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Motability scheme

Looking after someone who is disabled can mean both they and you find it difficult to get out of the house. The Motability scheme, which is run by a national charity, can help get you mobile again. It allows some disabled people to obtain a car, powered wheelchair or scooter.

Who can apply?

The Motability scheme is available to:

  • people who receive the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • people who receive War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement

It doesn’t matter if the person you’re looking after can’t drive. They can still apply for a car in which they will be a passenger. Parents and carers can apply on behalf of a child. Ideally, the person you’re looking after will receive their mobility component or supplement for the entire time the Motability agreement lasts. Find more information about the mobility component of DLA in the benefits section. The Motability scheme will accept applications from people who have at least 12 months of their mobility award left to run when they apply.

How the Motability scheme works

The Motability scheme enables the person you’re looking after, or you if you’re looking after a child, to obtain a car, wheelchair or scooter through contract hire or hire purchase.

Contract hire

The contract hire car scheme offers a mobility package that takes away many of the pressures of being a car owner, especially the bills.

Many of the cars in the Motability scheme are available in exchange for the full higher rate mobility component of DLA. There is an extra, advance payment, ranging from £50 to several hundred pounds, for larger or more expensive cars. This is used to cover the difference in price. On the other hand, some smaller cars are available for less than the full amount of the allowance. The amount left over is paid to the claimant, as normal.

The contract hire scheme includes:

  • a new car every three years
  • full insurance for the driver and passengers
  • servicing, maintenance and repairs
  • road tax
  • free replacement tyres
  • breakdown cover
  • a 60,0000-mile allowance over three years
  • more than 4,500 Motability dealers

Adaptations to the car can be made if needed, although there may be an extra charge for some adaptations. Under the Motability scheme cars can also be adapted for people in wheelchairs. These are known as wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Hire purchase

If the person you’re looking after chooses to buy a car through hire purchase, their mobility component or supplement will be used to pay for it. They will need to be receiving the mobility component or supplement for the full length of their hire purchase agreement. With hire purchase, the price of the car will be agreed directly with the Motability dealer. The hire purchase scheme doesn’t include comprehensive insurance, breakdown recovery, servicing and repairs, replacement tyres or MOT.

Motability scooters and powered wheelchairs

If they don't need or want a car, the person you're looking after can transfer their allowance to lease a scooter or powered wheelchair.

The contract hire scheme covers a wide range of mobility products and includes:

  • a new scooter or powered wheelchair every three years
  • insurance, covering any damage to people or property caused by the scooter or wheelchair
  • loss and damage protection
  • breakdown assistance
  • servicing, maintenance and repair
  • tyre and battery replacement

Most products are available for less than the weekly allowance.


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Page last reviewed: 19/08/2013

Next review due: 19/08/2015

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