Help with transport costs for children with special needs

Free road tax for your car

If you have a child aged over three who receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA) mobility component at the higher rate, then you may be eligible for free road tax.

Blue Badge scheme

A blue badge trumps all when it comes to parent parking spaces – no more fisticuffs in Tesco car park.

If your child receives the DLA mobility component at the higher rate (or has severe walking problems) then you may be eligible.

In England and Scotland, if your child is under two then you will only get a Blue Badge if they need to be kept near a vehicle at all times or accompanied by bulky equipment (we're thinking oxygen tanks, rather than a four-foot Igglepiggle).

Bus travel

All local authorities in England are required to offer schemes offering free bus travel for disabled people, including children. Some schemes also offer free travel for carers.

In Northern Ireland, under-16s qualify for half-price travel and over-16s are entitled to a Smartpass, which provides cheap travel.

In Scotland, the National Entitlement Card entitles you to reductions on fares.

Rail travel

Your child may be entitled to a Disabled Person's Railcard, which entitles you to a third off most train fares.

The majority of mainline stations are wheelchair-friendly these days, but it's always best to ring in advance to find out before someone cheerfully points your wheelchair in the direction of a 100-year-old steel footbridge (ie Weston-super-Mare).

Subsidies for cars, powered wheelchairs and scooters

Motability is the charity that administers the government's Specialised Vehicles Fund, which provides financial assistance for people who need to travel in their wheelchairs (or their families).

The Motability Scheme enables wheelchair users (or their families) to use their government-funded mobility allowances to obtain a new car, powered wheelchair or scooter. It may not pay the entire cost of the car, but will pay a proportion of it.

You could be eligible for help if your child receives the higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance. The scheme should do all the administration for you, including sorting out your paperwork.

Mumsnet wisdom

"There are two motability schemes, contact hire or purchase. Most people go for the hire scheme. Depending on what you need, you hand over the mobility part of your DLA each month, and can pay a varying deposit - again depending on what car you want. Some small cars have no deposit at all. I went for a seven-seater Toyota and paid £2,000 deposit. Included is tax, insurance, all service and repair costs plus breakdown cover. And it's FAB!" theheadgirl

Last updated: 17-Jun-2013 at 10:48 AM