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Government funded disability transport – Everything you need to know

If you are disabled, or care for someone who is disabled, there are various government travel support schemes available. These are designed to help those with mobility issues access public transport or to drive with greater ease. The assistance is offered in the form of a variety of financial benefits and transport schemes. which we have outlined below.


1) Discounts for using public transport


Those with disabilities can travel for free on local buses within England, on weekdays between the hours of 9.30am and 11pm, or anytime during bank holidays or over the weekend. In addition, there are some councils which will allow a companion to travel for free.

Alternatively, it is possible to receive a discount of one third off the price of train travel, with a disabled persons railcard. To be eligible for either pass you will need to live in England and classed as ‘eligible disabled’. To avail of either scheme, you will need to contact your local council, who will provide the details of how the passes are issued under the local Concessionary Travel Scheme.


2) Travel costs to NHS appointments


If you are considered disabled and need to pay to travel to an NHS appointment for treatment or tests, you could claim a refund for the travel costs. This refund is available through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme. To qualify you will need to meet the following conditions:

  • At the time of your appointment, be in receipt of a qualifying disability benefit/allowance or fall within the NHS Low Income Scheme
  • Have a referral from a healthcare professional to an NHS hospital for treatment or tests
  • Be attending a separate visit to the initial referral

The refund will be based on the cheapest mode of transport available for your circumstances, which is usually public transport costs. You will need to pay for your travel upfront and the claim must be submitted within 3 months. To make your application you should contact the NHS service which is providing your treatment.

Alternatively, within England, there are a variety of community transport schemes which provide transport both to and from hospitals, surgeries, opticians, dentists, podiatrists and chiropodists. Many areas offer a free service if a normal local bus service is not available. Your local council will be able to advise whether there is a scheme available and whether you will need to pay a charge.


3) Driving with a disability


If you have a disability and require a car for travel, you may be eligible for a variety of schemes which provide financial assistance. These include the following:


Road tax

You may be able to apply for vehicle tax reduction or vehicle tax exemption, which will reduce the amount you need to pay for road tax or remove the charge completely. To be eligible, you will need to be in receipt of one of the following payments:

  • The higher mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • The enhanced rate of the mobility component of the Armed Forces Independent payment.
  • The War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement

The first initial claim will need to be made at a Post Office when you apply for vehicle tax. You will need to show proof of your allowance/benefit, the vehicle logbook, a V10 form, an MOT certificate and an insurance certificate.


Blue Badge permit

It may be possible to apply for a Blue Badge permit to use for parking your car. This will allow you to park within disabled bays, park for free within certain times, park on double and single yellow lines and stay for longer within time limited bays.

The schemes are operated by individual councils, with most accepting applications online. There are some exemptions from the standard national Blue Badge regulations, which apply to areas within central London, such as Camden, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster. Although, if you would be eligible for a Blue Badge or from road tax within other areas of the country, you may be exempt from the congestion charge.


4) Motability Scheme


The Motability scheme is designed to provide those with disabilities with funding towards the lease of a powered wheelchair, scooter, or a car. It is also possible to use your own money to contribute towards a more expensive mode of transport.

To be eligible for the governments Motability Scheme, you will need to be in receipt of:

  • The higher mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • The enhanced rate of the mobility component of the Armed Forces Independent payment
  • The War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement

In addition, you will need to have at least 12 months remaining of your allowance when you make the application. To apply for the scheme, you will need to visit a Motability dealer which sells cars, scooters or powered wheelchairs. There is a wide network of dealers which will have specialists available to guide you through the process.

To find out more about our specialist disabled car insurance or any of our disability insurance products, please click here.


Please note that this content was correct at time of publication (30.10.2020). From time to time, changes in regulation may impact the accuracy of the information provided.

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