Wednesday 5 December 2018

How to Save Money When Buying Mobility Aids

This week, we've been celebrating International Disability Day (December 3) and this year's theme is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. So there's no better time to talk about mobility aids. Access and inclusion in community was the topic of discussion on social media all day on December 3rd. But it's assistive devices that enable inclusion - mobility aids allow people with disabilities to do what they want, where they want - in other words, to lead an ordinary life. This guest blog post by Erica Sell is especially for US residents, but here are parallel funding assistance programs in Canada. - Donna

The cost of brand-new mobility aids (powerchairs, mobility scooters, walking aids, etc.) can, unfortunately, be exorbitant. Not only that, there is anecdotal evidence from consumers that vendors have charged inflated prices for adaptive equipment. These unscrupulous traders focus only on their greed and heartlessly charge ridiculously high prices for mobility products.

Have the mobility equipment you need and save money. (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

With that in mind and with household bills and other possible medical expenses to think about, it is natural that you’d seek money-saving alternatives. To avoid paying an arm and a leg for mobility devices, do not purchase straight from a distributor if you can help it. Instead, take a look at these more affordable ways of getting your mobility equipment:

Check Federal and State Grants

The US government offers Medicaid for adults. This is a federal and state program, actually the largest in the country, for low-income citizens. Aside from being designed for adults, children, and pregnant women, it also covers the elderly and individuals with disabilities. So, before you buy a stairlift or a wheelchair straight from a supplier, check first if you qualify for a government grant.

Since this program is both a federal and state initiative, the benefits differ from state to state. However, they are comprehensive. Mandatory benefits include home health services, inpatient hospital services, transportation to medical care, and more. Medicaid can certainly pay for a power wheelchair if you meet the coverage and eligibility requirements.

Those requirements vary in each state, so it is best to check with yours for the details. Generally, you must fall within the resource and income limits set by the government and be considered medically needy. If you are already receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income), you are considered automatically eligible for this benefit.

Take note that a power wheelchair is covered by Medicaid if you have a medical need for it. In other words, you must obtain a prescription from your doctor stating exactly that. To apply for this government grant, visit the Medicaid agency in your state right away.

Approach Charities and Other Funding Assistance

Aside from government programs, you can also approach charity institutions or other funding establishments to help you with your assistive equipment needs. Each of these institutions has their own eligibility requirements. If you qualify, then you need not spend a cent on your mobility equipment.

Silver Cross, for example, provides funding assistance for mobility equipment in the US. You may want to contact them and other similar organizations. Look for grants for disability equipment in your city or state as well.

They’ll likely need you to fill up a bunch of paperwork and prove that you are eligible. Be prepared with documents from your physician or therapist as well. It is standard procedure for charities and any organization providing grants to require these as evidence of your need.

But once all of the paperwork and other eligibility processes are done, you can have your mobility equipment at no charge or for a very low price (if the grant covers only a percentage of the device’s dollar value).

Consider Mobility Equipment Rental

Renting mobility aids and other assistive devices is yet another great option if you wish to save money. This is especially useful if the need for the equipment is temporary or if you are expecting an easing of your finances in the near future. In short, there is no need to buy right now if you don’t have to.

Erica Sell grew up in Northern California. After attending Pepperdine University and graduating from UCSD, she decided to extend her passion for helping people in need into a successful business. She created Harmony Home Medical in 2008. Erica is a Certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) and Certified Aging in Place Specialist

1 comment:

Ronald I Bremer said...

People who had difficulty walking because of a spinal cord injury, limb loss or brain injury often used aids to help their mobility. These included wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, Zimmer walking frames, crutches and walking sticks. People with visual impairment used long canes. We have various type of mobility aids. Please check our site.