For people with mobility needs or disabilities, sometimes the additional cost of living can mean that they miss out on things that the rest of us wouldn’t. I’m not an expert on benefits and allowances but I do know a little about the Motability scheme as my mum is registered disabled and uses it. Whilst this scheme is more commonly used to allow people with disabilities to get a car, it can also be used to allow them access Mobility Scooters. The premise is simple – if you are receiving the higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement or Armed Forces Independence Payment then you can exchange your weekly payment to lease a new vehicle (which can be a car, motorised wheelchair or a mobility scooter-whichever is most appropriate for your needs).
At the moment, it is most suitable for my mum to have a car, but as her health deteriorates, which unfortunately it will due to the nature of her condition, a mobility scooter may end up being more suitable.
Through the scheme her car is leased to her for a period of three years, from new. At the end of the three years she hands back the car to the dealer and gets a different car from new. The handed back vehicles are then sold on by the dealer – and this is often a great way for people to get a second hand car with low mileage and which is well maintained (I personally have had a former motability car and it was a brilliant little car).
The payments are taken automatically, and covers the tax and insurance of the vehicle, as well as the servicing. For a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair, again, you can get a vehicle from new for three years. Servicing, maintenance and repairs are covered under the scheme, as well as relevant insurance, replacement tyres and batteries and breakdown assistance.
I know for my mum, and other scheme users that I have met, the added reassurance of being in the scheme and the peace of mind that gives is in fact priceless.
If you are not eligible to take part in the Motability scheme, but still feel that you would benefit from a motorised scooter or wheelchair, it is definitely worth shopping around and finding companies who are registered with the scheme anyway. By being registered that means that they have to meet certain criteria so are likely to provide great customer service. They may also be able to assist you with advising which products are VAT exempt and therefore help you to make a saving there. Your doctor or therapy team may be able to make recommendations as to who to contact too.