The Motability Scheme is a government-backed initiative that allows disabled people to use their weekly Mobility Allowance to cover the cost of leasing a vehicle. Over the past few decades, it has helped thousands of people with a disability and their loved ones get mobile in a brand new car. But does the scheme represent good value for money? Let's take a look at what Motability is, who is eligible for it, and some of the pros and cons of using it.
The Motability Scheme leases cars, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs to people who receive certain qualifying Mobility Allowances. The scheme has been running since 1978 and has helped many disabled people get mobile who may otherwise be unable to afford to.
So, if you (or someone you care for) receive a qualifying mobility benefit, you can use this to pay towards the cost of leasing a car or another solution.
The different types of Mobility Allowances that can be used on the scheme are:
Almost all of the costs associated with car ownership, like insurance, breakdown cover, and servicing are covered by the scheme. However, you are responsible for some additional costs - the main one being fuel. If you need an specialist adaptation (to make the vehicle more accessible or easier to drive) some are covered, but other more complex adaptations are not, so you may have to pay for these too.
If you're eligible for the Motability Scheme, you can lease a car through one of the 4,000+ Motability-accredited car dealerships. To find your nearest dealership, use the 'Find Dealer' tool on the Motability website or here on the 'Find A Disability Motoring Specialist' section of the MotaClarity website.
You'll find a large range of cars from most of the major brands are available to lease through the scheme. You are a little bit limited if you want an electric car, but the number of different electric vehicles that you can order is growing all the time.
When you visit a dealership to view, test drive and order your Motability vehicle, you must bring your ID and proof of your eligibility for the scheme, for example the certificate of entitlement issued by the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions).
Joining the scheme is really easy. The Motability Specialist at the dealership will handle everything, with no forms or paperwork, no medical questions and no credit checks.
Depending on the vehicle you choose, you may have to pay what's known as an Advance Payment upfront. Some cheaper models are available without an Advance Payment, but most do require some additional money upfront. If an Advance Payment is needed, this needs to be paid in full before the lease starts and you take delivery of the car.
Once the lease has started, your Mobility Allowance benefit payment will be automatically passed to the Motability Scheme every four weeks to pay for the lease of the vehicle, so you don't need to worry about anything.
The Motability Scheme is open to disabled people who receive one of the qualifying Mobility Allowance benefits stated above. However, you must have at least 12 months left on your benefit award to qualify. If your payments are due to stop in less than 12 months, you will not be able to order a vehicle. If you are not currently receiving one of the qualifying allowances but you believe you may be entitled to them, you can apply through the correct benefits agency and if successful make yourself eligible for the Motability Scheme.
Even if you do not drive, you can still use the Motability Scheme to lease a car and nominate up to 3 people to drive it for you. You can also apply for a car through the Motability Scheme on behalf of a child, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria and they are over the age of 3.
If you want to use your vehicle for work purposes, it’s a good idea to ask permission first just to check that what you’ll be doing is acceptable. Motability will also let you use the vehicle for voluntary or charitable work in most circumstances. Contact Motability on the phone or in writing and ask. Some uses will be allowed while others won't. Travelling salespeople, for example, will usually be granted permission. But taxi drivers and delivery drivers will not.
Absolutely. The Motability Scheme is one of the best ways to get a car if you or someone you care for are disabled. It takes away all of the stress and hassle of owning a car and it's open to everyone who meets the eligibility criteria. You can choose from a great range of vehicles and there are no hidden costs. All you pay for is the fuel. The alternative is to pay for the vehicle yourself, which could well be much harder to manage financially. You will also need to find the money for all the added extras like breakdown cover, servicing, insurance and any modifications or adaptations your vehicle needs.
Motability's buying power is impressive. In 2021 Motability Scheme vehicles accounted for around 12% of UK car registrations, which means they're able to negotiate great deals for their customers. In fact, according to Motability's own figures their vehicles (together with the all-inclusive motoring package) are around 43% cheaper to lease because of their 'economies of scale, operational efficiencies and a VAT concession' from the UK government.
Joining the scheme is easy, with no forms or paperwork, no medical questions, no waiting lists and no credit checks.
So, if you're looking for a new car and you're eligible, we think you should definitely consider the Motability Scheme.
The main advantage of the Motability Scheme is that it takes away a lot of the worry and anxiety that comes with owning your own car. All of the costs associated with car ownership are covered by the scheme, so you don't need to worry about anything. You can also choose from a fantastic range of brand new cars from almost all of the major mainstream brands and some premium carmakers. And if you choose an electric vehicle, a no-cost charging solution is now included as a part of the package, which includes the option of a fitted home charging point.
The scheme also covers the cost of many alterations to the vehicle to make it more accessible for you. If you had to cover these costs yourself, it would soon add up as some of the specialist adaptations can be very expensive.
If you're a wheelchair user, for an additional £100 you can choose a brand-new lightweight manual wheelchair when you order your next Motability Scheme vehicle.
There's also a brilliant money-back reward called the 'Good Condition Bonus'. At the end of your lease, Motability could pay you £600 (or £900 for WAVs) if the car hasn't suffered any serious damage. Many customers choose to use this money to help with the cost of any Advance Payment for their next Motability Scheme vehicle.
It's hard to find many disadvantages of the Motability Scheme. One of the things that you may potentially have trouble with is the Advance Payment, which can be quite expensive on some vehicles and isn't refunded at the end of the lease. On the plus side, the Charitable Grants scheme (run by the Motability Charity) may be able to help you out if the Advance Payment for the vehicle you need or the cost of an adaptation is out of your price range.
The standard Motability car lease lasts for 3 years, and like all leases (and contract hire agreements) at the end of the contract you will not own the vehicle. Most people simply choose to lease another Motability vehicle, but it is possible to purchase the car. To find out how much it will cost, get in touch with the Motability Customer Services team in the final three months of your lease.
There's also a mileage limit of 60,000 miles over the course of a 3-year car lease. If you exceed this, you will have to pay 5p per mile. For most people, this won't be a problem, but if you do a lot of driving then it's something you should bear in mind.
Finally, if for any reason you stop receiving your qualifying benefit, you will have to return the vehicle back to Motability.
Despite these downsides, Motability could still give you a level of freedom and independence that you may not otherwise have.
It's such an amazing package, customer satisfaction has been independently measured at 98% for around a decade.
Where else can you lease an affordable new car that comes with insurance for up to 3 named drivers, maintenance and servicing, tyre and windscreen cover, full breakdown cover and a huge 20,000 mile a year driving allowance included?
Like the idea of joining over 600,000 Motability customers who already enjoy the peace of mind that comes with every car? Start your search for a Motability car today!