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How can you alter your car for your mobility needs?

The Motability scheme is a great tool for anyone who has a disability to be able to continue their everyday life. However, although many know they can get a car, not everyone knows to what extent they can alter it to suit their needs. Here, we look at what the Motability scheme is, and how you can change your vehicle.

What is the Motability scheme and am I entitled?

First things first, let’s look at what the scheme can mean for you. The scheme was set up in 1978 to allow disabled people to be able to move more freely so they aren’t confined to their home. Since then, over four and a half million cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs have been provided to those who require them.

There are several ways in which you may qualify for the scheme. If you currently receive benefits due to a disability or illness that limits your movement, you can use this benefit to pay for certain Motability vehicles. These could include anything from a car, to a mobility scooter or a powered wheelchair. However, it’s important to remember that you will be leasing the vehicle and if your benefits stop, then you’ll need to return it.

Other scenarios in which you could claim are:

  • If you have received Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) or War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement for at least 12 months.
  • If you’ve been awarded the enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for a minimum of 12 months.
  • If you have received the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for at least one year.

You may also be able to claim and choose a car for someone else to drive if you don’t own a licence yourself. Similarly, you can claim for a Motability vehicle for a child who is over three years old and requires transportation.

How can I alter my vehicle?

Perhaps surprisingly, there are over 400 adaptations that you can choose from if you need to alter your car. These devices are fitted to help you get the most out of your travelling experience and make you as comfortable as possible. It’s normal that customers choose their adaptations before they lease the car, meaning that any required maintenance will be covered in the cost of your lease. However, it’s still possible to make changes after your lease begins, but you will then risk paying for maintenance as well as needing to seek authorization for any changes to your vehicle.

There are three types of adaptations you can choose from: driving, stowage and access. They can vary from a simple attachment, to removing the existing controls and replacing them with a system that has been individually designed for you. Driving adaptations can include hand controls, electronic accelerators, left foot accelerators, pedal modifications, steering aids and remote-control devices.

For those who use a wheelchair, stowage can be an issue in a regular car. On the Motability scheme, you can adapt your car by introducing either a boot hoist or rooftop stowage unit. Both work via the touch of a button to easily store your equipment. These stowage systems are also transferrable if you change your vehicle.

Also, if you aren’t mobile, getting into a vehicle can sometimes be a hard task. With transfer plates, electric person hoists and swivel seats, there are options available to aid you. All of these adaptations can be demonstrated before you choose the one that best suits your needs.

You can also modify your car in the same way you could with a car outside of the Motability scheme. These optional extras include the likes of a spoiler, alloy wheels, parking sensors and a car stereo. Once you return you car, you don’t have to remove any modifications, but if you do, you’ll have to pay to restore the vehicle to its original condition.

Motability vehicles are a great help to those who require them and by knowing that you can adapt them in ways to help you, the Motability Scheme is one that is definitely worth looking into if you’re disabled.

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To find a full list of adaptations and modifications, visit the Motability Site

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