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 for the Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment 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.
Expect a long wait and be prepared to chase them up with a phone call or two! (Tel: 0300 790 6806)
Once you have your provisional licence from the DVLA you may be able to apply to the Motability scheme for help towards the cost of learning to drive.
· You must be a customer of the Motability Scheme or have a pending agreement with a confirmed delivery date no more than 4 months from the date of your grant application.
· You must be in receipt of a mean tested benefit such as Income Support or Working Tax Credit.
· You are in full time education or training (up to 25 years) and you or your parents/guardian receives a means tested benefit.
Please note: There is no longer an age restriction for applications for funding for driving lessons.
If you are successful in your application for funding a national driving school will contact you to arrange an instructor and to discuss your requirements.
Initially, you will have a trial lesson (2 hours) – 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 .
To find out more contact the Motability Grants Helpline: Tel: 0844 800 0900 or visit the Motability website.
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.
Your local carers group 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.