Motability Cars, DLA and PIP and their effects on SEN home to school/post-16 transport eligibility

The Issue

Many Local Authorities (LA’s) ‘home to school’ and ‘post-16 transport’ policies state, that if the family is in receipt of either:

  • DLA or PIP with a mobility component
  • or have a Motability car due to a child’s disability

this must be used for the child or young person’s home to education transport.

Sentas Investigation

The LA cannot use the fact that a parent receives a mobility element of DLA/PIP as a reason to refuse home to school transport.

On page 12 of the Local Government Ombudsman “All on board, navigating school transport issues – Focus report: learning lessons from complaints – March 2017”, We discovered the following quote:

“The families of some children with special educational needs or disabilities may be in receipt of the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. The Department for Education has confirmed in Parliament that being in receipt of this allowance does not necessarily confer eligibility for free school transport but neither does it preclude it if the child is an eligible child”

We then contacted Motability directly, and they stated:

“Unless the local authority or council in question are the legal Appointee for the disabled person, they are not in charge of the agreement and therefore cannot specify how the vehicle can be used.”

 So, what can this mean for your child?

While having a Motability car or being in the receipt of mobility component of DLA/PIP doesn’t entitle a child or young person to home to education transport, it cannot be used as a reason to refuse transport assistance.

The Local Authority can ask you to provide transport for a child who is eligible for home to school transport, however the parent must give their consent for this arrangement. The Government statutory guidance for home to school transport states:

“On condition that the relevant parental consent has been obtained (annually or, if a child moves school, at that point too) by the local authority, a number of alternative arrangements might be considered to meet the local authority duty relating to travel arrangements. Examples include:

  • a mileage allowance paid to a parent driving their eligible child to school in lieu of the local authority”

What happens next?

Sentas will be contacting LA’s whose transport policies state, if the family is in receipt of either DLA or PIP with a mobility component, or have a Motability car due to a child’s disability, that this must be used for the child or young person’s home to education transport. Sentas will ask them to remove any such statements from their policies, to ensure parents aren’t refused transport assistance solely on this issue.

Are you affected by these issues?

If your child is being refused transport assistance due to these reasons, Sentas can help you appeal the Local Authority decision. Please contact us:

email: info@sentas.co.uk

Tel: 07986768085 available Monday – Friday 09:00 – 19:00

Sentas is a non-profit Community Interest Company, and a free service for parents to use.

References

Local Government Ombudsman “All on board, navigating school transport issues” – Focus report: learning lessons from complaints – March 2017