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Getting Funding for Accessibility Equipment in the U.S.A.

You might be eligible for funding for your mobility devices

Did you know that you may be eligible for financial assistance to fund your mobility aids and/or home modifications? Some programs may cover mobility aids but not home modifications, and vice versa, so it is important to know which category your product is under:

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Mobility Equipment

Various programs are available nationally and in each individual state to provide financial assistance for mobility and other medical devices.

Medicare — Mobility equipment and some general home equipment are covered by Medicare Part B (durable medical equipment). If eligible, Medicare will reimburse you 80% of the cost or the allowable amount (the maximum price for each product assigned by Medicare) of the item, whichever is less. You are responsible for the remaining 20%. Please note that for lift chairs, only the seat-lift mechanism is covered. To be eligible, a doctor will have to assess your situation and write a prescription for the medical equipment you need. The medical equipment must be deemed necessary for you to complete daily activities and when less costly options are not available. Medicare will only cover your equipment if your doctors and suppliers are enrolled in Medicare and meet the standards to enroll and stay enrolled. For more information visit Medicare’s website.

Medicaid — Medicaid is a joint federal- and state-funded insurance program for low-income, disabled people and seniors. Medical care and support services are almost fully covered for eligible individuals. The requirements to qualify for Medicaid differ from state to state but in general, financial (income and assets) and medical (ability to perform activities of daily living) considerations are evaluated. Depending on the state, different waivers—programs to help people remain in or transfer into a community rather than in a nursing home, institution or hospital—are available. To obtain more information by state visit Medicaid’s website.

Medicaid waivers — Many states have programs (waivers) designed to encourage seniors on Medicaid to move out of nursing homes and move in with their family members or into the community. Money Follows the Person (MFP) is one of them, but it may differ slightly from state to state. In general, waivers are available to people who need home modifications to assist with daily living as they transition out of a nursing homes they have been staying in for more than 90 days. Visit the Medicaid website for waivers available in your state.

Tax deductions—Home modification and medical expenses for individuals or dependants that exceed 10% (7.5% of those over the age of 65) of their annual income can be deducted from their taxable income when filing taxes. There are some expenses that are ineligible, such as home modification expenses reimbursed by Medicaid waivers, health insurance, etc. For more information visit the IRS website.

Installation of stair lifts, wheelchair lifts and roll-in showers are considered home modifications because permanent changes are made to the home to facilitate the elderly or disabled person living there. Home modifications are not covered under Medicare or Medicaid. Funding/financial assistance programs for seniors and people who are disabled are available nationally and by state for necessary home modifications.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs—The Department of Veterans’ Affairs offers many different funding programs and financial assistance for elderly or disabled veterans:

  • TRICARE — Covers durable medical equipment prescribed by a physician. Elderly, retired veterans and their families are eligible but there may be enrolment fees for retired military personnel and their families. There are different plans available. For more information on funding visit TRICARE’s website.
  • CHAMPVA for Life (CFL) — Provides funding for the 20% co-pay amount not covered by Medicare for durable medical equipment. Family members of veterans who are disabled or killed in the line of duty, are over 65 years old and not eligible for TRICARE may use this program. To learn more visit VA’s website.
  • Veteran Directed Care — This program provides qualified Veterans personal care services and help with activities of daily living based on a given budget. Visit the VA’s website for more information.
  • Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) or Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grants — For more information on SAH and SHA grants visit the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) — HISA is the only grant that does not require a service-related disability to be eligible. For more information on HISA grants visit the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs.

Non-profit and other organizations—There are many non-profit and other organizations that offer assistance for seniors and disabled people both nationally and locally.

Local providers of medical equipment such as stair lifts, wheelchair lifts and power wheelchairs routinely deal with Medicare, Medicaid and other national or local organizations that offer funding. They are familiar with various eligibility and application processes.

Funding Resources by State

You may also want to visit the links below for the following government funding locations: