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What is Motability?

First established in 1977 to provide affordable, convenient motoring for disabled people and their families, the Motability Scheme is a not-for-profit partnership between the charitable sector, the Government, leading banks, and the motor and insurance industries. It was created to enable disabled people to lease a new car in exchange for their government-funded mobility allowance.

Over 640,000 people avail of the Motability Scheme, giving disabled drivers and passengers an increased level of independence and freedom.

McElmeel Mobility Services is a leading supplier of wheelchair accessible vehicles through the Motability Cars Scheme and the largest supplier of wheelchair accessible mobility cars in Northern Ireland, looking after almost ninety percent of Motability’s adaptations and conversions in Northern Ireland. As a Motability Premier Partner, the premium level for a Motability specialist, McElmeel Mobility Services are renowned for their exceptional standards of customer service.

In a recent independent survey of over 1200 services users of the UK’s largest leasing company for wheelchair accessible vehicles, McElmeel Mobility Services has achieved an unprecedented 4.9 out of 5 in terms of customer satisfaction.

The Motability Car Scheme offers an “all in one” package to take care of so many aspects of day-to-day motoring, leaving you free to get on with your life. If you receive any of the following list;

  • Higher rate Mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance, 
  • Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment,
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment, or,
  • The War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement 

and you have 12 months remaining on your award, then you can qualify for the Motability scheme. This gives you a vehicle that comes with fully comprehensive insurance, free tyre replacement when required, free roadside assistance cover and free servicing.

How does Motability work?

If you qualify for a Motability car you will be able to access a car on a 3-year lease for an adapted vehicle or a 5-year lease on a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. These are brand new vehicles but Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles are also available as a nearly new option. "Nearly New" WAV's are typically leased on a 3-year plan and have a reduced advance payment. Most leases have can be extended if the option is deemed suitable. When you are coming to the end of a lease, Motability also may offer a lease extension which allows you to keep your existing vehicle on the Scheme with insurance, roadside recovery, service, maintenance, repairs, and a possible “Good Condition Bonus”.

As well as directing your Motability allowance to the scheme to form the monthly payment for your vehicle, you might have to make an advance payment contribution. Motability do have a limited range of vehicles which don’t use all of your Motability Payment, however in terms of an adaptation or conversion that has been done on the vehicle, it is likely that you might be required to make some sort of advance payment. The size of the advanced payment for a Motability car is relative to the overall cost of the vehicle, adaptation or conversion.

In some circumstances, where for example your advance payment cost may be prohibitive to getting the best suitable vehicle, you may be given the option of applying for a means tested grant. Please see more information about grant assistance below.

McElmeel Mobility Services offer a wide range of converted vehicles on the Motability Scheme, including the Ford Custom Freeway, Ford Custom Family, Ford Custom Freestyle, Ford Grand Connect Flexi, Ford Connect Freedom, Citroen Berlingo Cruize, Citroen Dispatch, Volkswagen Caddy, Peugeot Partner, Fiat Doblo, and many more.

When you take a vehicle on the Motability scheme include:

  • Fully comprehensive insurance 
  • Free tyre replacement when required 
  • Free roadside assistance cover 
  • Free servicing

Is Motability just for new cars?

When speaking about wheelchair accessible cars, the majority of those which come through Motability are new cars. The main benefit of a new vehicle is that you get a shiny new car which has been purpose built for you, however, sometimes there might be factors in play which mean you are seeking a nearly new vehicle.

Nearly New wheelchair accessible vehicles are, as you would expect, dependant upon availability, but this can be a way of getting a vehilce which would have a prohibitive AP if ordered new. Contract terms are for 3 years as opposed to 5 years and you would expect the vehilce to have some wileage on the clock.

Am I eligible for Motability?

Understanding if you can have a car on the Motability Cars Scheme is very straightforward. If you have a minimum of 12 months remaining on any of the following awards, you are eligible. Parents or guardians of a child aged three years and above, who is receiving HRMC DLA, can also apply on their behalf.

  • Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA)
  • Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement (WPMS)

If you would like some assistance to check your eligibility give us a ring on 028 3752 5333 and we can help you get a better understanding of what you need to do.

Why would I lease a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle through the Motability Scheme?

As a specialist vehicle lease scheme, Motability has continually evolved to deliver an exceptional balance between value for money and providing a scheme which has been designed for disabled drivers, passengers and their families. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to get if you leased your next Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle through the Motability Scheme.

  • The Car - By joining the scheme you will start by getting a brand new car. This car will have been chosen after consultation with yourself and your local Motability Assessor to ensure that it is the best solution for your needs. 
  • Insurance - Even if you don’t drive the car yourself, Motability provides you with an insurance package that provides similar cover to what you might expect with a fully comprehensive package. You can nominate up to two drivers so that someone can drive on your behalf. 
  • Servicing and maintenance – To ensure that there’ll be no unexpected repair bills on your Motability car, all of your regular servicing and maintenance is included, taken care of through your dealer. 
  • Full breakdown assistance from RAC – Homestart, roadside assistance and recovery is part and parcel of your RAC package. The RAC Motability Assist helpline and roadside are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Staff are specially trained to handle your calls.
  • Annual car tax. When you take delivery of your car and for each subsequent year throughout your lease, Motability will arrange for your car to be taxed each year.
  • Replacement tyres. For no extra cost, at your home or work, Kwik Fit will replace tyres worn or damaged by normal use. 
  • Window and windscreen repair or replacement – Window or windscreen , repair and replacement is included in the lease. 
  • Mileage allowance - You get 60,000 mileage allowance on a three-year lease and 100,000 on a five-year lease.
  • Many adaptations included at no extra cost. - Many of the most popular adaptations are available at no additional cost.
  • Nearly New WAV option - Can be leased for three years with little or no Advance Payment

What’s not included?

Although the list above is quite comprehensive, you are still responsible for paying the following:
  • Fuel and consumables.
  • Optional extras not fitted as standard.
  • Certain adaptations may require additional payment.
  • Insurance claims or fines.


Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a Government benefit to help with the extra costs arising from disability. In April 2013, the Government introduced a new benefit - Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - which will gradually replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for disabled people aged between 16 and 64.

Between October 2013 and 2018, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will reassess some two million disabled people aged between 16 and 64, who currently receive DLA, for the new PIP benefit. This reassessment process will include approximately 360,000 of the 620,000 disabled people who currently lease a vehicle through the Motability Scheme. Because PIP is a new benefit with different criteria to DLA, some disabled people may not qualify for mobility support under PIP or may do so at a lower level than they had under DLA.

If you would like some assistance to find out more about DLA and PIP, give us a ring on 028 3752 5333 and we can help you get a better understanding of what you need to do.

How much will the Advance Payment be for my Motability Car?

Most vehicle lease scheme works on the following basis. You subtract the expected value of the vehicle at the end of the lease from the cost at the start, add the maintenance and insurance packages and divide that figure by the number of months in the lease agreement to determine how much you would pay every month. 

The Motability scheme is similar but it works with a set monthly contribution, your Motability allowance, rather than a figure which can be raised or lower to reflect the value of the vehicle. As a result, the difference between a small family car with minimum adaptations and a large converted family car, needs to be dealt with by way of an up front contribution your Advance Payment.

Upfront payments can range from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds and the Motability scheme is very aware that this can impact on people whose needs dictate that they need a more expensive vehicle. As a result of this, Motability offer ways of trying to help you get the vehicle best suited to your needs by way of grant assistance.

If you would like some assistance to check your eligibility for grant assistance, give us a ring on 028 3752 5333 and we can help you get a better understanding of what you need to do.

What if I don’t qualify for Motability?

In some cases you might find yourself in need of a vehicle typically associated with Motability, an adapted vehicle or a wheelchair accessible vehicle, but you don’t qualify for the scheme. If you find yourself in this position, you can pay privately for a vehicle or possibly go for a similar package to the Motability solution.

Even if you aren't taking getting your car through the Motability Scheme, it is worth noting that it has been designed with disabled drivers, passengers and their family in mind. As such it makes sense to go through it to understand some of what you might need to consider. Here at McElmeel’s we can talk you through the whole process and provide suggestions on how you can achieve a similar package, privately.

At McElmeel Mobility Services we have a range of specialists who have decades of experience in our industry. These specialists are the same people who would support you through the Motability process, so you will be able to avail of the same available knowledge. We will start to gather an understanding of your own specific needs, from the adaptations or conversions needed through to having an understanding about how you intend to finance the vehicle. Furthermore, we can support you to understand any maintenance and servicing options you might enquire after.

A new car might not be the solutions so we can also take you through our range of nearly new and second-hand wheelchair accessible conversions. Certain adaptations might also be available for installation onto second-hand vehicles so we will give the best advice and service possible to help you get the most suitable option for you.

Finally, circumstances might dictate that instead of a purchase. you are seeking a long-term lease and this option may also be available to private customers.

Am I too old for Motability?

It is a common misconception that there is an upper age limit in relation to eligibility for the Scheme, however there is a little more to it than that. The confusion arises due the Department of Work and pensions who have an upper age limit of 64 for anyone applying for disability related benefits for the very first time.

Anyone in receipt of one of the relevant allowances before this time remains eligible for the scheme unless there has been a notable change in circumstance.

If you are aged 65 or over and find yourself applying for a disability related benefit for the first time you will be asked to register for Attendance Allowance. Attendance Allowance is not able to used in conjunction with the Motability Scheme.

If you would like assistance checking whether you are eligible for the allowance, contact one of the following agencies:

For enquiries about claiming Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, please telephone 0345 7123 456 or visit the DWP website. If you live in Northern Ireland, please telephone: 0300 1233 356

What is my next step to get a Motability car?

If you think you might qualify for a Motability Vehicle for disabled drivers or passengers, please contact McElmeel Mobility Services on 028 3752 5333 and one of our specialists will talk you through the steps you need to be aware of. McElmeel Mobility Services are constantly marked at over 98% for their customer satisfaction rating so you can be assured that you are dealing with specialists in customer care as well as vehicles for disabled drivers and passengers.

Contact McElmeel Mobility

  • (028) 3752 5333
  • McElmeel Mobility Group
    15 Ballyscandal Road
    Northern Ireland
    BT61 8BL