Success for BbAB and VDA – Major help for eligible disabled drivers to buy a car – Still no assistance for those not in employment
Ever since 1987, severely disabled people working more than 15 hours per week (in regular employment subject to social security contributions) have been eligible for financial support to purchase a passenger car under the German “Motor vehicle aid ordinance” (KfzHV). The main beneficiaries are people whose severe physical disability leaves them unable to board and alight from public transport such as buses and trains.
A joint initiative launched by the BbAB, Germany’s disabled drivers’ association, and the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) has resulted in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs hugely increasing the maximum subsidy under the rules of the KfzHV – from €9,500 to €22,000. The chairman of the BbAB, Achim Neunzling, and VDA President Hildegard Müller see this success as an important contribution to the “auto-mobility” of people with disabilities.
VDA President Müller explained, “When the BbAB approached us on the subject of adjusting the subsidy to a level more appropriate to the present day, we naturally took it up and did everything we could to bring about an amendment to the German “Participation strengthening act” (Teilhabestärkungsgesetz) as it went through Parliament. So we are especially pleased that the subsidy has been more than doubled and will considerably help many people to purchase a vehicle.”
The financial assistance for buying a car has been set at €9,500 since 2002. However, the steady rise in new car prices over recent years had eroded the subsidy, leaving many people unable purchase a suitable vehicle without covering a considerable portion of the costs themselves. In many cases, people eligible to receive the subsidy did not buy a car because they could not afford to pay the difference.
The motor vehicle aid ordinance still only provides for subsidies to people in suitable employment. “For people who are not in work, such as children and pensioners, there is no legal foundation for financial assistance to acquire a vehicle in order to participate in social or cultural life,” Neunzling pointed out.