Motability scheme – how does it work?

For many people, a Motability Scheme car means the chance to get a job, go to college or simply enjoy life to the full, a freedom that many of us take for granted. Since it was set up as a registered charity in 1977, Motability has provided over 2 million cars and powered wheelchairs. The Scheme currently represents 6% of all new car sales in the UK. We cover all aspects of the Motability scheme, from choosing your car to adapting your vehicle.


Most major car manufacturers are fully committed to giving disabled drivers a good deal on their choice of new car. After all, the reliability that a brand-new model has to offer often proves invaluable to people with disabilities. Visit your local car dealerships and you will generally find a Motability specialist fully trained to guide you through their latest model range and answer your questions. Furthermore, the choice of vehicles on offer under the Scheme is wider than ever, with many available on low or no advance payment terms.

The Scheme has changed quite a bit in recent times, now offering a wider range of models, a more comprehensive selection of low advance payments and a pledge to eliminate the uncertainty of constantly changing prices. The introduction of a fixed three-monthly price list for Motability vehicles addresses the latter point and will help customers choose their new cars knowing that advance payment prices won’t fluctuate unexpectedly from one month to the next.  In future, price lists will be published and fixed every three months.

As far as the wider range of choice is concerned, there’s been a 12% increase in the number of cars available at the ‘under £250 advance payment’ point and 5% more choice in cars available with advance payments of under £500.

Today, almost 400,000 disabled people and their families benefit from Motability. Here’s how it works:

Disabled people can use their government-funded disability allowances to lease or buy a car, powered wheelchair/scooter through one of three main schemes:

  •  A new car on a three-year contract hire lease.

  •  A new or used car on hire purchase, over a term of two to five years.

  •  A new or used powered wheelchair, or scooter on hire purchase, over a term of one to three years.

By far the most popular scheme is the Contract Hire Scheme, which offers disabled people a brand-new car of their choice, from a wide-ranging list of approved manufacturers, on a three-year lease. All maintenance and servicing costs are included, together with comprehensive insurance and breakdown assistance.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to join the Motability Scheme, applicants must be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance, or the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement, which must be awarded for at least 12 months. Children from the age of three and non-drivers can also apply for cars as passengers, provided they receive the correct allowance.

Once a customer has chosen which scheme they wish to join, they then agree to contribute all, or part of their allowance to Motability, depending on their choice of car/ wheelchair, for the duration of their contract hire, or hire purchase agreement. In the event that a customer’s DLA award is not renewed to cover the full length of their chosen scheme, the car must be returned to Motability but there will be around three months between the cancellation and the return-by date to allow sufficient time for alternative arrangements to be made.

Motability Accredited Suppliers

All Motability Scheme cars and wheelchairs/scooters are available through a national network of over 3,500 Motability Accredited Suppliers. To become accredited, the suppliers are regularly inspected on-site to meet a set of standards, which are set in order to ensure that all customers receive a first-class service.

Adaptations to cars

For most Motability customers’ needs, a standard production car is suitable. However, special adaptations are needed for around 10% of customers, to enable them to drive safely, or travel in comfort as a passenger.

Providing additional financial help

Motability also awards various grants to help those customers who need additional financial help. These grants go towards a range of essential vehicle adaptations and conversions, extra payments towards a chosen car and to assist in the funding of Driving Lessons.

As well as administering government-funded grants, Motability makes its own charitable grants. Motability’s Fundraising team exists to help meet this demand and raises money in a variety of ways, with the help of individual supporters, corporate support and events, trusts and appeals and employee fundraising initiatives.

For further information about Motability and its various schemes, please contact 0300 456 4566, or visit your local accredited dealership. To locate your nearest dealership, logon to the Motability website at

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