When you’re disabled, getting places can be a massive struggle. Public transport is equipped to help you regardless of your disability, but it’s not always a perfect solution. And just because you are not able-bodied should not mean that you don’t get to experience the freedom of driving. Owning a license and a car allows you to experience independence that you possibly don’t feel in other aspects of your life, even for people without a disability, the freedom that a car can give isn’t something many people would be happy to give up. But how do you know if you’re ready for a mobility car?
The mobility car scheme has been around for over a decade, but has been improved and expanded over time. Many car companies have recently expanded their range of cars available, like the Mercedes-Benz mobility range. And it does sound like a great option for everyone who qualifies, but it might not be right for you.
Let’s start with who qualifies at all: you have to be registered as disabled, and have been awarded the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for 12 months or more, the enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for 12 months or more, or Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) or War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement for 12 months or more.
You also need to be able to pay for the car. It is often a reduced rate from a normal finance car, and is helped by your allowance. However, it is still over a hundred pounds out of your account each month. Insurance is mostly included in that price, so no need to worry about overpaying there, but fuel is not. So work out whether you can afford the car before hand. There is a range of cars and, therefore, price tariffs for you to look at, so don’t worry too much if you have a smaller budget.
If you’re going to be driving any car, you need a full, legal license. However, if you’re not going to drive the car, you could still be eligible for a mobility car. Gov.uk states that you can have a mobility car and assign up to two people to drive it for you. As long as it’s for your use and in your name, you don’t actually have to drive. Which is a perfect option if you’re visually impaired, have an expired license, or can’t physically drive for other reasons. You can also have a named secondary driver even if you’re the main driver – making those bad days and hospital trips so much easier to manage.
Do you actually need a car? You might like the idea, but if you’re fine with public transport or the help of friends and family, is it worth the monthly payment? If you’re happy to go ahead, then do. But give it some thought as you are tied into a contract when you sign up for a mobility car.