Motability, Blue Badge and Road Tax

Motability

Motability is a national charity which can provide cars and other vehicles (such as powered wheelchairs and scooters) for anyone who receives a Mobility component of a disability benefit.

They have produced a simple guide to how Personal independence Payment may affect you at: www.motability.co.uk/about-us/news-and-information/personal-independence-payment

At the moment people who receive the high rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance are able to lease a vehicle through the Motability scheme. When a DLA claim is due for renewal, claimants will be reassessed for Personal Independence Payment, as Disability Living Allowance for adults was replaced by Personal Independence Payments from April 2013.

The rules under Personal Independence Payment state that you need to get the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment to use the Motability scheme.

Anyone currently getting Disability Living Allowance high rate mobility will not necessarily pass the assessment to receive the Personal Independence Payment enhanced rate mobility, and therefore may not be able to continue with their Motability agreement. You will not be able to use the Motability scheme if you do not get this level of award. You will continue to be paid your current amounts of Disability Living Allowance until your assessment for Personal Independence Payment is completed.

If you do not get the Personal Independence Payment award that you need to use the Scheme, you can ask the Department of Work and Pensions to reconsider their decision, and if they still won’t change their mind, you can appeal. During this time you will not be able to keep your Motability vehicle.  You can re-join the scheme if your decision is later changed.

If your claim for Personal Independence Payment is turned down, the Department of Work and Pensions will let you keep your Disability Living Allowance payments for four weeks after they make their decision.  After that, Motability will let you keep your vehicle for up to three weeks after the Disability Living Allowance payments end. They recognise that this will cause difficulties for some people, so they have put transitional protection in place to help.

If you have a car and return your vehicle in good condition within the agreed time, the following support is being offered by Motability:

  • For those who entered into their first leasing agreement with the Motability Scheme before January 2013 and who would not have been aware of PIP and its possible impact when they joined, we will provide transitional support of £2,000
  • For those who joined Motability after January 2013 and up to December 2013,we will provide transitional support of £1,000
  • For customers who have paid an Advance Payment, the Scheme will continue to refund this on a pro-rata basis. No further costs will be applied to customers whose leases end early as a result of PIP
  • The Scheme will offer customers an opportunity to buy their vehicle following the end of the lease. The payments that would otherwise have been received upon returning the vehicle can be directed towards the purchase price
  • The Scheme will work with our suppliers, including RSA and the RAC to provide general information on motoring, insurance and other services outside the Scheme, including information about buying new or used cars and arranging insurance and other services
  • For those customers who lease a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, the Scheme will work with them on a case by case basis to assist them with their future mobility arrangements including, where appropriate, helping them to purchase their current vehicle
  • For customers with adaptations, the Scheme will help them with the cost of fitting the same adaptations to a non-Scheme vehicle

The Motability Scheme will also provide a package of support and advice to customers currently leasing powered wheelchairs or scooters, with the objective of enabling them to purchase their current product where possible.

In 2017 Motability announced an enhancement to their transitional support package, for anyone moving from Disability Living Allowance on to Personal Independence Payment.  They now allow scheme customers to retain the car for up to eight weeks after their Disability Living Allowance payments end, a significant increase from the three weeks they were previously allowed.   In addition customers who are eligible for a transitional support payment will be able to retain their car for up to six months, including during the processes of reconsideration or appeal. For those who take advantage of this option, the level of transitional support payment will be reduced.

See this link for more information about transitional support from Motability: http://www.motability.co.uk/about-the-scheme/unsuccessful-reassessment/

Motability have also issued a statement about what to do if your condition changes.  They say: Lots of our customers experience changes in their condition, both improvements and deterioration, which can mean that your mobility requirements change during the course of your lease. If this is the case there are two important things you need to consider:

  1. If you have a condition or disability that affects your ability to drive, you should notify the DVLA
  2. If changes mean that your Motability Scheme vehicle is no longer appropriate, you should contact our Customer Services team.

See this link for more information: https://news.motability.co.uk/scheme-news/are-you-noticing-changes-that-affect-your-ability-to-drive/

It is also worth looking here https://www.motability.co.uk/cars-scooters-and-powerchairs/adaptations-overview/ if you will need an adaptation to your vehicle.

Equal Lives has received reports of difficulties experienced in accessing the Motability scheme, with the process having more obstacles than expected.  Motability have responded with the following additional information about what to anticipate and prepare for:

  • When a customer places an application for a car or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle through the Motability Scheme they don’t need to have a driving assessment, they do however need to ensure that they are able to safely drive the car. To help make our customers journeys easier or more comfortable, we offer a range of different adaptations which can help customers to drive a car; stow their wheelchair or access the car. Currently less than 7% of applications for the Scheme include adaptations to help the customer drive the car. The vast majority of our customers either do not need driving adaptations, have nominated drivers who drive on their behalf, or are renewing and know which adaptations they need to drive.
  • Where a customer is unsure about what adaptations they need or have never had adaptations before, our recommendation is that the customer speaks to an adaptations installer in the first instance. We also make dealers and customers aware that if they would like independent advice they should contact Driving Mobility who provide independent assessments. If a customer telephones us to ask for an assessment we will help them to arrange this and will pay the cost for the assessment.
  • If a customer contacts DVLA to tell them about a change in their condition, which they must do by law, the DVLA may request that they attend an assessment with Driving Mobility. The recommendations from the assessment will then go back to DVLA and if the recommendation is either to restrict the license to an automatic or codes are needed to be added to the license then it is law that these codes are applied. I had a quick chat with one of the assessors from Driving Mobility, and they have assured me that the only change to licensing codes within the past few years has been purely administrative in terms of the number of code for various adaptations.
  • Follow this link for more information about Driving Mobility https://www.drivingmobility.org.uk/contact/

Blue Badge

Whether you will be automatically entitled to a Blue Badge depends on the award you get under mobility component of Personal Independence Payment.  There are two possible ways to meet the rules:

  • if you have been awarded at least 8 points under the moving around activity (which means your award could be either the standard or the enhanced mobility rate), or
  • in Scotland and Wales if you have been awarded 12 points for the planning and following journeys activity (which means your award is for the enhanced mobility rate).

Even if you don’t have a PIP award you can still apply for a Blue Badge, but you will not have automatic entitlement.  You will probably have to attend an assessment.

The Blue Badge is a small photo ID badge that you put on the dashboard of your car so that you can park closer to your destination if you are disabled. You can park on yellow lines as long as you do not obstruct anyone, but you cannot park where there are ‘no loading’ stripes on the pavement. You can park in disabled bays. In some car parks you will have free parking. In many circumstances there are time limits to how long you can park for.

To apply for a Blue Badge you need to contact your local authority. If you do not know who they are, use the local authority finder at www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council. In Norfolk you can apply online and find more information about how you can use your Blue Badge at https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/disabilities/blue-badges or phone 0344 800 8020.

Changes to Blue Badge scheme

As a result of a Consultation which ran earlier this year, from 2019 onwards (date yet to be announced) people with less obvious disabilities (sometimes known as ‘hidden disabilities’) will also be able to apply for a badge and have the same right to park near a destination as a person with a physical disability.

What are “hidden disabilities”? This is an umbrella term that captures a whole spectrum of conditions, ranging from mental health issues such as depression to physical disabilities which don’t necessarily require the use of wheelchairs or crutches, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Some of the most common “hidden disabilities” include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • Agoraphobia
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Coeliac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colitis
  • Myalgic Encephalopathy or ‘ME’
  • Epilepsy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Lupus
  • Cystic Fibrosis

Who can apply for a blue badge?

Those who will be eligible under the changes include:

  • Those who cannot make a journey without “a risk of serious harm to their health or safety” or that of others, including young children with autism
  • Those for whom journeys cause “very considerable psychological distress”
  • Those with considerable difficulty walking, which covers “both the physical act and experience of walking”

What does the blue badge entitle you to?

The permit usually costs £10 from local authorities and enables you to park in spaces for blue badge holders. In addition, badge holders can also park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours unless there’s a “no loading” sign.

You can also ask for a disabled parking space near your home, however there are different rules about who can apply so you will need to check with your local council to find out if you are eligible.

What difference will the new changes make?

Currently the rules surrounding the blue badge scheme in England do not specifically exclude those with hidden disabilities, however they “are open to interpretation” by local authorities.

Considering that around three out of four blue badge holders say they would go out less often if they did not have one, according to the Department of Transport, it is hoped that the new changes will help to offer greater clarity.

Road Tax

If you get any award of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment, either at standard or enhanced rate, you will get a discount on your Road Tax. If you get standard rate you will get a 50% discount, and if you get enhanced rate you will get 100%.

For more information follow these links:

https://www.disabledmotoring.org/motoring/road-tax-exemption which is about people on enhanced rate mobility PIP (or high rate mobility DLA) who can get a 100% exemption, and https://www.disabledmotoring.org/motoring/road-tax-50-reduction which is about the 50% reduction available to people who get standard rate mobility PIP.

The Gov.UK website also has an outline: https://www.gov.uk/change-vehicle-tax-class/tax-due-to-run-out-or-changing-if-vehicle-is-exempt and there is a downloadable pdf at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/610127/apply-for-free-disabled-tax.pdf

If you require further information or would like a Factsheet in an alternative format you can contact us by calling: 01508 491210, by emailing: info@equallives.org.uk, or by writing to: Equal Lives, 15 Manor Farm Barns, Fox Road, Framingham Pigot, Norfolk, NR14 7PZ.

 

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