Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can happen to anyone. Those individuals who have sustained damage to this important area of the body can find themselves dealing with chronic pain as well either partial or complete loss of movement.
Activities that individuals with an SCI once managed to do with ease, may now not be so easy to do. Tasks may either have to be relearned or surroundings may need to be modified to take into account the disability of the individual.
Driving a car can certainly be a challenge for those with a spinal cord injury. The good news, however, is that there is plenty of help and support from various organisations and government schemes around the world.
Along with specially modified vehicles, there’s often no reason why a person shouldn’t be able to take to the road if they have a disability of this kind.
One of the government schemes available to disabled individuals in the UK is road tax exemption. Normally, car owners have to pay an annual road tax which costs from £145 depending on the type of vehicle (electric cars currently come with no tax).
Obviously, if someone is disabled because of a spinal cord injury and has a low income or is unable to work, a benefit like the free disabled road tax is more than useful.
Disabled drivers are eligible for a number of different benefits including the Blue Badge which enables someone to park anywhere even if there are ‘no parking’ signs present. The free disabled road tax is also there to help drivers with a range of disabilities, including those with spinal cord injuries.
There are a number of conditions that you need to satisfy before you can apply for disabled road tax exemption.
First, the car needs to be registered to the person with the disability. If they are driven around by another person, then they can apply for the exemption but the vehicle needs to be used solely for the purpose of transporting the disabled individual. In other words, the nominated driver can’t use it for their own personal needs.
The disabled individual also needs to be receiving one of the following allowances:
When a person is accepted for one of these allowances, they are normally automatically sent a Certificate of Entitlement. This is needed for anyone who wants to take advantage the road tax exemption.
For those individuals who are buying a car, there are a couple of things that are important. If it’s a new vehicle, the disabled individual or the nominated driver only has to take the Certificate of Entitlement with them. The dealership should then change the tax status of the vehicle.
If it’s a second-hand car, the dealer may or may not be able to change the tax status. The person who owns the car has a legal duty to ensure the tax status is changed and this can be done at the local post office if the dealer is unable to do it.
If a person buys a car from a private seller or simply needs to update their tax status on an existing car, then this should be done initially through the post office.
The documentation required includes:
Should the driver be resident in Northern Ireland, or the vehicle is registered there, they will also need to present their insurance certificate.
The disabled road tax exemption certificate lasts for 12 months and then has to be renewed. Once a person has registered, they get a reminder to renew with a V11 form. A disabled driver can do this in a number of ways.
The easiest method is to go online and visit the government portal. The other ways are to call on 0300 790 6802 or textphone on 0300 123 1279 if the person is hard of hearing. The road tax can also be renewed at the post office.
Any disabled driver who meets the criteria is able to apply for the road tax exemption in the UK. It’s easy to do and can help save a significant annual cost. The Government have produced a handy guide for those applying for the disabled road tax exemption for the first time which can be viewed here.
Spinal Cord Injury Range of Motion Exercises
How to Make a Home More Wheelchair Accessible
Useful Online SCI Communities You May Have Missed
Spinal Cord Injury Fatigue
Spinal Cord Injury and Pregnancy
Urinary Tract Infections Following a Spinal Cord Injury
The Risk of Pneumonia Following a Spinal Cord Injury
What is a Spinal Laminectomy?