"How Can I Finance My Wheelchair?" "How Can I Get A Free Wheelchair?" "How Can I Get A Grant?"
What You Need to Know
Can I Get A Free Wheelchair On The NHS?
If the assessment finds you eligible, you will be given two options.
However, this is affected by what chairs they have available in your area and can mean you won’t get an ideal chair. Furthermore, the system is massively overloaded and waiting times are long.
For most people, it takes around 3-6 months to get a chair, with this varying depending on where you are in England. The wheelchair repair service has also been known to be inefficient and can result in people waiting for repairs and replacement parts.
Unfortunately the budget system, like the voucher system that preceded it, is affected by the underfunded NHS and for many it is simply not possible to get a wheelchair through these schemes.
Can I Get A Government Grant?
You can also be eligible for an Access To Work grant if you are doing an apprenticeship, internship or if you are about to start a job, provided you can show a job offer letter, start date or letter confirming an interview.
Access To Work will not pay the full cost of a wheelchair, as the grant amount that’s paid towards the wheelchair is calculated based on how many days a week you work, with the remainder of the cost being paid by you. This is known as the “Social And Domestic Contribution.”
Where Else Can I Get Financial Support For A Wheelchair?
There are charities all over the UK that are committed to providing equal access to care and equipment for people with disabilities. In many cases, these charities give out grants to help pay for necessary equipment, including wheelchairs.
Let’s take a look at a selection of the main charities involved..
Motability is probably the biggest of these charities and is dedicated to providing motorised transport - wheelchairs, scooters or cars - to people with disabilities.
If you are receiving a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for a condition that affects your mobility, then you should receive a portion of your payment that is specifically allotted to mobility. With Motability, some or all of your mobility component can be used to lease a wheelchair or scooter.
Motability also offers grants, so if you are getting a wheelchair through the Access To Work program, Motability offers a grant that can cover the surplus amount you would have to pay.
The Joseph Patrick Trust
The Joseph Patrick Trust is the grants subsidiary of Muscular Dystrophy UK and it provides funding for electric wheelchairs and other essential equipment to people with muscular dystrophy or similar neuromuscular conditions. They cannot cover the full costs of equipment but can award up to £1,090 towards an electric wheelchair.
The Barchester Foundation
The Barchester Foundation offers grants for older people and adults with disabilities and mental health conditions. The average grant from the charity in 2020 was £900 but they can award as much as £5,000 to individuals, however, it’s not possible for the applicant to apply on their own behalf. You will need a third party who is neither a friend nor family member to fill out and submit your application.
Southern Spinal Injuries Trust
Southern Spinal Injuries Trust is a regional charity based in the South Of England that unsurprisingly helps individuals with spinal injuries and they’re able to provide a grant towards covering a portion of the wheelchair cost.
To apply you will need to have already asked for funding from the NHS Wheelchair Services and you’ll also need to have a Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist assess you to select the right equipment. That said, they only accept applications from certain counties so you will need to check your eligibility.
Independence At Home
Independence At Home offers grants to anybody who is a UK resident with a disability and facing financial hardship. This includes funding for wheelchairs, but again, individuals cannot apply for themselves, so you will need a professional worker who is supporting you to submit the application on your behalf along with all relevant medical documents.
The Hospital Saturday Fund can provide full or partial grants towards the cost of medical equipment including wheelchairs.
Other charities worth considering include:
Handicapped Children’s Action
Brittle Bone Society
Friends Of Huck
How Do I Apply For A Grant?
It will help you if you can provide:
The Wheelchair Model You’re Looking For
Firstly, it helps to have a specific wheelchair in mind. Ideally this will have been recommended by a physiotherapist and you may even have had a chance to try it out for suitability. Get a quote from a supplier for the wheelchair you want so you can show how you’ll be spending their grant.
Details of How You’re Paying the Balance
If the grant is only partially funding the equipment you might need to explain where you’ll get the rest of the money and you may need to include your income details on some applications.
You will usually need to provide evidence of a medical condition. If you don’t have copies of any medical documents your doctor can provide them. In some cases, the charity might arrange a home visit before accepting your application.