Advances in technology have made a huge difference to the quality of life and the possibilities of mobility available to the differently-abled. Different mobility aids are now available in varied designs and customizations.
One such marvelous invention is the mobility scooter. This article aims to give you a list of places that can help you get a free mobility scooter, or, at the very least, get one at the lowest possible price.
Where to Get a Mobility Scooter?
There are many ways to get a mobility scooter — for free, or with partial payment. The expenses can be met through either federal or provincial/state schemes. Some private insurance companies also cover the cost of mobility aids — fully or partially, depending on the kind of coverage your healthcare plan provides.
Aside from these, many charitable organizations also run programs to help pay for mobility scooters in part, or full. Here is a list of organizations that could help you get a mobility scooter:
- Muscular Dystrophy Association
- The American Outreach Foundation
- The Center for Assistive Technology Act Data Assistance
- American Mobility Outreach
- Easter Seals
- Triumph Foundation
- Nuomotion Foundation
- Tyler Schrenk Foundation
- Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation
- National Council on Independent Living
- National AT Act Assistance & Training Center
- Great Lakes Loan Closets
- Center for Financial Independence & Innovation
- disABILITY LINK
- Lion Clubs
- Latter-Day Saint Charities
- United Way
- Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
- Social Security and State Disability Assistance
- Veteran Affairs Canada
- Insurance Providers
- Community Programs
Medicare may cover mobility devices and other mobility equipment if prescribed by a physician. Medicare will cover the cost of a mobility scooter only if prescribed as an essential for day-to-day activities.
Depending on local policies, it may cover up to 80% of the total cost or provide one for free. To be eligible to receive coverage for a mobility scooter, you must have a doctor’s prescription deeming it medically necessary for you to have one.
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Medicaid focuses mainly on people from low-income groups, the elderly and the disabled. It may cover the remaining cost not covered by Medicare, subject to state laws.
Muscular Dystrophy Association (Canada and USA)
The Muscular Dystrophy Association provides financial aid to people with neuromuscular disorders (or NMDs). Aside from financial assistance for mobility aids and other assistive devices, MDA also helps with rehabilitating and providing nutritional guidance for people with NMDs.
The American Outreach Foundation
The American Outreach Foundation offers medical assistance to veterans and people from low-income groups. They provide mobility scooters to eligible candidates. Eligibility for a mobility scooter depends on the following:
- A doctor’s recommendation
- Proof of annual income
- Letter of denial from your insurance provider
- Doctor’s prescription
Visit www.amricanoutreachfoundation.com for details.
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The Center for Assistive Technology Act Data Assistance
This Act provides funding to all 50 states for the Assistive Technology Act Project — which provides medical services to the disabled, their families, and caregivers. These services include:
- Providing mobility aids to the differently-abled
- Covering the cost of any modifications or customizations that may be needed to the assistive device
- Covering costs of repairs, maintenance, and replacement
Visit www.catada.info/state.html for details.
American Mobility Outreach
This charitable foundation accepts donations of used and new mobility aids. These are then repaired and refurbished to be distributed free of cost to those in need. Visit www.americanmobilityoutreach.com for more details.
Easter Seals provides resources and programs to veterans, seniors, and the differently-abled. They provide assistive devices on loan for up to three months. They also offer various programs to help people with disabilities work and live fuller lives. More information can be found on their website.
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Their Keep Moving Forward Grant helps the physically challenged get assistive aids to make day-to-day living easier. The maximum grant is $2000, paid directly to the vendor. Priority for the grant is given to South California residents. Visit www.triumph-foundation.org for details.
This foundation’s charitable giving funds research and other support services for the physically challenged. They have several grants and sponsorships that help those in need get mobility aids. Visit www.numotionfoundation.org/grants-sponsorships/ for more details.
Tyler Schrenk Foundation
This is a Washington-based non-profit that helps the physically challenged with assistive technologies, thereby enabling them to live more independent lives.
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Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation
The foundation provides assistance to people suffering from neurological disorders. They give charitable grants to people with spinal injuries for assistive devices, home modifications and other equipment.
While residents of Wisconsin are given precedence, the grants are not limited to the state. Visit https://brpf.org/charitable-grant-application/ for details.
National Council on Independent Living
The longest-running grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities, the National Council on Independent Living has been making life easier for the differently abled since 1982. It might be worth your while to check to see what kind of help they can provide.
National AT Act Assistance & Training Center
This center’s mission focuses on increasing access and procurement of assistive devices/technologies by the disabled. They help search for suitable assistive aids, device loans, reutilization, and financial loans for mobility aids.
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Great Lakes Loan Closets
Their directory is designed to help people with disabilities find organizations that give medical equipment on loan for little or no cost.
Center for Financial Independence & Innovation
This center focuses on empowering people with disabilities to become financially independent. Credit-Able is a financing program for Georgians with disabilities to acquire mobility aids and other assistive devices at reasonable interest rates and flexible terms.
An organization run by and for people with disabilities, disABILITY LINK welcomes donations of new and used mobility aids, which are then redistributed to those in need.
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A charitable organization where people join together to improve communities, Lions Clubs use all funds raised for charitable purposes. You could check with your local chapter about funding and equipment.
Latter-Day Saint Charities
A faith-based charity, this organization provides mobility aids for free. They provide free mobility scooters to people with disabilities. Different mobility aids are given away free of cost to the differently-abled based on their needs. Visit www.latterdaysaintcharities.org for details.
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United Way is a non-profit organization that collects funds for local charities, counsels and refers clients, and makes emergency grants when necessary. Visit www.unitedway.org for details.
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Also called MS Focus, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation is a non-profit that focuses on providing critical services to people with MS, helping them with their quality of life. They help locate and fund — in part, or full — a wide range of mobility devices. Visit www.msfocus.org for details.
Social Security and State Disability Assistance
Social Security and disability assistance can cover the cost of a mobility scooter in part, or full. It can, however, take months for your application to be processed. It would be a good idea to look at interim solutions, such as getting a wheelchair on loan, while you wait.
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Veterans Affairs Canada
VAC assists all veterans, serving members, and dependents of the CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) and the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).
They provide financial aid to the disabled for various services to improve their quality of life. Disability aids are covered under POC 13 of the VAC. Policies differ from one province to another. Visit https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng for details.
Many people opt to invest in private insurance schemes rather than those provided by the government, to take care of the costs of services that may not be covered by government health plans. It is a good idea to check with your insurance provider to see whether or not they provide financial aid for buying mobility scooters.
Many churches and other nonprofit organizations may be able to help in this regard. They may be able to fully or partially cover the costs.
Enquiring at local churches and asking around in the community might prove useful. There are many charities in the different provinces, catering to different needs. It is always a good idea to check with them.
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Some people may not be eligible for government schemes such as Medicare. Retailers are one of the options available to such people. Contacting a supplier or retailer directly can also be explored. Some national and local suppliers may provide mobility scooters at greatly reduced prices.
They may also provide refurbished pieces at good prices, but they may come with little or no guarantee. These issues can be discussed with the supplier before buying the scooter.
Mobility scooters are becoming a common sight these days with more and more people welcoming their use because their features make them a very practical option for transport. But mobility scooters don’t come cheap. So, it is always a good idea to explore all available options before investing.