PIP award for 16 year old

My son has just received his determination for PIP and has been awarded enhanced rates for both elements, which surprised us as we felt we were erring on the side of under-playing his disability when we completed the form.

He is 16yo with Downs Syndrome and the determination says it will be reviewed in 10 years time, again a surprise for us.

In the past he has had DLA with the lower rate mobility and the middle rate for care, and as he is a child living at home with parents we felt that was more than generous overall.

My wife is appointee for his benefits, but I’m very conscious that these benefits are *his* not ours. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say it made me wonder whether accessing a motability vehicle through use of PIP would be advantageous for us as a family, through which of course he would be benfitting - for practical purposes, he is just a part of the family and is expecting to live with us for at least the next 5 years I would say.

At 16yo clearly owning his own vehicle in the context of living with family doesn’t make much sense, but equally he doesn’t need or use £60 worth of taxis etc in a week to get around. We do ferry him around to various extra-curricular stuff which cater for his needs, and whilst we are happy to do this because he’s our son and don’t *need* the financial support of the DWP to help us do that, it does feel a bit like the system is creating a legitimate transaction between us and him. And if we weren’t financially well enough off to sustain these expenses, and many families are not, having these additional costs supported through PIP would be doing what it is supposed to do - enabling our son to access services which help to support his growth into independence.

He will of course improve over the next 5-10 years in terms of independence, and we will make sure that if his levels of independence increase because he learns to be safe outside of the home etc, we would inform DWP and ensure that his scores were re-assessed.

But in the meanwhile, does anyone else have experience of this sort of situation where I’m sure plenty of families would be taking up the motability offer because they need it, whereas for us it would just be a case of being able to replace the 10 year old second car that we have with a newer one funded by motability, and if anything did change (e.g. he move out of home age 18 for example) the car would of course go with him?
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Comments

  • poppy12345
    poppy12345 Posts: 17,947 Forumite
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    The only issue here is that car could only be used for his purpose and not for yours. Yes, if he did move out in the future then the car would have to give with him too but you would still be able to use the car for his purpose.



    Whether or not you and your son decide to use the mobility part of his award for a car is your choice but not being able to use it for your purpose will make it more difficult for who ever the main driver is.
  • larkim
    larkim Posts: 253 Forumite
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    Thanks poppy. My understanding though of the motability scheme is that it is reasonably generous with the type of use and my son would not have to be the purpose of each and every journey.

    Reading from the motability website:-
    “The car is used by, or for the benefit of, the disabled person. This does not mean that the disabled person needs to be in the car for every journey. In practice, this means other named drivers in the household can use the car for shopping and other routine activities, as long as the disabled customer will benefit“

    Would me using the car to commute whilst he is at college be in breach of that? I can see plenty of low income households where the motability vehicle would be the only car, and it would be nonsensical for the parent not to be able to use the car to get to work to provide for the family for example.

    I think what I’m wrestling with is that PIP being non-means tested means that families like ours who don’t actually need the benefit get the chance to make slightly different decisions around the use of the money than many other families might.

    If we didn’t access motability, the only correct thing for us to do is to put the money in a bank account in his name, but then all that would do would be accumulate and the place him in a benefits disadvantage at the point at which he is independent of our home and is accessing other support such as housing benefit etc to allow him to live independently.
  • Tigsteroonie
    Tigsteroonie Posts: 24,954 Forumite
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    larkim wrote: »
    Would me using the car to commute whilst he is at college be in breach of that? I can see plenty of low income households where the motability vehicle would be the only car, and it would be nonsensical for the parent not to be able to use the car to get to work to provide for the family for example.

    Can you leave your workplace in said car to pick up your son if necessary from school/college?

    Will you always be using said car to take him to appointments (as opposed to you parking the car at work so unavailable, and son taking taxis)?

    We've had a Motability car since our son was 3. We did sell our smaller family car. There is no way we could take our UK holidays in that smaller car, not with the level of "everything bar the kitchen sink" that we carry for him - the Motability car is much larger. And yes, some days I will commute to work in that car, it means I can get home much quicker.

    I'm not sure what you're asking. You're only making a commitment for three years, after all; so you can always choose to give up the car again if your son moves out when he is 19.
    :heartpuls Mrs Marleyboy :heartpuls

    MSE: many of the benefits of a helpful family, without disadvantages like having to compete for the tv remote

    :) Proud Parents to an Aut-some son :)
  • poppy12345
    poppy12345 Posts: 17,947 Forumite
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    It is my understanding that you won't be able to use the car for work purposes. Although it is for the benefit of the family that you work, you're still using the car for your benefit. In this situation, what would happen if your son wanted the use of the car for his benefit?



    Whether you need the benefit or not, you're still making use of the mobility vehicle.



    It would be exactly the same if you chose not get the mobility car and just used the road tax, which is free. You wouldn't be able to use the car you tax for any other purpose but the disabled person.



    You're right about one thing though, your son won't have to be in the car for every journey you make.
  • larkim
    larkim Posts: 253 Forumite
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    On the road tax, I think the regulations are stricter. That says "It must only be used for the disabled person’s personal needs. It cannot be used by the nominated driver for their own personal use." which is narrower than the motability definition above.

    I realise I'm struggling to make a coherent point or question, but I think that reflects what I'm trying to resolve!!

    For the last 16 years, we've owned two cars as a family and any time my son has needed transporting anywhere we've either taken him in our own car or paid for appropriate transport out of our own pockets. That won't change whether he's got enhanced PIP or not, because he's our son and because we're financially well enough off not to need PIP / DLA to support his additional needs. So as to the question of whether, if he agreed (following a MCA best interests decision that we support him with) that it was in his best interests to use his PIP to fund a motability car, if he needed to leave college early for whatever reason either my wife or myself would collect him, or we'd fund a taxi etc.

    For practical purposes it makes no difference whether that car is collecting him.

    Fundamentally his access to transport (and our expectation of his access to transport for the foreseeable future) is identical whether he has enhanced PIP or not, simply because of our financial standing.

    Is the morally correct thing to do in that situation then just put the money into a savings account in his name, or is it to start transacting with him for the cost of his journeys simply because he has the financial means to do it?

    If we take the moral high ground and he simply saves the money, he's putting himself in an advantageous position in relation to his peers because of the financial position of my wife and I.

    I suppose I'm just arguing the nonsense of PIP not being means tested, especially for young people living with families. Once he's an adult, especially one living indpendently, it all becomes much clearer and simpler.
  • If you are financially secure, I'm assuming that you don't receive tax credits for him. If that is the case, then he can claim whatever the equivilent of ESA is now (either new style ESA or UC - I'm sorry, I don't know much about it). You would lose your child benefit, but ESA is worth more.

    Now, I realise that as a family, you do not need this money at the moment, but it may be possible to open a trust of some sort to save it in, for his future. I don't know the details, but friends of mine took legal advice and have saved for their daughter in some sort of trust fund. The intention is to use it in the future for supported housing - they wish to buy land and build a bungalow for their daughter and a couple of other disabled people, and carers will support them alongside family.

    If you chose to do this, then any additional money that your son has from his PIP, including unspent mobility payments, can be saved for his future without affecting benefits. Legal advice is obviously necessary. You might want to ask the Down's Syndrome Association, Cerebra, or Contact A Family if they have any information on trusts.
  • larkim
    larkim Posts: 253 Forumite
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    Yes, there are all those things alongside. To be honest, when we were accepted for DLA when he was I think 3 years old I did think the system was a little odd - after all, to all intents and purposes he was a 3 year old and had very few additional costs to us as a family as a consequence of his disability; the odd hospital appointment, some educational aids etc. But not anything that was equivalent to the middle rate carers DLA that we were receiving.

    Helping him to save his money (subject to not exceeding the benefits caps, or using a legitimate trust setup) is of course a good thing and we'll be doing that in any event.
  • poppy12345
    poppy12345 Posts: 17,947 Forumite
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    larkim wrote: »
    On the road tax, I think the regulations are stricter. That says "It must only be used for the disabled person’s personal needs. It cannot be used by the nominated driver for their own personal use." which is narrower than the motability definition above.
    No, they are the same. The rules for using the mobility vehicle for your own needs are exactly the same.
  • Do they do a credit check for this or does it all just go straight through with your dwp pip payment?

    Seems like a win win to me
    No insurance to pay, no road tax and lease a brand new car from your pip for £200 a month
  • poppy12345
    poppy12345 Posts: 17,947 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Do they do a credit check for this or does it all just go straight through with your dwp pip payment?

    Seems like a win win to me
    No insurance to pay, no road tax and lease a brand new car from your pip for £200 a month
    No credit check. What makes you think it's win win? The OP can only drive the car the purpose of their son and no other reasons.


    It's also not £200 per month, it's approximately £236.
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