A full guide to Motability

  • All you need to know about the Mobility scheme
  • Find out what it is, who qualifies and what you get
  • Disabled drivers could claim a free car on existing benefits

To see changes to the Motability scheme made in October 2011 please click here.

What is it?

Motability is a charity which helps disabled people to lease a car, powered wheelchair or scooter using their government-funded allowances.

It's effectively a ‘one-stop shop', covering the vehicle, insurance, servicing, breakdown cover and any modifications required to help with driving.

Many car dealerships will be able to help you with Motability - there are over 4,000 cars currently involved in the scheme, and over 4,500 Motability dealerships willing and able to help you choose.

Over half of the scheme's participants just transfer their monthly government allowance straight over and don't pay anything else on top, but for some higher-spec or more expensive models additional money may be required in the form of one payment at the start of the contract hire lease period. There are 300 vehicles available with no payment at all, so unless you need something much bigger or more specialist then you should be able to find something to suit your needs without paying too high a lump sum.

The scheme may also be able to help with financial assistance so you're able to afford the mobility solution you need. For example, you may need cash to fund vehicle adaptions, driving lessons or a larger wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Once an application is accepted, the customer will enter into a contract hire agreement in which they make one monthly payment to Motability to cover all costs - this payment is covered by your allowances. There may also be an initial payment required, depending on the price and spec of the car you're interested in.

It is also possible to use a hire purchase agreement to buy a car, but be aware that doing so means you don't get servicing, maintenance or breakdown cover.

How do you apply?

There are three steps to applying for Motability:

  1. Choose the car you want
  2. Find a dealer using the Motability 'find a dealer' tool
  3. Order your car through Motability

Who qualifies?

The scheme is available to anyone who has 12 months or more remaining on either their Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (currently £51.40 per week) or their War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement (currently 57.40 per week).

Although around two thirds of people applying drive themselves, non-drivers can apply for a car. Parents and carers can also apply on behalf of a child.

If you apply there will be no medical assessments and no waiting lists. You just need to decide whether to apply for the Car Scheme or the Powered Wheelchair and Scooter scheme.

The car scheme

If you decide you'd like to apply for the car scheme you get:

  • A brand new car every three years (or wheelchair accessible vehicle - WAV - every five years)
  • Insurance
  • Servicing and maintenance
  • Full breakdown cover
  • A mileage allowance of 60,000 miles (or 100,000 for WAVs)
  • A selection of vehicle modifications at no extra cost to enable the driver to make full use of the car
  • You choose from a huge range of cars from major manufacturers, with many cars available for little more than your allowance amount.

The wheelchair and powered scooter scheme

This scheme works in a similar way to the car scheme, and promises:

  • A brand new powered wheelchair or scooter of your choice every three years, from a range of over 200 vehicles
  • Standard pricing over the whole country
  • Insurance
  • Servicing and maintenance
  • Loss and damage protection


Parkers top tip:

Once you've found you qualify for Motability you can check our full reviews of the cars you're looking at to see what they're like.