Picture of the Motability Logo, with circle of petals and the word 'Motability' written next to it

The Motability Scheme: Empowering Disabled People

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You may not know about the Motability Scheme: the 43-year-old initiative that empowers disabled people by enabling them, their families and their carers to lease a brand new car (or other vehicle) using their disability benefit.

But the Scheme, which has now delivered well over four million vehicles, is a critical tool in the quest to widen access for disabled people. Before the scheme was launched in 1977, disabled people were limited to either the Invacar, or the Mobility Allowance, which was introduced in 1976. Neither of these solutions were satisfactory, as the Invacar could not take passengers and the Mobility Allowance was too low to allow the purchase and running of a vehicle.

To address this, the then Health Secretary, David Ennals, invited Lord Goodman and Jeffery Sterling (now Lord Sterling) to devise a scheme that would utilise the Mobility Allowance to help disabled people obtain a vehicle. From this, the Motability Scheme was born; to help oversee the Scheme and to ensure additional funding could be raised, Motability was set up as a charity, and to help administer the Scheme, a company (Motability Operations) was also set up, which has an exclusive contract to carry out this function.

The scheme is simple: rather than receive a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP, if qualified), you can choose any car from a manufacturer that participates in the Motability Scheme, pay an advance payment (if applicable) and then sign over authority for payments to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who will pay the monthly payment directly to Motability Operations. These single monthly payments cover everything including: insurance for two people, vehicle excise duty, servicing with a free replacement vehicle, tyres and breakdown cover.

Today, Motability (through Motability Operations) is the largest fleet operator in Europe and the largest supplier of used cars in the trade. Indeed, if you recently saw a well-priced, low mileage three-year old vehicle on the market, chances are it was previously owned by someone on the Motability Scheme!

As mentioned at the beginning, the Motability Scheme is about empowering and widening access for disabled people. Over the last 43 years, it has created a path to finding full-time work, going shopping, visiting the doctor and many other tasks that were previously difficult or impossible for those who use it.

Empowering individuals and widening access is also what CareCompare aims to do. If you or a relative/friend needs care services at home in the Essex region, click on the link below to start your search!

Please note that the views expressed here are those of the author alone and not necessarily those of any other person or organisation

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