We completely understand the terrible predicament you’re in if you have mobility concerns yet are unable to afford to purchase an electric or manual wheelchair. It is reasonable that not everyone can afford a wheelchair given the high price of modern wheelchairs, which may often cost as much as a month’s pay or more.
The good news is that there are workarounds for the high prices.
Regardless of how much money you have in the bank, we think you shouldn’t have to forgo a wheelchair if you’re temporarily or permanently crippled. Fortunately, there are many wonderful organizations and initiatives out there that are dedicated to assisting those in need obtain the mobility assistance they need so that they can once again live their lives to the fullest.
1. Programs offering free wheelchairs to the elderly and disabled:
Many localities provide free wheelchairs for elderly people and anyone with mobility issues who cannot afford to buy one. Typically, churches or neighborhood charities oversee these activities. Wheelchairs are purchased with funds raised through fundraising campaigns and distributed to persons in need of assistance.
Finding out about these programs is best done through word of mouth. Ask around and see if you can find any local forums or support groups. The amount of help that is at your disposal might surprise you. Of course, you can look into free wheelchair programs in your town or city online as well.
2. Programs of Governmental Assistance (Medicare & Medicaid):
It’s important to find out if you qualify for a free wheelchair through Medicare Part B, which may also cover DME electric wheelchairs. You might be eligible for a free chair or a wheelchair or scooter with a significant discount if you meet specific criteria. Typically, you will want a doctor’s note attesting to the severity of your mobility issues.
A scooter, manual wheelchair, or electric wheelchair may also be covered by Medicaid if they are deemed necessary for everyday activities. However, Medicaid eligibility differs from state to state, so if you want to find out more, you can get in touch with or go to your neighborhood state Medicaid department.
Although manual wheelchairs are typically easier to use, the following requirements must be met to qualify for a free electric wheelchair under Medicare or Medicaid:
- The applicant must need to use an electric wheelchair mostly at home to complete daily tasks;
- The applicant must have a medical certificate from their doctor attesting to the severity of their mobility limitation;
- The applicant’s Medicaid/Medicare application must have all the requirements completed.
Don’t give up, though, if your wheelchair application is turned down if you are not eligible: Consultation with a local, state or federal charity or organization is the best course of action after that. Numerous programs provide wheelchairs to community people who cannot afford to purchase one, such as:
3. The Wheelchair Foundation:
The Wheelchair Foundation is a wonderful nonprofit organization that provides free wheelchairs to people who have mobility issues but cannot afford one for themselves.
The charity’s goal is to “give a wheelchair to every child, teen, and adult in the globe who needs one but cannot afford one,” offering “Hope, Mobility, and Independence.” It was founded in 2000 and has now distributed over 750,000 wheelchairs across 150 nations.
The Wheelchair Foundation provides wheelchairs to persons in need in the USA by collaborating with The Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, Catholic Charities, and other humanitarian agencies. For more information, go to wheelchairfoundation.org or get in touch with one of these groups.
4. The Mission for Free Wheelchairs:
A Christian nonprofit organization called The Free Wheelchair Mission takes wheelchair donations and distributes them to people with mobility issues who are in need. In approximately the past 20 years, this very large organization has distributed over 1 million wheelchairs.
However, it’s important to note that the Free Wheelchair Mission concentrates exclusively on nations outside of the United States, thus if you live in the USA this organization is probably unable to assist you. Visit freewheelchairmission.org to learn more about this nonprofit organization.
5. Lifenets Wheelchair Initiative:
The Lifenets Wheelchair Project is comparable to the other organizations on the list, except it only operates online and has a much smaller mission.
To connect supply and demand for wheelchairs for individuals in need, the website’s platform lets users publish wheelchair donations and wheelchair requests.
Additionally, the scheme encourages recipients to give wheelchairs they get from the charity away when they are no longer in use. It runs on a self-sustaining donation mechanism in this fashion. Visit lifenetswheelchairproject.org to learn more.
6. Your Insurance Organization:
The cost of an electric or manual wheelchair may be covered by your health insurance coverage and provider, so it is worth checking. When deemed medically essential, many insurance policies will pay for a wheelchair. The simplest way to determine if this applies to you is to speak with your insurance company or look up “Durable Medical Equipment” in your insurance policy. Even if your insurance provider is unable to provide you with a wheelchair for free, they may be able to assist with the expenditures.
For instance, if you’re having trouble, Alternatives in Motion in West Michigan can frequently help. Check out our post on how to buy an electric wheelchair for the lowest possible price if you have some money but only want to lighten your financial load.