Some PIP and DLA claimants will see changes to the Motability Scheme over next two years

By Linda Howard

Over 650,000 customers across the UK currently enjoy the options and independence offered by the Motability Scheme.

People living with a long-term illness, disability, physical or mental health condition in receipt of certain benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can use all or part of their mobility component to pay for a vehicle from a charity called Motability.

Eligible claimants can choose from a wide range of vehicles including different sized cars, vans, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs - all brand new. However, it's important to understand that you won't own the car, it will be a lease for a three-year period and will continue for as long as your benefit does.

The Motability Scheme offers independence to thousands of people (Getty Images)

If you need adaptations made to a vehicle, such as hand controls, steering aids and pedal modifications, most are offered free under the scheme.

The Scottish Government assumed responsibility for delivering Disability Assistance benefit payments in April 2020.

However, due to the impact on the Scottish Government, Social Security Scotland and public services in managing Scotland through the Covid-19 pandemic, a decision was made to delay the launch of Disability Assistance payments.

This means that for now, disability benefits will continue to be delivered by the DWP, although Social Security Scotland recently confirmed that families of disabled children living in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles will be able to apply for the new Child Disability Payment from the end of July as part of a pilot scheme before a full roll-out starts in November.

When Social Security Scotland takes over the delivery of PIP in the summer of 2022, it will be known as the Adult Disability Payment and includes some changes to the claims process.

One of the key changes is that there will be no face-to-face assessments - unless necessary, and if they do, they will be conducted in a location and at a time that suits the applicant.

Another change involves the Motability Scheme.

The Gov.Scot website explains: “People who receive the highest rate of the mobility component of Adult Disability Payment [formerly PIP] will be able to transfer either the whole or part of the money they get for the mobility component to access the Accessible Vehicles and Equipment Scheme.

This new Scottish scheme will provide a service very similar to the current Motability scheme, with a range of cars, wheelchair accessible vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs on affordable leasing terms, with a range of adaptations at little or no cost.

Claimants who have an existing Motability lease will be able to retain their vehicle or mobility aid until it ends.

Find out more about all the new Disability Assistance being delivered by Social Security Scotland here.

Anyone needing to claim for additional financial support due to a disability, long-term illness or mental health condition should continue to apply for PIP through the DWP until Social Security Scotland takes over delivery of the benefit.

Who is eligible for the Motability Scheme?

You could qualify for a Motability vehicle or aid if you have been awarded:

  • Higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

  • Enhanced rate mobility component of PIP

  • War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

When you apply for a Motability vehicle, you must have at least 12 months left before your benefit ends - check your decision letter if you’re not sure.

You cannot apply for a Motability vehicle if you are getting DLA and the DWP has sent you a letter saying you need to apply for PIP - you won’t be affected if you already have a Motability vehicle.

If you don’t drive, you can still get a Motability vehicle and choose someone else to drive it - you can nominate up to two people to drive it on your behalf.

What are the benefits of the Motability Scheme?

There are currently over 1,800 cars to choose from and the Motability package includes:

  • insurance, including tyre and windscreen replacement cover

  • breakdown cover provided by the RAC

  • vehicle tax

  • servicing and maintenance

  • adaptations if needed

A mileage limit of 60,000 miles over the three-year lease period is placed on Motability cars – if your car exceeds this mileage, you'll have to pay 5p for every additional mile.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles are offered on a five-year lease, with a total mileage limit of 100,000 miles.

Who pays for Motability cars?

The Motability Scheme uses your mobility payment to help cover the cost of a new car - in full or part.

Your benefit will go directly to the Motability Scheme each month to pay for your lease.

How much of your benefit will go towards your vehicle will depend on which model you choose.

What happens at the end of my lease?

Three months before your Motability lease is due to end, you will be contacted to place an order for your next car.

If your current lease is due to expire before your next car will be ready, your car dealer will arrange a short-term extension of the current car for as long as this is needed.

How to join the Motability Scheme and find a vehicle

You will need to show evidence that you’re eligible for the scheme. It’s worth getting this ready before you start looking for a vehicle.

You will need:

  • your ID - such as a driving licence or passport

  • your DWP letter of award entitlement

Follow these four simple steps to get a Motability vehicle

1. Find a dealer

There are more than 4,500 Motability dealerships across the UK, you can find a dealer near where you live on the Motability website here.

You can also call the Motability helpline on 0300 456 4566. The lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm (calls cost 12p per minute from a landline, and from 3p to 45p from a mobile).

2. Visit the dealer

Once you have found a dealer, ask for an appointment with their Motability specialist.

You can ask them to visit you at home or help arrange your transport to and from the dealership, if it’s hard for you to get there.

You may be asked to do a questionnaire to help find a vehicle that suits you best.

Let your dealer know if you think your vehicle needs to be adapted. Motability offers some adaptations for free - you can check if the adaption you need is available on their website.

If you use a wheelchair or mobility aid, take it with you to make sure it fits in the car.

You can also browse the car selections and choose one that you think is right for you on the Motability website.

3. Order your vehicle

Once you have found the right vehicle, you can order it at the dealership.

You will need to show:

  • your DWP award letter

  • a form of identification, such as a passport or driving licence

  • proof of address, such as a Council Tax bill or bank statement from the last six months

If you will be driving the car you will also need to show your driving licence.

About two weeks after ordering your car you’ll get a confirmation letter in the post. Keep it safe - it contains your Personal Identification Number (PIN). You’ll need this when you collect your vehicle.

4. Collect your vehicle and sign the lease

You’ll sign your lease agreement by entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN) at the dealership.

It’s worth asking for your vehicle to be delivered, if you can’t get to the dealer easily.

To find out if you are eligible to join the Motability scheme, visit the website here.

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