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Many of our readers have asked how to get free wheelchair vans! Fortunately, we’ve found several ways to get help with an adapted vehicle or with vehicle modification grants.
Modified vehicles are expensive.
A wheelchair van can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000, according to Consumer Affairs. That’s a lot of money, especially for people who are living with a disability and may be barely getting by on fixed disability benefits.
Fortunately, there are many resources that can help.
Can I get a free wheelchair van from Medicare or Medicaid?
Unfortunately, these programs typically do not provide wheelchair vans or conversions. They both follow Medicare rules and Medicare typically only covers medically necessary durable medical equipment (or DME) that your doctor prescribes for use in your home.
Can I get a free wheelchair van from Free Charity Cars or Ways to Work?
Although I love these organizations and they do provide free cars, I don’t honestly believe these are your best bet for getting a free wheelchair van. You can always try… but I wouldn’t personally expect it to work. You may have better luck with a GoFundMe.
There are some nationwide organizations that help with wheelchair vans.
These organizations help people across the United States obtain adapted vehicles.
Special Kids Fund
The Special Kids Fund helps adults and children all over the USA with handicap-adapted vehicles. In order to qualify, you must be able to show that you cannot afford a vehicle on your own. Application instructions can be found on their website.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans may be able to get help from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA program provides a one-time cash payment to help you purchase a specially adapted vehicle. The payment is $22,355.72 as of October 1, 2021.
Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation
The Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation can provide up to $10,000 toward a van purchase or conversion. However, you must have all other payments in place in order to receive funding. On their website, the organization explains it this way: “If requesting $7,000 toward a $30,000 van, you must have already obtained $23,000 to complete the transaction.”
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation offers an Assistive Technology Program that may be able to assist you with vehicle modifications if you have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Details can be found on their website.
Some manufacturers offer rebates as well.
If you don’t qualify for any of these programs, you may be interested to know about the manufacturer rebates for wheelchair vans. The rebates from Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota are typically worth about $1,000.
There are many local organizations that may help with wheelchair vans.
There are several agencies that exist to help people with disabilities. Many of those agencies can assist with the cost of modified vehicles, and we’ve included a list of these agencies below.
However, it’s important to note that these agencies and programs vary widely across America so we cannot guarantee that these agencies will offer free wheelchair vans or vehicle modification grants. You’ll need to contact your local organizations for details.
Centers for Independent Living
There are Centers for Independent Living all over the United States. These organizations are designed to help people with disabilities live as independently as possible. Even if they can’t give you a free wheelchair van themselves, they’ll likely know about any organizations in your area that can assist with this.
Vocational Rehabilitation Programs
In some states, you may be able to receive a grant for a wheelchair van or conversion if it is necessary for you to find and maintain employment. For example, “transportation evaluations” and “vehicle modifications” are listed in Washington State’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation’s Assistive Technology Services list.
Department of Rehabilitation Services
Most states have a Department of Rehabilitation Services that can help you find referrals and connect with state disability resources. If you need help with a wheelchair van, then this is a great place to start.
Aging and Disability Resource Centers
Most states have Aging and Disability Resource Centers. These organizations usually receive federal funding to help seniors and disabled people in their communities, but not all organizations offer the same services. If you’re looking for help with a wheelchair van, this organization may be able to help you or provide a referral.
Americans with Disabilities Act Center
Many states have an Americans with Disabilities Act Center. Since this organization works closely with the disabled community, they may have additional resources and referrals that can help.
Assisted Technology Exchanges
Many states have Assisted Technology Exchanges that assist with Durable Medical Equipment. These exchanges may be able to help you locate free or low-cost wheelchair vans in your area.