British Lung Foundation
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Driving DLA and Motability

I am 17 years old and will be 18 in June and I really, really would love to start learning to drive. The trouble is I will need a specially adapted car to do so and I am only on lowest rate DLA with no motability component. I started off on middle rate but since then it was stopped and after two appeals we managed to get lowest.

I have a lot of health issues and those most crucial to driving are that when I was three I had a virus similar to polio which left me with a neuropathy in my left arm- I have had one 7 1/2 hour muscle transfer on my shoulder when I was seven years old and a tendon transfer on my hand when I was 16 both done by prof Simon Kay in Leeds. The second issue that would affect me driving is that I have a weak left hip which I am currently having hydrotherapy and physio for.

As well as both of these I also have: type 1 diabetes (I am on an insulin pump for this), asthma (I'm on 2 inhalers at least twice a day) , a low MBL (meaning my immune system is extremely weak and I am on antibiotics three days a week for the rest of my life due to this), acid reflux (I'm on 7 1/2 tablets a day for this), glue ear, sleeping issues and depression (I'm on sleeping tables and antidepressants because of this), scoliosis.

And as of recently a fractured shoulder (but that's a whole different story).

I am under: Great Ormond Street, Bedford Hospital (various doctors), Leeds- General Infirmary, St James', Spire (all prof Simon Kay) and Counseling... none of my doctors want to let me g yet because I am such a complex person but with almost being 18 I now have to start the transition into adult services.

My Pediatrician who I have been under since I was one is extremely annoyed and angry that I am only on lowest rate after everything that I have wrong with me and with it only being around £20 a month it barely covers the parking fees at the hospitals let alone my mum's time and petrol especially as I'm the second of four kids which she has more than enough trouble with.

I am currently at college studying photography which is the one thing I love which can get me away from all of this. I also am working in a retail shop which I have currently been placed on sick leave due to my recently fractured shoulder for at least the next 3 weeks but while I am there I work extremely hard.

So my question to all of you is do you have any advice on learning to drive? Or applying for Motability?



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7 Replies

Quite a complex situation you have there Alanah, and I admire your desire to move forward and learn to drive. You will appreciate that not all driving schools would be able to accommodate you and some would even request that you had your own adapted car as it's not something they would have, unless there are any specialist instructors who can provide that for you.

Have a chat with someone at the BLF Helpline about benefits, they are on 03000 030 555 and are available M-F from 10-6. Even if you are not driving yourself, you may get the higher rate mobility allowance if you are able to meet the criteria, that's not something anyone on the forum could determine though. You need to get help filling the form in from an organisation like the CAB or DIAL, they know what wording to use and how best to give the DWP the information about your problems.

I don't know for certain, but there may be age limitations with the Motability scheme if you were to be the driver of the vehicle. Whilst they provide aparted vehicles within the scheme, many cars require an advance payment for any special adaptations, plus the full DLA mobility allowance would be paid to them, so you would still be using the care component to pay for petrol :(

Even if you are able to work and have a college place, much will depend on your condition in determining any award of DLA. Specialist help is the best way to go. It will also help to gather 'evidence' from people like your pediatrician to support your case ;)

You may also be able to get a blue badge for parking, which sometimes is free. A lot depends on the hospital or area you park in, again it will be determined on your abilities and needs. Check with your local council. If you got the high rate mobility DLA then a blue badge is automatic.

Best of luck with getting somewhere with all this.

Alanah - I have read your blog. I admire your positivity in life, confronting the various problems that you have. Learning to drive will help you in your independence. I cant give you any advice, but I would ring the BLF helpline who should help you. Say that you have written here, and they can read it whilst on the phone. The phone no. 03000 030 555

Hi Alanah

I too love your possitive attitude. Good idea to 'phone BLF on the number annie has given to you.

I have put up a link for you re Motability. There is little piece on paying for driving lessons, but you would have to contact them I guess about a car which is already adapted to learn on. However you would have to be in receipt of the high rate mobility or enhanced rate of mobility I would guess as it is now PIP. Did you fill in the previous forms on your own. Gordon is right an expert benefits advisor would be invaluable to you. As well as those mentioned personally I find Welfare Rights excellent if there is one in your area and they will usually visit your home if it is disability related. As you will shortly be in the transition to adult medical care, I would think an application would be better sooner than later as you have your consultant here in Leeds, Great Ormond Street and Bedford who have known you for many years and whose reports will be of great benefit to your claim. Remember it's not what you have wrong with you, but how it effects your care and mobility.

Good luck to you sweet and please let us know how you get on.

Lots of love


Oooops nearly forgot X


Motobility ,

There is no age limit, only that ,only one driver can be under 21. As you would be a Learner driver, the nominated driver would have to be over 21.

Advance payment is only for higher spec or automatic vehicles.

Basic adaptions , hand controls for example are available free of charge.

Some driving schools have vehicles, with hand controls .

If you do not meet the criteria for the motobility scheme .

Check your local library , for local charities, for example the Round Table, Rotary or Lion Club.

Your localCommunity Foundation may know of local charities that give grant to individuals.

Disability organisations appropriate to your condition may know sources of help.

Just had a thought a neighbour of mine had polio as a child and needs an adapted car. If I see her I will ask where she learnt to drive and if they had an adapted car. Mind it might have been a while ago so things might have changed, but I will ask.


Thanks all so much I'll let you know how I get on :) xxxx

First things first you have to tell the dvla that you are disable .and what is wrong with you if i am right i know i had to is to get a letter from your doctor as well .and they will send you to a drivring ascemant place near you and they will look at you and ask you what is wrong with you.and if they thing you can drive they thing will put you on a machine to see what controls you need .at the end of it they will tell you what controls you need. That is the first

steps you have to take .i know that you think or i want to drive like most people .

But the ascemant is very very very important. I know you think i have no hart but if you jump be hide. A wheel with out you telling the dvla you will be breaking the law .and it is not worth it .good luck David 12

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