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Everything you need to know about the Motability Scheme

image of woman getting out of car into wheelchair

As the leading provider of Motability cars in the Midlands and part of the Government-backed National Motability Scheme, we’re proud to say we’ve been able to help 4,000 people with a wide range of disabilities and their families become more independently mobile.

With a huge range of Motability cars from big brands including Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and more, we’re well-equipped to help find the vehicle that’s right for you, free from worry and financial strain.

But if you don’t know where to start, or you’re unfamiliar with the Motability Scheme itself, things may get confusing. Luckily, this extensive guide is here to make things as straightforward as possible, touching on how to apply, how it’s funded and a whole lot more.

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What is the Motability Scheme?

Designed to help disabled people remain mobile, the Motability Scheme allows those eligible to exchange their weekly mobility allowance to cover the cost of leasing a new car. The scheme leases cars, mobility scooters and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) to people who qualify for the government’s mobility allowance.

The scheme provides those who are eligible with hassle-free flexibility and access to a brand-new vehicle of their choice, providing greater independence and freedom.

image of elderly couple in car

The Motability package includes the cost of the car, as well as any special adaptations you may require, along with a range of other benefits, including:

  • A new car every three years
  • RAC roadside assistance
  • Insurance for the customer and two named drivers
  • Servicing and maintenance
  • Annual car tax
  • Replacement tyres from Kwik Fit

Even if you don’t drive yourself, the Motability car you choose can still be used on your behalf by up to two named drivers, though it must be used for the benefit of the disabled person. It doesn’t mean those with a disability have to be in the car for every journey; the driver can use the car for shopping or other activities – as long as the Motability scheme customer will benefit.

Am I eligible for the Motability Scheme?

To be eligible for the Motability Scheme, you must receive one of the following allowances:

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

Note: you’ll need to have at least 12 months remaining on your Mobility Allowance when you apply for the Motability Scheme and other Terms & Conditions will apply.


image of mother and son driving car

What age must your child be to qualify for the Motability Scheme?

The Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance can be awarded once your child is three years old. If a child under the age of three has had confirmation of DLA allowance, an application for Motability can be made up to three months before their third birthday, though the lease agreement will not start until the allowance is awarded. If a child above the age of three has been awarded the Mobility Allowance, then an application can be made to the Motability Scheme. The application will need to be submitted in the name of the appointee (parent or guardian) who is responsible for the allowance.

image of boy operating wheelchair up disability ramp

How to get a vehicle through the Motability Scheme

Provided you’re in receipt of a higher rate mobility allowance, it’s a case of simply exchanging all, or part of this allowance to lease a vehicle of your choice.

You choose the vehicle you want at a price that works for you, and payments are then deducted from your mobility allowance every four weeks. These are then paid directly to Motability by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The standard lease is over three years, or five years if you’re leasing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. Since you’re on a leasing scheme, ownership of the vehicle remains with Motability Operations. At the end of your lease, you have three options:

  • Lease another car through the Motability Scheme
  • Keep your current car by extending your lease (if possible)
  • Return your car and have your allowance reinstated

image of elderly couple in car

How and where to apply for a Motability Scheme car


If you choose to come to Brindley Garages find your Motability Scheme car, the application process goes as follows:

  • Providing you’re eligible and receive a mobility allowance, simply contact your local Brindley dealership – all of our branches have a Motability partnership.
  • A Motability advisor will be assigned to you to talk you through the process.
  • You’ll have a chance to detail your requirements, budgets and personal tastes to your Motability advisor.
  • Once you’ve decided which car you’d like and stated if any adaptations need fitting, your Motability advisor will place the order.
  • If the vehicle costs more than the allowance covers, a single advance payment will be required at this point. Financial help is available for those who require a more expensive car – our team will be happy to help advise on how to apply for this.

  • Upon placing the order, your Motability advisor will give you a unique pin code. They’ll let you know when your car is ready, at which point you can pick it up from your local branch and drive it away with everything taken care of.

image of man getting out of car into wheelchair

How to cover the cost of owning a Motability vehicle


Motability may be able to help with the cost of an Advance Payment for a car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) or adaptations to a Motability Scheme vehicle. It’s possible to apply for a Charitable Grant if necessary; in applying for these, Motability will take into account a wide range of factors, including:

  • Your disability or impairment and how it impacts your mobility.
  • Your household circumstances.
  • Any equipment you need to regularly travel with.
  • Your financial means, e.g. whether you’re in receipt of a means-tested benefit, if you receive income from paid employment and whether you have any savings or investments.

To apply for a Charitable Grant, call the Motability Scheme’s Customer Services on 0300 456 4566. While on the phone, you’ll talk through your personal circumstances, and if Motability can help, you’ll be required to complete an online or paper application.

Once completed and supporting documentation has been provided, you’ll be contacted within 48 hours to confirm receipt and to discuss what to do next. You’ll have your Case Manager to guide you throughout the process, assess your information and work with you to ensure Motability fully understands your situation.

image of front of mini cooper

How to adapt a vehicle to your special needs

If you require certain adaptations to your vehicle in order to better get around, the Motability Scheme offers a vast choice of vehicle adaptations, ranging from simple driving controls to electric hoists to lift wheelchair users into their car.

There are three types of adaptations available to Motability customers:

  • Driving adaptations: Hand controls, electronic accelerators, left foot accelerators, pedal modifications, steering aids and remote-control devices. These are adaptations for those looking to improve the accessibility and experience of driving themselves.

  • Stowage adaptations: Things like boot hoists and rooftop boxes designed to safely transport items such as scooters, wheelchairs or other equipment.

  • Access adaptations: Items such as transfer plates, swivel seats and person hoists, designed to provide assistance for getting in and out of vehicles.

To get your desired adaptations fitted, our Motability specialists will be happy to help guide you through your requirements. Get in touch with them to discuss tailoring any adaptations to your needs, provide information on which vehicles they’re available on, how much they’ll cost and whether any financial help is available should you require it.

Once you’ve settled on the adaptations you need, your Motability specialist can order these to be fitted ahead of collection, so when you pick up your car, everything’s good to go.

image of elderly woman in car

How your Motability vehicle can be used

As we mentioned earlier, if you don’t drive, then nominated drivers can help you get around or for your benefit. To ensure you’re receiving the direct benefit from your Motability Scheme car, it may be fitted with a location tracker in some cases. For instance, if none of your named drivers reside at your address, or you live in a care home where a number of drivers have access to the car, then a location tracker could be fitted – you’ll be notified in advance if so.

When ordering your new car; you, your nominated drivers and the Motability Scheme dealer will need to sign a Statement of Responsibilities form to confirm you understand and agree to follow the terms and conditions for using your vehicle.

As well as potentially having a location tracker fitted, the following also apply:

  • Drivers aged under 25 are restricted to cars with an ABI Insurance Group 16 or lower, and with a power output of 120 brake horsepower (BHP) or less, though this does not apply to Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles.
  • Only one named driver under 21 is permitted – this could be the disabled customer or another driver living at the same address.

image of interior of car

Note, that the misuse of Motability vehicles includes:

  • Not providing the disabled person the benefit of the car
  • Driving whilst uninsured or banned
  • Using the car in a criminal act
  • Lending, sub-leasing or selling the car
  • Using the car for unauthorised purposes, such as a taxi service or delivery vehicle

If your car is misused, Motability reserve the right to take action, which can include terminating the lease, excluding you from getting another Motability Scheme car, and sending you the bill for any repairs or estimated loss in sale value.

Motability and insurance: what is covered?

Another benefit of the Motability Scheme, the cars are insured as part of the package. They are covered by RSA Motability (RSAM) – taking away one of the biggest headaches of car ownership, finding and securing the best insurance deal.

Since you don’t actually own the car outright, insurance works slightly differently with Motability vehicles. For instance, since Motability Operations Ltd own the vehicle, you don’t accrue any no-claims bonus.

Therefore, any personal no-claims bonus history you had before joining the Scheme may no longer be accepted by insurers if you leave the Scheme. Certain insurance companies may honour previous personal no claims history, though this is usually only for a period of up to 2 or 3 years.

If you end up leaving the scheme, you’ll receive a claims history letter which details any claims made by you and your nominated drivers, along with a period of time where you had claims-free driving.

image of crashed car

In terms of your insurance policy, here’s what’s covered:

  • Loss of or damage to your vehicle
  • Accidental damage
  • Fire or theft damage
  • Repaired or replacement glass
  • In-car equipment, such as a radio or CD player, permanently fitted or supplied with the car as standard
  • Adaptations and modifications which are needed and have been agreed to and which RSAM have been informed about
  • Any accessories or tools supplied with the vehicle
  • Replacement locks where keys have been stolen and the theft reported to the police

The insurance policy covers the following circumstances:

  • Day-to-day driving which benefits the Motability scheme claimant.
  • Driving your vehicle for voluntary or charitable work, provided you don’t receive a fixed regular payment by the organisation.
  • Travel to and from your normal workplace. Named drivers who do not live with you are not necessarily covered for these journeys. This will be discussed this with you, where appropriate, at the beginning of your lease.

With regards to personal accident cover, in the event of an accident which causes death, loss of limbs and/or permanent loss of sight in one or both eyes, cover is provided up to a limit of £5,000 (per person) for the driver and any passengers.

If you’re travelling abroad, you can take your car or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle anywhere within the European Union, as well as to Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein free of charge for up to 90 days in any 12-month period.

Blue Badges and parking

Blue Badges provide disabled drivers and passengers with a range of parking benefits. They can be essential for severely physically-impaired drivers – providing access to the best-placed parking spots. They’re issued by your local authority independently from the Motability Scheme. A Blue Badge costs up to £10 in England and £20 in Scotland, and usually lasts up to three years. Here is the government portal where you’ll be able to apply for a Blue Badge – it is worth noting that it can take a few months for the decision on your application to be made so it’s better to apply as soon as possible.

Looking for more from Brindley Garages? Click here to check out more news from the motoring world, or if you’re in the market for a new car, see how we can help at our homepage.

Added: 23 March 2020

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