The Motability scheme helps certain people with disabilities to buy a suitable car. The eligibility criteria changed recently and now only people who qualify for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of the new personal independence payment, which is replacing disability living allowance, can apply Some other groups are also eligible for Motability cars.
According to the Guardian, as many as 900 Motability cars are being removed each week in the UK.
Leasing or buying
Most Motability customers prefer a contract hire arrangement rather than buying the vehicle through a hire purchase agreement. Under a contract hire arrangement, the benefits include insurance cover, breakdown cover, mobility battery servicing and maintenance, replacement windows and tyres, and the option of getting a new car every three years.
Choosing a car
Whether you intend to drive yourself or nominate friends or family members to drive for you, there are a large number of wheelchair-accessible vehicles and cars to choose from. The annual mileage allowance is 20,000 miles; therefore, users can be as mobile as other motorists. About 600 cars, such as VW Polos and Ford Fiestas, have their cost totally met by the payments; alternatively, if you would like or need a larger or more expensive vehicle, you can top up the allowance.
You need to think about how much space you need for wheelchairs or other items, and whether you require an automatic. It is always advisable to have a test drive to ensure that the car meets your needs. To see a complete list of available cars, check out the Motability website.
The Motability Managed Adaptation Programme (MMAP)
The MMAP makes adaptations such as steering aids, mechanical hand controls, pedal modifications and permanent or wheelchair swivel seats available. You can also have certain functions remotely controlled, person hoists, and wheelchair stowage systems. For a full list of adaptation suppliers, see the Motability website. Some adaptations are free, while others must be paid for. If you need replacement batteries, these are available from suppliers such as http://grovesbatteries.co.uk/Mobility.aspx.
Finding a dealer
You can search for dealerships near you on the Motability website. Some will visit you at home, while others will arrange transport to the showroom and back. It is advisable to visit more than one dealership, as they may have different models from which to choose.