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War Pensioners' Vehicle Scheme

Volume 990: debated on Monday 4 August 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will explain the criteria for assistance to severely disabled war pensioners under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme; and what proposals he has to restore the value of the cash allowances paid to severely disabled war pensioners under that scheme either with their vehicles or as private car maintenance allowances;(2) why the cash allowances paid to severely disabled war pensioners under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme are not reviewed annually at the same time as all other war pensioner entitlements;(3) in what circumstances severely disabled war pensioners with entitlement under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme may transfer that entitlement to the civilian mobility allowance; and why, if the additional money is available to pay mobility allowance in such cases, he is unwilling to increase the rates of the cash allowances already in payment under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme.

Under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme, mobility help is provided for those war pensioners

  • (i) with both legs amputated, one being above or through the knee;
  • (ii) with a defect of the locomotor system or with a severe chronic lung or heart condition who to all intents and purposes are unable to walk;
  • (iii) those slightly less severely disabled with very limited walking ability who, because of their disability, need personal transport to go to and from full time or almost full time, paid employment or to carry out all the duties of a household including shopping. Those who need a vehicle in the course of their employment, irrespective of their disablement, are not eligible for help under this category.
  • Broadly speaking, those war pensioners whose eligibility for help was established under the invalid vehicle scheme which was discontinued at the end of 1975, along with other beneficiaries under that scheme, may choose at any time without further medical examination and without age limit, to transfer to mobility allowance. The increased cost to the Department of motor cars and their insurance precludes any improvement in the car maintenance and private car maintenance allowances at the present time but this question will be kept under review.