I have been interested in finding out how veterans can get a free wheelchair.
According to the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, 30% of veterans end up with disabilities from active duty. (1)
If qualified, persons with disabilities can get a wheelchair from the VA, Medicare, Medicaid, and charity organizations.
Read on to learn more about how disabled veterans can get free wheelchairs.
Table of Contents
- The VA usually offers disability benefits to veterans for specialized equipment.
- The VA offers non-service-connected disability benefits to veterans showing financial need.
- Other programs exist and can offer free wheelchairs to veterans.
How Veterans Can Get a Free Wheelchair?
According to a Military Medicine survey report, 250,000 veterans use wheelchairs. The Veterans Administration (VA) usually covers the assistive equipment needed. (2)
This federal program aims to help veterans with physical disabilities achieve the gift of mobility through benefits.
You must meet the qualifications to get a free wheelchair from the VA. (3)
To do this, you can visit your VA center for analysis to determine the choice of device fit for your needs.
Depending on your analysis and disability type, you may qualify for up to $60,000 in financial benefits to get you going.
With such grants, you can get medical equipment, wheelchair ramps, grab bars, or even an accessible vehicle.
However, the process can be lengthy and may take three to six months to complete.
5 Veteran Wheelchair Programs
If you do not meet the VA qualifications or need help claiming the benefits, you can check out alternative wheelchair programs.
Here is a list of sources where you can get a free wheelchair.
1. Federal Programs
There are two alternative federal programs veterans can rely on to get a free wheelchair: Medicare and Medicaid.
Each program has qualification procedures to allow eligibility for assistive devices.
Medicare has two functional parts, A and B, whereby part B covers Durable Medical Equipment (DME).
Manual wheelchairs and other advanced devices fall under this category and can be a great way to get free mobility aids.
Here is a YouTube video from Medicare School on VA benefits and Medicare.
To be eligible, a VA physician must declare the power wheelchair a medical necessity for performing daily functions.
On the other hand, Medicaid’s eligibility is dependent on the specific state of residence. (5)
Here is a YouTube video from Kris Chana on Medicaid and VA benefits.
The program offers manual wheelchairs.
You can access electric devices depending on your mobility issues by meeting the qualifications listed on the program’s application form.
2. Charity Organizations
Several Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) exist to help veterans injured from military service.
These organizations can allow you to secure devices for mobility before getting your VA benefits.
Most of these organizations have accredited experts who can help you file for veteran benefits.
Organizations offering resources for veterans include the Wounded Warrior Project and the National Association of American Veterans.
3. Insurance Providers
Another method to get a free wheelchair is determining if your insurance provider covers the adaptive equipment cost.
Manual and power wheelchairs fall under the DME category, so the provider can meet the costs if medically necessary.
It will help if you ask what the provider offers for individuals with mobility issues.
This talk will help veteran families know what to expect and what not to, avoiding confrontations later.
Moreover, you will also know whether the provider covers the total cost of a wheelchair or makes a partial payment.
4. Community Organizations
For veterans with non-service-connected injuries, community organizations are an excellent option.
Most of these programs are run by community volunteers who know disabled veterans well. (6)
The organizations include churches, neighborhoods, mosques, and other community-based groups.
Community wheelchair programs make it easy for donors to offer mobility aid donations.
For veterans needing home modifications, such teams unite to ensure the veteran’s home becomes wheelchair accessible.
The program also may organize veteran transportation services to and from healthcare facilities.
For instance, my community has an organization helping individuals with disabilities that allows the community to help change disabled people’s lives.
5. Hold a Fundraiser
Fundraisers are helpful in cases of emergencies. Holding a fundraising event to secure the financial funding needed to buy a new wheelchair makes sense.
You do not need to request forms in legal claim processes, making it a quick way to get the mobility device.
Nevertheless, set a budget for the choice of device you want so there is a target goal.
Take time to weigh your need for the automotive mobility product before holding the fundraiser to ensure it’s the best fit.
Most dealers offer curbside service to pick up and drop off mobility products, so you can have them delivered.
How long does it take to get a wheelchair from the VA?
Getting a wheelchair from the Veterans Health Administration takes three to six months because of the paperwork and the analysis to determine your need.
Does the VA pay for non-service-connected disability?
The VA can grant non-service-connected disability compensation if you prove your financial need. Your income should be less than the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR), which changes yearly.
Can you get free mobility scooters?
Several wheelchair benefit programs exist to help veterans secure free mobility aids. They include federal, charitable, rental, and community programs.
Knowing where and how veterans can get free a wheelchair is essential for active-duty personnel and their families and friends.
After reviewing my compiled list of veteran programs for free accessible wheelchairs, it is up to you to share this knowledge with a service member with a potentially qualifying disability in need of an ambulatory device.
So, are you ready to apply for a free wheelchair? Let us know in the comments how it goes!
- 1. Veteran Facts [Internet]. Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge. Available from: https://combatwounded.org/goals-and-achievements/veteran-facts/
- 2. Dicianno BE, Joseph J, Eckstein S, Zigler CK, Quinby E, Schmeler MR, et al. The Voice of the Consumer: A Survey of Veterans and Other Users of Assistive Technology. Military Medicine [Internet]. 2018;183:e518–25. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/183/11-12/e518/4959951
- 3. VA benefits for service members | Veterans Affairs [Internet]. Veterans Affairs. 2019. Available from: https://www.va.gov/service-member-benefits/
- 4. What Part B covers | Medicare [Internet]. Medicare.gov. 2019. Available from: https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/what-part-b-covers
- 5. Medicaid.gov. Eligibility | medicaid.gov [Internet]. Medicaid.gov. 2022. Available from: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/eligibility/index.html
- 6. What is Non Service Connected Disability Pension? [Internet]. Available from: https://discover.pbcgov.org/communityservices/humanservices/PDF/Vets-Non-Service-Connected-Pension.pdf