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DVLA Website Lets Visitors Check On Neighbours Benefits

July 3, 2014

Many thanks to Benefits And Work.


A new vehicle check service on the DVLA website allows visitors to find out whether their neighbours are receiving the higher rate of the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) or either rate of the mobility component of personal independence payment (PIP).  The system is likely to be in breach of data protection laws and will be of enormous concern to many disabled claimants.

Unhappy member
The issue was brought to our attention yesterday by a very unhappy member who emailed us to say:

“My neighbour was able to tell me that I was on the higher rate of disability living allowance.

“She found out that people on the higher rate of disability living allowance and other similar high rate benefits get free road tax.

“The DVLA vehicle check system has been revamped and is now displaying taxation class as DISABLED on every vehicle where the registered taxation class is disabled.

“ It never used to be like this it was just blank .

“Anyone can put your car registration number into the system and do a vehicle check just like my neighbour did and find out you are on benefits and what type as a result of the taxation class DISABLED being on display

“What is the purpose of this system being open to the public to do a vehicle check on any vehicle they want?

“It’s a system of no use to anyone other than malicious people intent on causing problems for people on benefits”

Our member asked us to notify disabled people of the issue and lobby to have the data removed from the DVLA website.

We did our own check on cars in the street outside using the DVLA website and were indeed able to discover that the owner of one vehicle has a disabled tax disc and is therefore in receipt of benefits, as the screenshot below taken from the DVLA website shows.small tax details

Exemption grounds
Exemption from vehicle tax on the grounds of disability is only available for people on Higher Rate DLA Mobility Component, War Pensioners Mobility Supplement, Enhanced Mobility PIP (100% exemption) or Standard Mobility PIP (50% exemption).

The vehicle doesn’t have to belong to the disabled person, but it must be only used for their benefit. The vehicle’s registered keeper can be the disabled person or someone else who uses the vehicle only for the disabled person’s needs.

At present the tax disc displayed on a car in these circumstances will show a cost of £0.00. But there are other grounds, apart from disability, for getting exemption from vehicle tax.

In addition, where a disabled person keeps their car on a private drive or in a garage, neighbours will not be able to see the details on the tax disc.

Tax discs to disappear
More importantly, from 1 October of this year you will no longer need to display a tax disc on your vehicle at all.

In addition, when you sell a car from October 2014 the tax cannot be passed onto the new owner. Instead, the previous owner will get a refund and the new owner will have to tax the car themselves.

There seems, therefore, no obvious reason for information about the tax status of a vehicle to be displayed online.

Data protection
The issue here appears to be one of data protection.

The information that DVLA are making available is not about the vehicle itself. Instead they are publishing personal information about the benefits received by the individual who currently owns the car or for whom the car is solely used.

We spoke to a staff member at the DVLA press office yesterday evening and asked them if they were aware that they were making this information available and if they would suspend the look-up service as a matter of urgency, as it appears to be in breach of data protection laws.

We have yet to receive any response.

Readers who are concerned that their personal data is being made available in this way may want to contact DVLA and the information commissioner’s office and insist that it is removed immediately.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2014 5:05 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. July 3, 2014 5:27 pm

    How can this be allowed to happen. What is the data protection act for. Or don’t we qualify being “scroungers and wasters”

  3. July 3, 2014 6:05 pm

    The tax disc has always had ‘disabled printed on it. So that information is wrong.

  4. July 3, 2014 6:08 pm

    never known a car too come into the fuel type class being heavy oil its either petrol,diesel or electric hybrid lol

  5. Sandra Papuga permalink
    July 3, 2014 6:22 pm

    As if I don’t get enough abuse already. I have an invisible disability I don’t use a wheelchair but I have one for when I’m in so much pain I can’t walk. To look at me I don’t “look ill”. I get terrible abuse for having a nice car parked in a disabled spot etc. This is enough to cope with its awful and sometimes scarey. Why do they need to publish my private business. I will be made to wear a badge next to distinguish me from normals

    • July 4, 2014 12:12 pm

      It keeps the myth that people in the country on benefits are the ones at fault for the country being “broke” going whilst them in government laugh at the people squabbling over peanuts theyre stealing EVERYTHING…. FOR THEIR BANKER OWNERS OF COURSE . nEVER FEEL THE NEED TO PROVE UR ILLNESS TOO FUCK THEM ALL.

  6. Andy W permalink
    July 3, 2014 7:53 pm

    @Will Iam our new (disabled) car is on there, and is under the Heavy oil as fuel class, as is my old (SORN) car. Diesel is just the common name, properly it is known by the authorities as Heavy Oil,

    This is a disgrace, although I don’t think they are breaking the Data Protection Act as no PERSONAL data is displayed (name, address, etc)

  7. Nick permalink
    July 3, 2014 10:24 pm

    my wife has a incurable spine disease and has a car that is paid for by her dla so i dont give a s*** who knows that the car i drive is a motability car

  8. July 3, 2014 10:50 pm

    It is very worrying, especially with all the hate being stirred up by the government and media.

    I’ve checked it out and they don’t give out the details of the registered keeper just the vehicle, and anyone can check out the tax disc to find the info anyway. So at the moment it isn’t telling people much they wouldn’t know. If they where going to go to the trouble of check with the DVLA whether their neighbours were scroungers they would have already checked out the tax disc.

    I was looking forward to anonymity after October when we no longer had to display a disc on our telling all and sundry we were getting our car free (even though we never have). I suppose when they get rid of the tax discs we’ll have to wear black triangles to let people know.

  9. July 4, 2014 12:14 am

    once again another ploy by this government to divide and conquer as if disabled persons dont get enough abuse now,its about time this government was bought to book for the discrimination of the sick unemployed and disabled.

  10. shaxi permalink
    July 4, 2014 12:54 am

    You dont have to go through all that trouble checking a reg plate to see if on benefit. IT CLEARLY states on disc DISABLED lol

  11. G GILES permalink
    July 4, 2014 9:36 am

    Joy Boyd PERMALINK
    July 3, 2014 6:05 pm
    The tax disc has always had ‘disabled printed on it. So that information is wrong.

    They mean on the DVLA website not on the actual tax disc on the car. I think its disgraceful and a a breach of privacy. Personal information about anyone should not be freely available to the public !!!

  12. D Nana permalink
    July 4, 2014 11:12 am

    The only info given is whats on log book the website makes it easier for people who work for the government i.e congestion charge to see if you are exempt from paying the charge did you all know that if you have a vehicle paid for by dla its exempt from the congestion charge and toll booth fees and much more. The website does NOT give peoples names and addresses. I have a disablity car so what its there to help me and my son get around to appointments etc

  13. The Mother permalink
    July 4, 2014 3:03 pm

    Have spoken to the Information Commission. They are ‘aware’ and are dealing with it. We shall see what transpires!

  14. The Mother permalink
    July 4, 2014 4:09 pm

    Details now not coming up – they must have pulled it!


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