passenger and nominate two other people as your drivers. You can also
apply to the scheme if you have a child aged three or older, who is entitled
to DLA high rate mobility component.
In order to help you choose a scheme that suits you Motorbility publish information
about the pros and cons of different schemes, price guides, lists of dealers
and guidance on choosing a car.
You may be able to get financial assistance towards the cost of driving lessons
for either you, or in some circumstances, a driver nominated by you. Normally
Motorbility will ask you to choose a family member,civil
partner or a recognised carer. Only one person per Motorbility customer
can normally be helped with the cost of driving lessons. Motorbility will not
pay for either the theory or practical driving test.
Adaptations to cars
There is a range of car adaptations available including steering wheel knobs,
hand controls for brakes and accelerators and wheelchair hoists. It is important
to choose a car suitable for the adaptations you require so check with a motorbility
accredited specialist before ordering your car.
The cost of adaptations, plus fitting and removal, are not included in your
lease. You will have to pay for these yourself, but in some cases motorbility
may be able to provide help towards the cost of the least expensive solution
that would meet your mobility needs.
A Motorbility accredited specialist must carry out adaptations fitted to a
Motorbility car. Your Motorbility supplier and their insurers need to be informed
before you go ahead with the fittings.
You will have to pay for the fuel you use, so it is worth calculating likely
fuel costs before making a decision on which car to have. Car manufacturers
publish details to guide you. The higher the miles per gallon figure, the further
you can drive on the same amount of fuel.
Excess mileage cost
If you opt for a three-year contract hire lease, you are entitled to drive
45,000 miles over the three-year period of your agreement - 15,000 each year.
When the car is returned, you will have to pay 5p per mile for any extra mileage
Exemption from road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty)
All vehicles on the road are liable to Vehicle Excise Duty, better known as
road tax. You will be exempt from this charge (including the first registration
fee) for one car if you get Disability Living Allowance high rate mobility
component or War Pensioners' mobility supplement. The office handling your
benefit should automatically send you an exemption form. You can then use the
certificate as proof of exemption when applying for a ' tax exempt disc' from
the Vehicle Licensing Agency.
To hire a new car, your high rate mobility component should run for at least
However, it was announced on 7 October 2004 that the scheme would be accessible
to people whose award length fell short of the 3 year requirement for hiring
a car. Motorbility has now adjusted the requirements of the Scheme to allow
access to those in receipt of awards with 12 months or more remaining.
If a DLA award is not renewed to cover the full length of the chosen scheme,
the car will need to be returned to motorbility. This gives customers around
three months between the cancellation of the allowance and the return-by date,
during which the lease can be paid privately, so that there is time available
to arrange an alternative car.
To buy on hire purchase, your mobility component must be either an indefinite
award, or have at least 2 years left to run if you buy a used car, or at least
4 years left to run if you buy a new car.
If you go into hospital, the general rule is that payment of both the care
component and the mobility component stops after you've been in hospital for
28 days for adults or 84 days for children under 16. However, the mobility
component can continue to be paid in hospital while you have a Motorbility agreement
in force. You cannot renew a Motorbility agreement if you are in hospital, except
under the wheelchair scheme provided the new agreement is entered into the
day after the old one ends.
Requesting an extension of your mobility component award
The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for awarding DLA. If you
are unable to access the Motorbility Scheme because your award of the mobility
component is not long enough and your mobility problems are unlikely to change
or may get worse, you can ask for your award to be extended.
Great care needs to be taken when considering this option because it is always
possible that an award may be reduced or lost altogether. If you receive the
care component, a decision-maker could also decide to question your entitlement
to that component as well. If you decide to ask for your award to be extended
seek specialist advice from an advice agency or law centre first (see factsheet
F15 Finding a local advice agency).
For general enquiries about the Motorbility Car Schemes:
Motorbility Operations City Gate House 22 Southwark Bridge Road London SE1
Telephone 0845 456 4566 (Minicom 01279 632273) (Lines are open 8.30am to 5.30pm,
Monday to Friday)
Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) Customer Enquiries Vehicle Enquiry
Unit Centre Longview Road Swansea SA99 1BL
Telephone 0870 240 0010
Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) Northern Ireland County Hall Castlerock
Road Coleraine BT51 3TA
Telephone 028 7034 1461
Disability Living Allowance
Disability and Carers Service Warbreck House Warbreck Hill Blackpool FY2 0YE
Telephone 0845 712 33456
- Disability and Carers Service (NI) Room 403 Castle Court Royal Avenue Belfast
Telephone 028 9090 6182
War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement
Veterans Agency Norcross Blackpool FY5 3WP
Telephone 0800 169 2277
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