How does the Motability scheme work?

January 19, 2023 by

We’ve got all the details on the Motability scheme

The Motability scheme is a charitable organisation that works in partnership with the UK Government to help people who receive certain disability benefits fund a new car.

Those in receipt of such benefits can exchange them for a brand-new car, which they will have for three years before they can swap if for a new model. People who need a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) keep their cars for five years. Electric mobility scooters and wheelchairs are also available through Motability.

Who is eligible for the Motability scheme?

You must be in receipt of one of six specific disability benefits in order to qualify for a Motability car. These comprise:

  • PIP – higher rate mobility part of Personal Independence Payment
  • DLA – higher rate mobility part of Disability Living Allowance
  • Scottish higher rate mobility component of Child Disability Payment
  • Scottish enhanced rate mobility part of Adult Disability Payment
  • AFIP – Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • WPMS – War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement

How does the Motability scheme work?

If you receive one of the above benefits and sign up to Motability, the benefits are paid directly to the charity, which in turn organises payment to the car dealer.

Some more expensive cars available through Motability require an ‘Advanced Payment’, which is a one-off fee paid directly from your own funds in addition to your weekly benefits going to Motability.

Advanced payments can be anything from £95 to as much as £7,500, depending on the car. Grants are available from Motability to help with advanced payments, though.

Petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars are all available through Motability, as are cars with manual and automatic gearboxes.

Franchised car dealers are almost all well set-up for Motability customers, and some will even have desiccated members of the sales team who specialise in the scheme. An estimated

People using the Motability scheme are not allowed to travel further than 60,000 miles over three years, though as around three times the UK average mileage, you should be okay. WAVs have a 100,000-mile limit over five years.

Some WAVs allow wheelchair users to drive the car without getting out of their chair

You don’t have to be able to drive to make use of Motability: you can nominate a friend or family member to drive the car, though they must live within five miles of you. You do not have to be in it for every journey, but shopping, visiting family or friends, and other routine trips must be for your benefit.

You do not own a Motability car – instead, you are using your benefit payments to rent it via a personal contract hire agreement (also known as leasing).

What else does the Motability scheme cover?

Insurance, servicing and breakdown cover are all included with Motability cars, while the charity will organise for a home chargepoint to be fitted if you choose an electric car.

Cars can also be fitted with adaptations that make it possible or easier for people with some disabilities to drive them. Adaptations include things like hand controls for the accelerator and brake, or a driver’s seat that swivels out to aid ingress and egress.

Many adaptations can be fitted for free if you ask for them when you order the car, though you may need to pay extra for complex installations, or if you need adaptations part-way through the lease. Grants are available from Motability to help fund adaptations.

What cars are on the Motability scheme?

Cars from most major manufacturers are available through Motability, with vehicles from Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Citroen, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Skoda, and many more included. Generally speaking cars that cost £27,000 or less are available with no Advanced Payment, while those .

We’ve put together a list of the best cars available through the Motability scheme to give you an idea of what’s out there.

How do you pay for a Motability car?

Unless you are making an Advanced Payment, you don’t hand over money directly for a Motability car – instead, your disability benefit is taken directly. Payments are made every month, with the Department for Work and Pensions transferring your benefits to Motability, who in turn pay the car’s finance company.

If the car’s monthly cost is less than your mobility benefit, you receive the remainder of the funds in the conventional manner.

How to get a Motability car

Assuming you receive one of the benefits outlined above, you can browse Motability’s list of available cars, and book an appointment directly with a dealer to take a test drive. You can also apply for one directly with Motability.

Motability scheme FAQs

How much is the Motability allowance?

There isn’t really such a thing as a ‘Motability allowance’; rather, a Motability car is taken from a portion of certain disability benefits.

Taking the Personal Independence Payment as an example, there are two parts to this benefit: the daily living part, which is for the costs associated with everyday life, and the mobility part, which is specifically aimed for transport needs.

There are two levels for both of these payments, and the nature of your disability will determine which level you get.

The weekly amounts paid are:

Daily living lower: £61.85
Daily living higher: £92.40
Mobility lower: £24.45
Mobility higher: £64.50

The mobility part of the PIP is what is paid to Motability, so if you are a higher rate claimant, £258 will be paid to Motability every four weeks.

Does a Motability car have to be brand new?

When you take delivery of it, yes – all cars offered under the Motability scheme are brand new; used cars are not eligible.

How long does it take to get a Motability car?

Getting a Motability car used to be a relatively quick process, but delays linked to a global shortage of car parts means it can take four to six months, depending on the model of car.

Can I buy my Motability car?

Possibly, but you will need to discuss this with Motability, who can only have this conversation with you in the final three months of your lease.

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