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The Motability Scheme is well known for leasing cars and wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV's) to the disabled.
It is only available to individuals who receive the Higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independent Payment.
To obtain a car your mobility allowance is paid monthly to Motability as your contribution towards the car.
It is often the only way many can afford to get a vehicle to meet their complex needs.
But what do you do if you can't afford the deposit?
Fortunately, Motability provide financial help towards the deposit for disabled individuals or families on low income.
However, they have recently introduced new rules concerning their Specialsied Vehicles Fund (SVF).
This Fund provides grants for Drive-From Wheelchair (DFW) vehicles which are specially adapted to allow a disabled person to drive the vehicle instead of being a passenger.
Under these new rules the disabled person will have to be either working, volunteering, in education or caring for at least 12 hours a week.
When you apply for a Motability grant they will ask you to complete a financial assessment application form.
If you meet their criteria you will be asked to visit your nearest Mobility Centre for an assessment where they will take details of your disability and check the size of your wheelchair or mobility equipment.
From this information the centre will send a report to Motability making recommendations on the size and type of vehicle to suit your personal situation.
It can produce some interesting results!
Leaving some frustrated with the system and others amazed at the suggestions and insights of the experienced staff at the centre.
Whatever their decision Motability will chose the car - they are a charity and they have to go with the cheapest option to enable them to help more people.
If you qualify for a grant from Motability they will also fund wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) and any driving adaptations if required.
This may include adjustable seating, push/pull accelerator and brakes and steering aids.
An assessment of your needs will be undertaken at your nearest Mobility Centre.
Even if you aren't applying for a grant you may find it helpful to visit one of the Disabled Living/Mobility Centres for an assessment.
As committing to a 3 or 5 year (for WAV's) lease is a risk as changing cars or ending the contract is difficult - though not impossible if you have a major change in your condition.
The centres may have a selection of cars and adaptations for you to try and view.
Every year a number of mobility road shows are held every year around the country.
These are a great opportunity to have a look at what's available and most important whether the vehicle is accessible for you and your equipment.
If you receive either the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living
Allowance or the War Pension Mobility Supplement you will be able to apply for an exemption from car tax.
The car will be registered as a disabled vehicle on the tax disc.
If you have a Motability vehicle you will receive their tax disc direct from Motability and you don't need to apply for the exemption.
Motability have announced an one-off transitional support package to help those who lose the qualifying rate of benefit when they are transferred from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Motability have recently introduced a cheaper 0300 number for it's Customer Service team: 0300 456 4566
The Mobility Scheme - Northern Ireland
Disability Action - Northern Ireland (for assessments)
Disability and Independence: Motoring and Motability (by Francis
Leckie, Editor of Independent Living)