Wheelchairs and scooters

One of the major worries people have when diagnosed with MS is that they will become reliant on a wheelchair or scooter to get around. In fact, the majority of people with MS will not become severely disabled.

Many people with MS choose to use wheelchairs or scooters from time to time or to do certain things, perhaps because of symptoms like fatigue or weakness, or to conserve energy. People often find this gives them more freedom rather than less.

This page takes you through:

Getting a wheelchair or scooter

Close up of a wheel on a wheelchair

There are a number of services and organisations that can help you choose and obtain a wheelchair or scooter.

The NHS Wheelchair Service includes an assessment to make sure your needs are met. Speak to your doctor or MS Nurse about getting a referral.

The Disability Living Foundation has factsheets to help you choose which mobility aid is right for you. 

Ricability is an independent consumer research charity providing free, practical and advice and unbiased reports on things like:

  • Wheelchair accessible vehicle converters
  • Wheelchair accessories
  • Getting a wheelchair into a car
  • Powered wheelchairs, scooters and buggies
  • Techniques for getting in and out of a car

The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to exchange either their Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance or their War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement to obtain a new car, powered wheelchair or scooter. They can help you to find a dealer who covers your area and give you an idea of prices and products available.

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Registration and tax

Electric scooters and wheelchairs that have a maximum speed of 4mph are for pavement use only and thereby cannot be used on the road, and do not need taxing.

Electric scooters/wheelchairs that travel up to 8mph can be used on the road and must be registered with the DVLA and taxed. Whilst electrically propelled vehicles are exempt from paying vehicle tax it is still necessary to obtain and display a 'nil' or free tax disc annually.

If your Electric scooter/wheelchair is not registered or taxed, you can do this by completing either a V55/4 or V55/5 form, and taking it to your local DVLA office. You will also require personal identification and evidence of vehicle age which you can get from the supplier.

You will be issued with a 'nil' or free tax disc.

Find out more about the rules for scooters and powered chairs on the GOV.UK site.

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What about insurance?

Although not required, insurance is a good idea. Like cyclists and road users, anyone will be liable if they hit and injure anyone while using a wheelchair or scooter.

The MS Society offers specialist insurance for people with MS. Have a look at our MS Insurance pages for more information. 

Electric scooters and wheelchairs provided on the Motability scheme will be automatically insured whilst still on their Hire Purchase Agreement. If you are unsure, contact Motability direct.

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