Note: This information is intended to aid interactions with qualified social workers and other assistance professionals.
The mobility benefits program provides various forms of assistance to people with impairments that limit their mobility, with the aim of helping them to integrate into the community and develop an independent life. These benefits include eligibility for a monthly allowance as well as various loans for vehicles and vehicle accessories. Each benefit in this program has its own conditions of entitlement.
All of the details of Bituach Leumi’s Mobility program are available in English on the Bituach Leumi website. The following is a summary of the major details:
A monthly allowance is paid to those with limited mobility to assist with mobility expenses whether or not they are vehicle owners.
Vehicle owners’ allowance rates are established based on multiple factors, including:
- Personal Variables such as the beneficiary’s percentage of mobility limitation, if the beneficiary is the driver, an earner and/or a long distance (40 km round trip) commuter.
- Vehicle Variables such as engine size, insurance prices, gasoline prices, maintenance costs, the value and nature of special accessories installed or vehicle design.
A person without a vehicle is entitled to an allowance in an amount equal to that paid to a person with a valid driver’s license, who earns a salary, owns a vehicle with an engine volume of 1,800 cc, and for whom a 100% mobility limitation has been established.
For example: The mobility allowance paid to a person for whom a 100% mobility limitation has been established with a valid driver’s license, earning a salary, owning a vehicle with an engine volume of 1,800 cc was NIS 2,049 in July 2008.
The following loans may be available to beneficiaries:
- Loan for the taxes due on the purchase of a vehicle
- Loan for a percentage of the cost of a new vehicle before taxes
- Loans for vehicle accessories such as wheelchair lifts and other aids
Loan repayment is postponed for as long as the vehicle is in use by the beneficiary under continuing eligibility conditions, the amount due is reduced over this time, and in some cases the loan ultimately becomes a full grant. If a person remains eligible for mobility benefits he may also be able to receive loans multiple times to replace vehicles and/or accessories.
Establishing Entitlement & Submitting the Claim
The process of entitlement to the mobility benefit involves the Misrad Habriut along with Bituach Leumi. A person must first submit the Application for Medical Examination to Establish Mobility Limitations to the district health office (Misrad Habriut) where a medical committee will established the percentage of limited mobility according to a list of defined impairments, usually after a direct examination of the claimant.
After the percentage of mobility limitation is established, the Claim for Benefits Under the Mobility Agreement must be submitted to Bituach Leumi.
Both of these forms list the necessary accompanying documents, which include medical documentation, driver and vehicle licenses, and other materials depending on each case. Assistance from a kupah or hospital social worker, or others familiar with the process, can be very useful in preparing the forms and accompanying documents.
Start of Entitlement
The beneficiary is eligible for the mobility allowance from the date the percentage of disability is determined by the Misrad Habriut medical committee. If the claim to Bituach Leumi is submitted later, the allowance is only paid for up to two months retroactively.
A person after retirement age can not receive a mobility benefit unless they began receiving it beforehand.
Eligibility for multiple special pensions from Bituach Leumi, such as the Attendance Allowance or Child Disability, can sometimes conflict. In other cases double benefits are acceptable, usually when the circumstances are more severe.
Learning to Drive a Vehicle with Special Accessories
A person with limited mobility who must drive a vehicle for special accessories while sitting in a wheelchair, can learn to drive in a Bituach Leumi vehicle equipped with accessories to assist those learning to drive or learning to use the special accessories that will be installed in their vehicles.