Financial Assistance Options for Adaptive Driving

By Guest Blogger Chris Miller, Director of Interactive Marketing, The Mobility Resource, Disability Blog, September 26, 2012

Photograph of a man in a wheelchair, with a woman sitting on his lap, and a van with a ramp in the background

Americans love their wheels. Whether it’s a leisurely drive through a beautiful countryside, hitting the highway for a quick get-away or simply going to work, people look forward to the freedom of mobility. Many individuals with disabilities, however, require varying types of vehicle adaptions to enjoy that sense of freedom. Unfortunately, they often face prohibitive costs when it comes to purchasing the proper equipment for their transportation needs.

The good news is that funding assistance to purchase new adaptive vehicles or to retrofit existing vehicles is becoming increasingly available. Through these programs, people with disabilities have access to rebates and incentives for new vehicles adapted for their specific needs. In some cases, assistance is available for adaptive equipment installed through upfitters – vehicle modifiers or adaptive equipment installers – who will ensure vehicles are adjusted to suit individual needs and are compliant with federal and state guidelines. Adaptations can include driving devices and equipment, hoists and carriers, seat modifications and power seats, ramps and running boards and other necessary equipment.

Whether you prefer vans or sedans, trucks, SUVs or crossovers, there are a variety of government programs and automaker rebates, as well as private and association-based funds, that can make adaptive mobility equipment more accessible and affordable.

Government Programs

State Programs

For Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a grant enabling veterans and service members to purchase a new or used automobile to accommodate certain disabilities that resulted from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated during active military service. There are two components of the grant, each requiring a separate form, but some veterans could be eligible for both:

For more information on this program, call 1-800-827-1000 or read the VA’s “Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants” fact sheet.

Automakers Rebate Programs

A number of automobile makers are stepping up to provide persons with disabilities a wide range of rebates and incentive programs. Many of these programs cover not only new and leased vehicles, but also third-party adaptive equipment installation. Below is an overview of some programs from auto manufacturers offering rebates or reimbursements for people who require adaptive equipment.

And the list goes on…

In addition to those above, there are myriad funding opportunities available through trade organizations, nonprofit entities and other private sources. The most comprehensive listing of these entities can be found at The Mobility Resource handicap van financial aid directory (The Mobility Resource does not sponsor or endorse any organizations exclusively). Search for assistance by state by visiting http://www.themobilityresource.com/financial-aid/financial-aid-map-portal.

For anyone who enjoys the freedom of mobility and requires vehicle modifications or adaptive products, seeking out the appropriate funding opportunities for your individual needs might take a little time, but it could pay off in years of comfortable mobility.

Chris Miller is the director of interactive marketing for The Mobility Resource. Born with a mild case of muscular dystrophy, he is an advocate for disability rights and mobility freedom. His team has worked closely with several government agencies, non-profits and associations to make it easier for people with physical disabilities to acquire mobility freedom. A graduate of The University of Akron, he holds a bachelor of arts in public relations and organizational communication.

Chris will be attending the National Forum on Disability Issues with his team on September 28 and will serve as a member of the media panel. During this event, teams from both presidential campaigns will discuss their plans for issues surrounding the disability community. Do you have a question for a candidate? Please send it to cmiller@themobilityresource.com.

http://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/2012/09/26/adaptive-driving/

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