Help, advice, information and resources for disabled people and those living with disability.
For growing numbers of disabled people, whether still working or retired, being 'housebound' is not an option. Community transport services, such as Dial-a-Ride and Shopmobility schemes, and social car schemes run by voluntary organisations, can help solve some travel and shopping problems but, for many, the spontaneity and convenience afforded by the 'private car' is essential to leading a full, active life.
Whether you want to be able to drive or simply need a practical solution to enable you to travel as a passenger in the family car, Driving Assessment and Training Centres can provide advice and information on vehicles and equipment. Medical, physical and engineering assessments are tailored to individual needs to help you achieve safe, cost-effective mobility.
Centre facilities may include a computerised static assessment module (on an indoor rig) for measuring limb movement and strength, sight testing equipment, a private test track, and special vehicles catering to a variety of disabilities.
Services generally include:
The Forum of Mobility Centres helps to coordinate the work of UK mobility centres by producing literature, helping to develop policies, supporting new centres and promoting research. See www.mobility-centres.org.uk to find out more.
Any disabilities must be reported to the DVLA when applying for a licence, or when they occur if a licence is already held.
Mobility Centres can offer advice and assistance, but the decision as to whether or not a person is fit to drive rests with the DVLA.
Any vehicle that is used for a disabled person (whether they are the driver or passenger) may be exempt from road tax. To get exemption, you must be receiving either the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or the enhanced rate of the Personal Independence Payment, receiving a War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement or have an invalid carriage (the legal term for a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair with a maximum speed of 8mph on the road).
The vehicle must be registered in the name of the disabled person or in the name of a driver authorised to act on your behalf (known as the nominee). You will still need to apply for a tax disc and display the 'nil value disc', even if you don't need to pay for vehicle tax.
Before you can get a free tax disc, you'll need to apply for an exemption certificate from the agency that issues your benefit. The exemption certificate will show your name and that of the nominee if you have nominated someone to drive for you. If your car is being used by the nominee or someone else for his or her personal needs, the tax exemption will be lost.
We have compiled a full guide to the Motability Scheme separately - Our Motability Scheme Guide.
The Blue (formerly Orange) Badge Scheme provides a national arrangement of on street parking concessions enabling people with severe walking difficulties who travel as either drivers or passengers to park close to their destinations. The Scheme applies to people who meet one or more of the following criteria:
The parent of a child who is less than three years old may apply for a Blue Badge if their child has a specific medical condition which means that they must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment or they need to be kept near their vehicle at all times so that they can be treated in their vehicle or quickly taken to a hospital for treatment.
The Scheme is administered by local authorities who deal with applications and issue badges. NB: Some London boroughs and other town centres don't operate this scheme, so you should always check whether the scheme is running before parking with your blue badge.
The Department for Transport has produced an explanatory booklet - 'The Blue Badge Scheme: rights and responsibilities in England' - explaining the Scheme in more detail (see www.dft.gov.uk for this and other publications).
The Blue Badge Improvement Service came into effect in April 2012 with the aim of cutting down on abuse of the system and ensuring only those eligible for the scheme will be accepted. To check the fees (for badges) and if you are eligible, please contact your local authority in the first instance. You may be asked to see an independent mobility assessor when you apply for a badge.
On 25 January 2013, Norman Lamb, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, announced that the government will endeavour to maintain a legislative link between the Blue Badge Scheme and Personal Independence Payments, with people scoring eight or more in the 'moving around' activity of PIP being automatically eligible for a Blue Badge.
We have produced a Disability Advice booklet which contains a substantial amount of extra information:
Download your copy of this guide by selecting your area from the dropdown list above.
We have a specific page with more information about caring for people in their own home. Read our Homecare Advice for the Disabled.