If you’d like a wheelchair to get around comfortably, you are not the only one.
More than six million Americans require mobility equipment, including 1.7 million who require a wheelchair or scooter.
We entirely understand if you cannot afford an electric or manual wheelchair.
Modern wheelchairs can be expensive.
It’s not uncommon for a high-quality wheelchair to cost a month’s income or more – so it’s reasonable that not everyone can afford one.
Actually, there are options to paying high costs.
There are many wonderful charities and programs out there that are dedicated to assisting those in need in obtaining the mobility equipment they require so that they can live their lives to the fullest once again.
Here’s how you can obtain one.
1. Medicare & Medicaid
Check to see if you are qualified for a free wheelchair as part of Medicare Part B (this can also include a power wheelchair).
If you meet specific criteria, you may be eligible for a free chair or a significant discount on a wheelchair or scooter. `
A doctor’s certificate certifying the extent of your mobility issues is usually required.
Similarly, if a scooter, manual wheelchair, or motorized wheelchair is judged necessary for everyday duties, Medicaid may fund the expense.
Medicaid eligibility varies by state, so you should contact or visit your local state Medicaid department to learn more.
While manual wheelchairs are typically more accessible, the following are the standard eligibility requirements for receiving a free electric wheelchair through Medicare/Medicaid:
The applicant must require the use of an electric wheelchair to complete everyday tasks largely at home.
The applicant must have a doctor’s note confirming the extent of their mobility impairment.
The applicant must have met all of the requirements listed on their Medicaid/Medicare application.
However, if you do not qualify or if your wheelchair application is denied, don’t give up hope: the next best option is to contact a local, state, or national charity or organization.
2. Free Wheelchair Program for Seniors and the Disabled
Many cities provide free wheelchairs to seniors and anyone with mobility issues who cannot afford to buy one.
These initiatives are typically run by local charity or church groups.
They use funds raised through fundraising campaigns to purchase wheelchairs and distribute them to those in need.
Word of mouth is an excellent method to learn about these programs.
Ask around whether you’re a member of any local support groups or forums.
You might be amazed at how much help is accessible to you.
Of course, you can search the internet for free wheelchair programs in your town or city.
3. The Wheelchair Foundation
The Wheelchair Foundation is an excellent organization that offers free wheelchairs to anyone with mobility concerns who cannot afford to purchase one for themselves.
The charity’s purpose is to “give a wheelchair to every child, teen, and adult in the globe who needs one but cannot afford one,” providing “Hope, Mobility, and Independence.”
In the USA, the Wheelchair Foundation works with The Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, Catholic Charities, and other relief organizations to distribute wheelchairs to those in need.
Visit wheelchairfoundation.org or contact one of these organizations to learn more.
4. The Free Wheelchair Mission
The Free Wheelchair Mission is a Christian organization that takes donated wheelchairs and distributes them to those with limited mobility who are in need.
They are a large non-profit that has distributed over one million wheelchairs over the last two decades.
However, it is important to note that the Free Wheelchair Mission concentrates on nations other than the United States, so if you live in the United States, this organization is unlikely to be able to assist you.
Visit freewheelchairmission.org to learn more about this organization.
5. Lifenets Wheelchair Project
The Lifenets Wheelchair Project is comparable to the other charities mentioned, except it is simply an online organization with a much smaller scope.
The platform of the website allows users to list a wheelchair donation and request wheelchairs in an effort to match supply and demand for wheelchairs for those in need.
The organization also encourages recipients to re-gift wheelchairs they receive from the charity after they are no longer needed.
In this sense, it operates a self-sustaining donation model.
More information can be found at lifenetswheelchairproject.org.
6. Insurance Company
Finally, if you have health insurance, you should check to see if your policy and provider will cover the cost of an electric or manual wheelchair.
Many insurance plans will pay the cost of a wheelchair if it is medically required.
To find out if this applies to you, contact your insurance provider or check your policy for the term “Durable Medical Equipment.”
Even if your insurance provider cannot provide you with a free wheelchair, they may be able to assist you with the costs.
You should speak with your health-care practitioner.
Many insurance companies may cover the cost of a wheelchair if your doctor fills out paperwork or writes a doctor-prescribed therapy stating that you require one for medical reasons.
Obviously, the specifics depend on your insurance plan.
Some medical insurance policies will cover the cost of purchasing a wheelchair, while others will cover the cost of leasing one.
It could be determined by your individual requirements.
If you will need a wheelchair for an extended period of time, insurers may want to purchase rather than rent.
Furthermore, if you have certain demands, you may require a customized wheelchair, which must be purchased just for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you rent a wheelchair from CVS?
There are no terms of agreement for wheelchair rental through CVS.
Health, wellness, and pharmacy retailers such as CVS and Walgreens no longer offer wheelchair rentals.
While pharmacy retailers cannot offer wheelchair rentals, visit sites such as scootaround.com or mediequip.net to learn how to rent a wheelchair.
Can I get help to buy a wheelchair?
The Motability Scheme can help if you want to hire or buy an electric wheelchair.
It allows some people to use their benefits to pay for a wheelchair.
How do I know if I need a wheelchair?
If you or someone you love is having problems getting around on their own, it may be time to consider a wheelchair.
Sometimes, help is needed on a temporary basis, such as recovering from an accident or injury.
Other times, someone may need a wheelchair to aid in their overall mobility for the long term.
How long should a wheelchair last?
The average lifespan of a wheelchair is 2 to 3 years, with a maximum of 5 years for manual wheelchairs.
The more a wheelchair is used, the shorter the lifespan will be due to daily wear and tear.
How much does a basic wheelchair cost?
If you opt for a standard, manual wheelchair, then you can expect to pay from $100 to $500.
A manual wheelchair is a wheelchair that you move on your own without the assistance of electronics.