How do you learn to drive if you have a disability?
And more importantly how do you pay for it?
Young disabled adults in receipt of the higher rate Mobility can learn to drive at 16 years.
But the first challenge is to get a provisional driving licence!
As always with a disability nothing is straightforward!!
In the first instance you need to contact the Drivers Medical Group of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to check whether your medical condition will affect your driving.
Depending on your disability you will have to fill out medical forms specific for your condition.
To save time you can obtain the provisional driving license forms from your local post office and download the relevant medical form from the Gov.uk website.
These forms will require medical information and consultant/doctor contacts.
Once you submit the forms expect a long wait and be prepared to chase them up with a phone call or two! (Tel: 0300 790 6806)
In the meantime, while you are waiting to hear about your license submit your application to Motability for financial help towards learning to drive through their Grants Helpline (Tel: 0844 800 0900)
This is income and savings related so do expect to provide detailed financial information when making your application.
Motability are able to help towards the cost of driving lessons for young people aged 16 to 29 years.
If you are successful in your application for funding the British School of Motoring (BSM) will contact you to arrange an instructor and to discuss your requirements.
Initially, you will have a trial lesson – if this goes well you can book a follow-on course of 12 hours of tuition.
During this time you have to arrange to take and pass the DSA Theory Test.
Although you can book this online it is best to contact them direct in case you need additional support such as a voiceover or extra time (tel: 0300 200 1122).
When you have passed your Theory Test, you will be able to have a further 26 hours of tuition funded by Motability.
The complete course of lessons needs to be completed within a 12 month period.
The cost of the theory test and the practical driving test is your responsibility .
Motability will also pay for young drivers aged 16 to 24 years to take the "Pass Plus" by offering 6 hours free tuition with the AA to help them drive safely.
There is also a new grant from the Family Fund, "The Driving Ambitions Grant" to help 16 and 17 years old take their first steps in learning to drive.
It is only available to young people who haven't started learning to drive.
Funding for Carers
Carers who need to learn to drive to transport the person they care for should ask their local Social Services for a Carer's Assessment. Depending on the result of the assessment the cost of driving lessons may be funded through the disabled person's Direct Payments.
The Carers Trust can sometimes help with the cost of driving lessons for carers. You need to apply for a grant through your local Network partner (a carers' centre or Crossroads scheme in your area).
You can find your local carers group through the Carers Trust website.