Obtaining a Wheelchair with Little to No Income

Wheelchairs can be expensive. So how does one obtain a wheelchair with little to no income? Below are some ways that you can get a wheelchair with low or no income. Please keep in mind this is a simple overview.

Medicare

For Medicare to pay for a manual wheelchair, you must have a condition that prevents you from moving around in your home and completing your daily activities. Your disability cannot be resolved through the use of a cane or walker and the wheelchair cannot be necessary only for use outside the home otherwise, you won’t qualify.

To qualify for an electric wheelchair to be covered by Medicare, the individual must have the same needs as for a manual wheelchair, but they can’t have the physical strength to operate it. You must demonstrate you have the ability to control the powered device without hurting yourself or those around them.

A written order from a doctor is required by Medicare and it must state the medical reason for the need including the type of wheelchair that is required. When Medicare does pay, they will cover about 80% of the approved cost and often if an individual has Medicare Supplemental Insurance, they will pay the remaining 20%.

Private Insurance Coverage:

If you have private medical insurance, check to see if your plan will cover a wheelchair. However, many private health care policies will not give you a free wheelchair, but they will cover part of the cost. So check your insurance policy under durable medical equipment.

There are also different organizations that will provide wheelchair donations to those in need.

Here are a few of those organizations:

Alternatives in Motion:
Their mission “is to enhance independence through access to mobility equipment.” They have been helping those without insurance for over 25 years. However, their services are limited to West Michigan.

American Outreach Foundation
Founded in 2007, this non-profit partner with veterans, single mothers, low-income families, and senior citizens who are in need of a powered mobility device throughout the Coachella Valley of Southern California.

Friends of Disabled Adults and Children
FODAC was first established in 2007. They provide durable medical equipment at little to no cost to those with disabilities. However, they do not ship items and they must be picked up at their facilities located in Stone Mountain. So their services are limited to Atlanta and Georgia.

The Kids Equipment Network
This non-profit program helps specifically children with special needs who require adaptive equipment. They help children to age 21 by providing equipment to families with little to no funding.

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