How to get a mobility scooter
19 Mar 2018
A mobility scooter is a great way to maintain your independence while also reducing strain on your back, hips, knees and other joints. With online stores popping up everywhere and showrooms offering dozens of models, many people wonder: is getting a mobility scooter as easy as buying a pint of milk? It’s a bit more expensive, for sure, but it’s not that complicated. Below you’ll find answers to a few commonly asked questions.
Can anyone drive a mobility scooter?
You don’t need a license to drive a mobility scooter, but government guidelines state that you need to “have trouble walking because of an injury, physical disability or medical condition” to use one. Common sense also applies and you do need to meet certain requirements to be safe: you need to be in full control of your vehicle; know how to operate it; sober and able to see where you’re going. Mobility scooters that are used on roads can only be operated by people over the age of 14. You must follow the Highway Code if you drive on the road.
Does the NHS provide mobility scooters?
The NHS provides a wide range of mobility equipment, including wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. If you think you need one, speak to your GP, consultant or physiotherapist who can refer you for assessment. It’s worth researching the options available ahead of time so you know what will work or not work for you and your lifestyle (e.g. if you need to be able to use public transport or have narrow doorways that will limit your choice of equipment).
How much do mobility scooters cost?
Prices start at around £400. Depending on which features you need, you may need to spend more – if you have very particular needs, you may want to budget double or triple that amount. You should also budget for any extras you might need, such as a spare battery; insurance; and of course, on going maintenance and repairs.
How can I make a scooter more affordable?
If you need a mobility scooter but can’t afford one, there are a number of options to consider.
- VAT relief – eligible individuals don’t need to pay VAT on mobility equipment, saving 20%
- Motability – this scheme helps eligible benefit recipients to access mobility equipment, including scooters, cars and wheelchairs.
- Access to Work – if you need a mobility scooter to do your job, this government scheme may help.
- NHS support – as mentioned above. Talk to your GP.
- Charitable support – contact charities working with your condition directly to ask if they can help.
- Leasing – rather than buy a mobility scooter outright, consider renting or leasing one as you need it.
- Financing and loans – there are many ways to spread the payment costs, from financing deals offered by vendors to a loan from your bank.