If you receive the higher rate mobility component of DLA (Disability Living Allowance) or the enhanced mobility component of PIP (Personal Independence Payment), DVLA may grant a provisional licence at age 16.
If a person applying for a driving licence at age 16 holds valid DLA/PIP entitlement, as set out in the Motor Vehicle (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 – Regulation 9(4) and 9(4A), the DVLA may grant a provisional licence a year early, if all the other usual conditions are met. (https://www.gov.uk/driving-lessons-learning-to-drive)
Once you receive your provisional licence, so long as the start date for Category B (cars) permits, you may commence driving lessons, take your theory and practical tests and, when you pass, drive independently whilst still aged 16.
Get a driving licence application form from your local Post Office or go on-line at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence and apply for a provisional licence at age 16; under section 1) “What are you applying for?” you need to tick the box stating “To drive a car at 16 because I am getting/have applied for PIP (or DLA) Mobility Component at the enhanced (or higher) rate”. DVLA may then contact you for proof of your award or permission to contact DWP so that they can confirm your award. You can apply 3 months before your birthday.
It costs £43 to apply by post or £34 to apply on line.
You must not drive until you receive your licence as this will give details of what you can drive and when you can start driving. Check that the start date for Category B (cars) is correct; occasionally a standard licence is issued in error, this would permit the driving of Category AM (mopeds) from 16 but Category B (cars) only from 17; if this does occur contact DVLA as soon as possible to get the licence issued correctly.
When you are arranging driving lessons you must tell the driving instructor that you have a licence permitting you to drive at age 16. Some instructors are not able to teach 16 year old drivers as not all car insurance allows for this.
Transition from DLA to PIP when you reach the age of 16.
What happens if you are re-assessed for PIP after you receive your provisional licence and DWP downgrade your mobility allowance.
If you are awarded disability benefits as a child you would normally receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and would continue to receive this benefit until you are 16 when you would be reassessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), once this process is complete a transition from DLA to PIP would take place for you as an adult.
If you received your licence aged 16 because you were in receipt of DLA higher rate mobility component, are subsequently re-assessed for PIP and have your mobility allowance downgraded by DWP, you should still be able to continue driving whilst you are still 16.
DVLA have confirmed that if the provisional was correctly issued because, as a 16 year old applicant, you were in receipt of higher rate mobility of DLA, they would not revoke the licence if you were later re-assessed by DWP and subsequently had your mobility allowance downgraded.
If you have a valid licence with the correct provisional entitlement you will be permitted to continue learning to drive.
So if you want to start learning to drive aged 16 you are advised to apply as early as possible, you can apply 3 months before your birthday, well before the transition from DLA to PIP.