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Motability - use by spouse

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We're looking to get a new car and as my wife receives the higher rate PIP then we're seeing for the first time what Motability has to offer.

From the wording on the Motability website the vehicle has to be for the benefit of the clamant but what constitutes this is suitably vague. Reading around, me commuting may be seen as acceptable but this of course is something I would need to clarify with them.

From other threads, the big legal sticking point seems to be that the cars are zero VED rated on disability grounds, but if the car we're interested in is fully electric and so not subject to VED, then all should be good?

Thanks in advance.
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  • Alter_egoAlter_ego Forumite
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    We're looking to get a new car and as my wife receives the higher rate PIP then we're seeing for the first time what Motability has to offer.

    From the wording on the Motability website the vehicle has to be for the benefit of the clamant but what constitutes this is suitably vague. Reading around, me commuting may be seen as acceptable but this of course is something I would need to clarify with them.

    From other threads, the big legal sticking point seems to be that the cars are zero VED rated on disability grounds, but if the car we're interested in is fully electric and so not subject to VED, then all should be good?

    Thanks in advance.
    Are you sure they aren't subject to VED at zero rate?
    I am not a cat (But my friend is)
  • edited 3 May at 6:41PM
    blokedownpubblokedownpub Forumite
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    edited 3 May at 6:41PM
    Alter_ego said:

    Are you sure they aren't subject to VED at zero rate?

    From this it looks like it's exempt but so are cars registered for the sole use for someone who is disabled.

    https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-exempt-from-vehicle-tax

    The question's going to be whether the reason for exemption is changed for Motability sourced cars and if so, whether that makes any material difference.
  • edited 3 May at 6:46PM
    Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    edited 3 May at 6:46PM
    Interesting question.  As you've already said, the Motability website itself says "the car must be 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 person will benefit."
    https://www.motability.co.uk/about/how-the-scheme-works/how-your-vehicle-can-be-used/
    Misuse includes "Using the car for unauthorised business purposes, for example, as a taxi driver or delivery vehicle" - the PDF additionally terms such as 'commercial purposes'
    and  "Not giving the disabled person the benefit of the car"

    And on this page https://www.motability.co.uk/contact/faqs/can-i-use-my-motability-scheme-car-for-business
    "The car is covered for social, domestic and pleasure purposes including travel directly between home and permanent place of work, at all times ... " (so commuting, yes, though that page is from the perspective of the disabled person.)

    You working obviously benefits her as well.  

    Would your wife want to use the car while you're at work?  An issue would arise if you taking it to work would deprive her of being able to use it - obviously dependant upon whether she can and is able to drive it herself, or if she'd want another named driver to be taking her places during your work hours.

    There doesn't appear to be a definitive answer as you say (I look into it for myself and our family, every now and then, but none of the vehicles would suit our needs) but perhaps that's because it depends on the circumstances. 
    - If the person whose car it is would be well enough and capable of using the car themselves or having someone else drive them around in it, then having it parked at their spouse's work all day would be depriving them of part of the benefit of the car. 
    - If the person is mostly housebound and the main driver is able to take time off work to take them to any appointments, does the shopping and anything else outside of work hours, then there would be no problem. 
    - Or if the disabled person were physically capable but mentally unable to go anywhere without their spouse, then they wouldn't be able to use the car at all while the spouse is at work anyway so again, no problem.

    ^ the above examples are obviously not official or authoritative in any way, just me musing on the logic of why the rules might be intentionally vague.  They certainly won't have chosen the wording 'benefit of the disabled person / benefit of the car' carelessly, it will have been intentional.
  • blokedownpubblokedownpub Forumite
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    ^ the above examples are obviously not official or authoritative in any way, just me musing on the logic of why the rules might be intentionally vague.  They certainly won't have chosen the wording 'benefit of the disabled person / benefit of the car' carelessly, it will have been intentional.
    I guess it makes sense for them to be as accommodating as they can whilst also careful to guard against the benefit being abused.

    Our position is that my wife can't drive and so the car being available to her whilst I'm working isn't of benefit.

    If Motability are happy with the situation then the only issue I can see is tax evasion through not paying the correct VED and as there's no VED to pay then all should be good but likely I'm missing something?
  • unforeseenunforeseen Forumite
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    Using it for commuting to work does not directly benefit the claimant
  • edited 3 May at 10:41PM
    blokedownpubblokedownpub Forumite
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    edited 3 May at 10:41PM
    Using it for commuting to work does not directly benefit the claimant
    Exactly the point. My commuting is an indirect benefit, something that Motability may or may not allow. VED evasion on the other hand is a different story. But if the car is already VED exempt on the grounds it is electric...
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Our position is that my wife can't drive and so the car being available to her whilst I'm working isn't of benefit.
    It may not be that black and white though. A friend USED to have a mobility car for their adult child, who is unable to drive. The car could be driven by carers or by the parent. As long as the Adult Child was living at home, that was fine, but once they moved into supported accommodation, the car went with them, and as before may be drive by carers or the parent. 

    If your wife had the car at her disposal, then others could be insured to drive it. Her ability to drive is not relevant. 

    Obviously in your case it may not be necessary for your wife to go out in the car while you're at work, and she may not wish to do so, but just pointing out that the insurance is generally more flexible than on a 'normal' car. 
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  • blokedownpubblokedownpub Forumite
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    Savvy_Sue said:
    If your wife had the car at her disposal, then others could be insured to drive it. Her ability to drive is not relevant. 
    Fair point.

    In general, the manner in which we would like to use the vehicle would have to be squared with Motability before signing up.
  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    Savvy_Sue said:
    Our position is that my wife can't drive and so the car being available to her whilst I'm working isn't of benefit.
    It may not be that black and white though. A friend USED to have a mobility car for their adult child, who is unable to drive. The car could be driven by carers or by the parent. As long as the Adult Child was living at home, that was fine, but once they moved into supported accommodation, the car went with them, and as before may be drive by carers or the parent. 

    If your wife had the car at her disposal, then others could be insured to drive it. Her ability to drive is not relevant. 
    But her ability to go out with anyone else would be relevant.  This was my point with some of the examples - would the car not being at a person's disposal be depriving them of the benefit?

    OP I don't know about the VED issue.  I guess you'd have to look at the legislation.
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    There's no VED for any of the mobility vehicles because the PIP award covers this and it's free. The dealers sort all that out before you collect the car.  The issue again would be that when using a car that's disabled class then like motability vehicles they can only be used for the purpose of the disabled person, so again we revert back to the points made by Spoonie... if you use the car to commut then what happens to the disabled person while you're in work?
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