People often think that the Motability car scheme has an upper age limit, and while that’s partly true, drivers with a disability (and non-drivers who want someone else to drive for them) who are over the UK state pension age can still lease a Motability car in certain circumstances.
The eligibility criteria to join the Motability Scheme is the same for people with a disability over the age of 66 as is it for people under 66. To qualify, you need to currently receive one of the following allowances (and have at least 12 months remaining on your award):
The confusion arises because the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has an upper age limit for anyone applying for one of the disability-related DWP benefits for the first time.
The upper age limit in the UK is the equalised state pension age for men and women, which in 2021 increased from 65 to 66. Further increases in the state pension age are planned – it will eventually rise to 68 – although the precise timetable is yet to be confirmed.
If you currently receive one of these qualifying Mobility Allowances, you can exchange all or a part of it to pay for the lease of a brand new car or a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) through the Motability Scheme.
If you are 66 or older and you develop care needs because of a mental or physical disability, you can not apply for PIP, DLA or the ADP (Scotland only). You will instead be asked to apply for the Attendance Allowance. The Attendance Allowance is a tax-free, non-means tested benefit paid to people over state pension age to help with the extra costs associated with their disability.
Unfortunately, the Attendance Allowance cannot be used to lease a vehicle through the Motability Scheme. The Attendance Allowance is meant to provide extra money to pay for the care of the claimant, not necessarily their mobility.
So, the short answer is this: if you are still in receipt of one of the qualifying DWP mobility allowances when you reach 66, you can lease a Motability vehicle.
*The exception is that the age limit rule doesn't apply to veterans. Veterans UK confirmed to us that there is no age limit for someone to apply for either the War Pension Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independent Payment (AFIP).
When asked in January 2023 what his department is doing to support people over the age of 66 with mobility issues Tom Pursglove, the Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions wrote: 'Attendance Allowance is intended to help those with a severe disability who have long term care or supervision needs which arise after reaching State Pension Age. It has never included a mobility component, and so cannot be used in payment for a leased Motability Scheme vehicle. Government mobility support is focused on people who are disabled earlier in life, as developing mobility needs in older life is a normal consequence of ageing. While the intention is for Attendance Allowance to cover the need for care or supervision that an individual may face as a result of their disability, there is no constraint on what the benefit can be used for, and individual recipients can choose to use their Attendance Allowance to fund mobility aids'.