TfA members raise concerns as PIP has made it harder to access Motability scheme
The Motability Scheme is a partnership between two organisations: a company, Motability Ltd, and a charity, Motability. Set up in the late 1970s, the scheme offers a fixed term lease on vehicles with adaptations if needed. The company is owned by the UK’s four major banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS and was set up with the support of the government. Motability (the charity) was then set up to administer the scheme.
Transport for All are deeply concerned to find out that approximately 100 disabled people a week are losing their Motability vehicles after being assessed for PIP (Personal Independence Payment) . Some estimates suggest that as many as 180,000 disabled people could eventually lose their Motability vehicles.
TfA Advice & Advocacy Officer Youcef Bey-Zekkoub said “the accessibility of London’s bus and tube system remains poor, and hundreds of disabled people across London cannot use these forms of public transport. Therefore a Motability car is, for many, a lifeline. It enables people to get to work; to volunteer; to see family and friends; to do shopping: in short, to remain active and independent citizens who can contribute to their community. Many disabled Londoners also enjoy going out either to the park or for some leisure activities, which require a car journey. Physical activity is an integral part of our health and they will not be able to do so if their car is taken from them”.
More restrictive Motability criteria
Changes to the Motability Scheme itself over the past few years are also a cause for concern.
Criteria for obtaining a drive-from-wheelchair vehicle through the Scheme have been narrowed; only those who spend at least 12 hours-a-week in employment, education, volunteering or caring can now qualify, irrespective of limited transport options in the local area.
Insurance terms also changed. From January 2012, nominated drivers were required to live within 5 miles of the cars owners. In an era of continuing urban expansion, many people have family, friends, or carers living outside this radius that they may wish to have added to their insurance.
The government introduction of PIP (Personal Independence Payment) plus Motability scheme new eligibility criteria for drive-from-wheelchair vehicles means that more disabled people will or have their Motability car removed from them.
Disabled Londoners, including members of Transport for All, DPAC and Inclusion London, have expressed their dissatisfaction over the way Motability introduced these criteria without informing their customers. That’s why Transport for All is working with Inclusion London and DPAC on this issue.
Know your rights
Contrary to urban myth, the Motability Scheme is not the only way to acquire an adapted vehicle. In addition to a thriving second hand market, it is possible to add adaptations to a standard vehicle, which in some cases can work out much cheaper.
Did you know that?
- Anyone in receipt of DLA/PIP is eligible for free road tax. Motability state on their website that: “When you take delivery of your car, it will already be taxed for the first year. If you live in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, we will arrange for your car to be taxed each year throughout your lease (unless you have chosen to pay tax privately).” However, free road tax is available to all in receipt of DLA/PIP, irrespective of from which dealer the car is leased or purchased.
- Leasing a car privately could be cheaper if you don’t require any adaptation or only require a cheap adaptation such as hand-control.
- Buying a car on finance from private dealers could be better option in the long run, as you will own the car at the end of the agreement. There will also be no mileage limit.
- Many dealers offer long warrantees and other helpful deals which may rival Motability’s, for example, Kia offer 7 years warranty with up 100,000 miles, and Renault offers 4 years warranty with 60,000 miles, 4 years European Cover, 4 years free service and 4 years finance option.
- You can get a 50% reduction in vehicle tax if you get the PIP standard rate mobility component.
- If you are on DLA Higher Rate or PIP (Personal Independence Payment) you are exempt from paying: Dartford Crossing and Congestion Charge.
- Wheelchair users do not pay VAT for purchasing, leasing or hiring a vehicle designed or adapted for your own personal or domestic use