Is Motability Worth It?

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Motability is a UK-based programme that offers mobility solutions to those with disabilities by providing leased cars, wheelchairs, and scooters. The scheme is designed to improve the lives and independence of its participants. However, the question remains: is Motability worth it? This article aims to explore the pros and cons of the programme to help potential users make an informed decision.

Financially, the Motability scheme might appear as an attractive option. It covers not only the cost of the vehicle, but also insurance, road tax, maintenance, and breakdown assistance. Furthermore, Motability has a fleet of cars worth £8.7bn, which ensures that users have access to cheap cars in a wide range of models suiting their specific requirements. Nonetheless, some argue that purchasing a reliable car outright and independently covering repair costs may result in more significant savings over time.

To determine whether Motability is worth it, users should consider their individual circumstances and needs. Factors such as one’s disability, ability to drive or travel independently, and household budget can influence the decision. Overall, it’s important to research thoroughly and consult with the Motability Scheme specialists at dealerships for expert advice.

The Motability Scheme

The Motability Scheme is a government-backed initiative that enables disabled people to use their weekly mobility allowance, such as the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP), to lease a vehicle that meets their needs. This section will discuss eligibility criteria and mobility allowance options available under the scheme.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Motability Scheme, one must meet the following criteria:

  • Receive either the Higher Rate Mobility Component (HRMC) of the DLA, the Enhanced Rate Mobility Component (ERMC) of PIP, or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • Have at least 12 months remaining on their award when applying for the scheme

It’s important to note that the decision to grant a vehicle is at the discretion of Motability and not solely based on the receipt of a qualifying allowance.

Mobility Allowance Options

Under the Motability Scheme, participants have several options for using their mobility allowance. These options are as follows:

  • Car Leasing: Scheme users can lease a new car that is adapted to their requirements. Insurance, breakdown assistance, servicing, and maintenance are included in the lease.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs): These are specially modified vehicles that can accommodate a wheelchair user without the need for them to transfer into a regular car seat. Like car leasing, insurance, breakdown assistance, servicing, and maintenance are included in the lease.
  • Scooters and Powered Wheelchairs: For those who don’t require a car, the scheme also offers scooters and powered wheelchairs on lease, which include insurance, breakdown assistance, servicing, and maintenance.

The Motability Scheme aims to provide a wide range of vehicle options to suit the varying needs of disabled individuals. It’s essential to consult a dealership or Motability specialist to help determine the most suitable vehicle for your specific needs.

Benefits of Motability

Car Options

Motability offers a wide range of car options for individuals with disabilities, providing them with the freedom to choose a vehicle that meets their unique needs. The scheme works with numerous car manufacturers to offer an extensive selection of brand new cars, ensuring that the latest models and features are available. These leased cars also provide the option to trade in a privately-owned car, further enhancing the convenience and flexibility of the Motability Scheme.

Insurance

A key benefit of the Motability Scheme is the comprehensive insurance coverage it provides. As part of the package, motability customers receive insurance with the cost for the disabled person and up to two named drivers included, ensuring hassle-free and secure transport. This coverage is essential in alleviating the stress and concerns often associated with car ownership and driving.

Maintenance

Maintaining a car can be time-consuming and expensive, but the Motability Scheme covers all the essential servicing and maintenance required to keep the vehicle running smoothly. This includes routine services, repairs, tyres replacement, and even MOT tests, providing a worry-free experience for customers. The added peace-of-mind that comes from knowing all these maintenance aspects are taken care of makes the Motability Scheme an appealing choice for those in need of a reliable and functional vehicle.

Cost and Financial Aspects

Leasing a Car

When considering whether Motability is worth it, it’s vital to examine the cost structure. For instance, under the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you would receive £71.00 a week 1. To lease a car on Motability, you use this money, which adds up to approximately £3000 a year 2.

Before you get a car and committing, it’s important to assess your budget and compare the costs of leasing through Motability to purchasing a reliable small car. If you can find a vehicle for around £2000, it would leave £1000 for repairs and other costs per year 2. This could potentially save you several thousand pounds over the next few years.

Advance Payment

Another factor to consider when evaluating whether Motability is right for you is the Advance Payment. Some cars on the scheme require an upfront payment, while others do not. When choosing a vehicle, keep this in mind and also remember that any allowance not used for the lease can be applied to maintenance, adaptations, or insurance.

However, if your allowance for mobility car ends during your lease, you will no longer be eligible for the Motability programme, and you would need to go through the process of handing your car back 3. In this case, you might be eligible for a £1000 stopped allowance support payment if you return the car in good condition within the given timescales 3.

In summary, consider these factors:

  • Cost of leasing vs purchasing a car
  • Weekly allowance and budget
  • Advance payment requirements
  • Potential additional expenses, like repairs and insurance

By evaluating these aspects, you can determine if joining the Motability Scheme aligns with your financial situation and personal needs.

Vehicle Adaptations and Accessibility

The Motability Scheme offers various vehicle adaptations for people with disabilities, enhancing their driving experience and independence. These adaptations mainly fall into two categories: driving adaptations and access adaptations.

Driving Adaptations

Driving adaptations focus on making it easier for individuals with disabilities to control and operate their vehicles. Some common adaptations include:

  • Hand controls: These allow drivers to operate the brake and accelerator using their hands, often in a push-pull or push-rock motion.
  • Steering aids: Steering aids help individuals who have limited strength or range of motion in their upper body. These can include steering wheel balls, electronic steering systems, and joystick-controlled steering systems.
  • Pedal modifications: Pedal adaptations can involve moving pedals closer or further away, adding pedal extensions, or swapping foot controls for hand controls.

In most cases, these adaptations require a disability living allowance (DLA) to be eligible. The Motability Scheme covers the cost of essential driving adaptations, ensuring that users can maintain their independence on the road.

Access Adaptations

Access adaptations focus on making it easier for individuals with disabilities to enter and exit their vehicles. Some common access adaptations include:

  • Swivel seats: Swivel seats can be fitted to the driver or passenger side, allowing easier access by rotating the seat outward or lowering it.
  • Wheelchair hoists: These are designed to lift a wheelchair into and out of the vehicle, enabling wheelchair users to travel without needing to transfer to a standard seat.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs): WAVs are specially designed or modified vehicles that can accommodate a wheelchair user as a passenger or driver. They often include lowered floors and integrated ramps or lifts.

Access adaptations can provide significant benefits to those with mobility impairments, promoting overall independence and making it far easier to travel. The Motability Scheme takes care of these adaptation costs, so long as users are eligible through the DLA or similar mobility component.

In summary, vehicle adaptations offered through the Motability Scheme grant individuals with disabilities greater freedom and independence in their driving and vehicle access experiences. Through customised driving and access adaptations, the scheme enables users to retain a high level of mobility and improve their overall quality of life.

Who Can Drive the Motability Car

The Motability Scheme allows disabled individuals to lease a vehicle using their mobility allowance. A key aspect of this scheme is appointing named drivers who can operate the vehicle on behalf of the disabled person.

A named driver can be any family member, friend, or caregiver who is nominated in advance. Interestingly, the disabled person does not need to be present during every journey. However, it is imperative that the vehicle is primarily used to benefit the disabled individual.

Typically, up to three named drivers can be listed on the Motability Insurance Certificate. This provides flexibility for the disabled person to have their needs met by various individuals within their support network.

Keep in mind that some restrictions apply when nominating a named driver. For instance, only one named driver can be under the age of 21. Also, it’s essential to report any motoring offences or changes in a named driver’s circumstances in order to ensure the Motability coverage remains valid.

Parents of disabled children can also be named drivers, enabling them to use the Motability vehicle for activities and appointments that benefit their child’s well-being. However, they need to remain cautious and prevent misuse of the car for purposes that do not benefit the disabled child.

Additional Benefits for Families and Carers

Motability is particularly beneficial for families and carers who rely on transportation for their loved ones’ mobility and engagement in social activities. The scheme allows individuals with disabilities to nominate up to two named drivers, which means that caregivers and family members can be included as primary drivers of the vehicle provided by the Motability Scheme.

For families, this means improved access to education, social events, and essential appointments, as the Motability vehicle serves as reliable transportation. This, in turn, enhances the quality of life for both the individual and their caregivers.

Several financial allowances support access to the Motability Scheme, such as:

  • The Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – worth £71.00 a week
  • Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Child Disability Payment (Scotland) – worth £71.00 a week
  • The Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) – worth £71.00 a week
  • The War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) – worth £79.25 a week (source)

The freedom of travel enabled by the scheme offers mental health benefits not only for the disabled person but also for their family members and caregivers. Social events and interactions contribute to better mental health for all parties involved, leading to an overall improvement in the family’s wellbeing.

  • Convenient, reliable personal transportation
  • Up to two nominated drivers (carers or family members)
  • Improved access to education, medical appointments, and social events
  • Financial support for eligible individuals
  • Positive impact on mental health of the disabled individual and their family members

In summary, Motability is indeed worth considering for those with mobility needs, as it provides families and carers with enhanced transportation options, ultimately leading to a better quality of life for everyone involved.

Potential Drawbacks

Mileage Limitations

One potential drawback of the Motability scheme is the mileage limitations. Under the scheme, drivers are allowed to cover up to 20,000 miles per year. However, this could be a disadvantage for some users who drive more than the allotted distance. Exceeding the 60,000-mile limit over the 3-year lease period may result in additional charges.

Restrictions on Car Modifications

Another potential downside of the Motability scheme is the restrictions on car modifications. Although the scheme allows for some adaptations to suit individual needs, these modifications are limited to the ones covered by the scheme. For those requiring extensive modifications that aren’t covered, using the scheme may become less appealing.

Duration of the Scheme

The duration of the Motability scheme could be another potential drawback. The lease period for a Motability car typically lasts for 3 years, after which the car must be returned and a new one chosen from the scheme’s available range. This renewal process can be viewed as both a positive and a negative aspect, depending on individual preferences.

On one hand, users will have the opportunity to choose a new vehicle every 3 years, ensuring they have access to the latest models and features. On the other hand, the lack of long-term ownership may not appeal to certain individuals who prefer the stability and freedom that comes with owning a car outright.

It is important to consider these potential drawbacks before joining the Motability scheme to ensure it is the right choice based on individual needs and circumstances.

About the author

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