Disability Living Allowance rule changes see thousands lose their vehicles
By Frances Waight
For nearly 40 years, the Motability charity has helped more than four million people to get mobile, helping them to lease a car or scooter through a mobility allowance.
However changes to the Disability Living Allowance have, according to a BBC News report [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35476904], resulted in more than two per cent of Motability’s customers – some 14,000 disabled people – losing their mobility vehicle.
Until recently, anyone receiving the highest rate of the ‘mobility component’ of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was eligible for the scheme by completing a form and, once accepted on to the scheme, did not have to reapply. Now, under the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) scheme, which is replacing DLA, applicants have to attend a face-to-face assessment and record at least 12 points on the scoring system if they are to keep their mobility allowance.
BBC News says Motability has seen around 51,200 people join the scheme using PIP. Of those previously on higher-rate DLA, 31,200 people have so far been reassessed for PIP, and of those, 55 per cent – or 17,300 – have kept their car. The remaining 45 per cent – 13,900 people – have lost the higher rate and therefore their vehicle as well.
The Government – which is looking to save £2 billion a year – says it’s a fair system and, if the decision goes against an applicant, then they have the right of appeal. Critics, such as the action group Disability Rights UK, say that people are not being assessed properly and are being dispossessed of their vehicles, impacting massively on their independence.
For its part, Motability is providing support packages, including grants, to people forced out of the Motability scheme through a benefits reassessment.
Whatever the rights or wrongs, one thing is clear – some people who have been used to having the constant availability of an adapted vehicle now find themselves with that lifeline denied. Adapted Vehicle Hire is here to help on those occasions when an adapted car or a wheelchair accessible vehicle is absolutely vital to enable you to make a special journey.
AVH can supply vehicles for a day, a week or a month or longer, and meets the needs of hundreds of disabled drivers, wheelchair users and carers, with a wide range of transport options for those with all manner of disabilities.
All our adapted cars have as standard a left-foot accelerator and single-lever push-pull hand control, and further special adaptations are available as required. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles offer one and two wheelchair positions.
AVH has also recently launched a flexible long-term rental plan, which offers the option to those unable or unwilling to buy a car or to enter into a lease to enjoy the benefit of a flexible rental with no lengthy commitment. The minimum rental period is 28 days and there’s a generous monthly mileage allowance. After the minimum period is up, the vehicle can be returned at any time.