It’s no secret that finding the funds to purchase a wheelchair van can be a Catch 22 for someone with a disability. For starters, many wheelchair users have enough other accessibility and medical-related expenses that it’s difficult to afford a wheelchair van. And obviously it can be hard to find quality employment without reliable transportation to and from your job.
If you’re looking for ways to afford a wheelchair accessible vehicle, make sure you’ve researched all possible options first. While you may not find a way to cover the vehicle’s cost, the possibilities below may go a long way in getting you on the road to independence.
First of all, every BraunAbility dealer has a good selection of quality used vehicles. Many dealers would agree that wheelchair vans – because they are so critical to their owners – are some of the most well-maintained vehicles on the road. An important point to make: avoid the temptation to search used accessible vehicles on sites like eBay. Make the trip to your nearest BraunAbility dealership and try out the wheelchair van before you make a purchase. Buy one you haven’t tested first-hand (especially a handicap van), and you may end up with a vehicle that you can’t rely on, or in some cases, can’t even fit into!
FUNDING AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS
Although regulations vary from state to state, you may have luck checking with your Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or Division of Developmental Services. Many state offices will cover the cost of adaptive equipment that allows a person with a disability to remain in the workforce. And, of course, if you’re a veteran you should check with the Veterans Administration Agency, which provides assistance to qualified veterans who need to equip a vehicle with adaptive equipment.
Many nonprofit organizations offer support for mobility modifications. Whether the nonprofit is related to a medical condition (National M.S. Society or Easter Seals) or is a charitable organization (Knights of Columbus), you may find financial assistance through any number of nonprofits.
Although it takes a good deal of time and effort, fundraising is another alternative that many of our customers have found helpful. While fundraising may not afford the entire cost of a vehicle or its conversion, many customers have come up with the funds for a down payment through local efforts, from charitable motorcycle rides to flower sales to golf outings. Check out this recent blog about a BraunAbility family who used fundraisers for their new van’s down payment.
And a few final considerations: Our Help Me Buy pages will get you started on information about BraunAbility Finance and more. And, of course, your insurance or workman’s compensation policies may include coverage for your type of disability. Don’t overlook other opportunities to further reduce your costs. Your doctor’s prescription, for example, may exempt your purchase from sales tax.
A wheelchair van is an investment….and it’s not inexpensive. There are ways to make the purchase more affordable. If you have any suggestions for the disability community on how to make mobility more affordable, please share them!