By MATP Staff Member Laura Hall
Of all the assistive technology related inquries we receive at the Michigan Assistive Technology Program, questions related to funding accessible vehicles are by far the most prevelent. It’s not suprising, given that these types of vehicles can be quite costly (up to $60,000 or more depending on the type of equipment needed.) Transportation is critical to independent living in the community, and for those areas without access to public transportation, an accessible vehicle may be the only option. People often ask if there is a grant program pay for the entire vehicle, the simple answer is: in most cases, unfortunately not (if I ever win the Powerball such a fund is at the top of my list.)
However, there are programs available to help defray the costs of buying an accessible vehicle, find a used vehicle that is already modified, or establish funding where manageable payments can be made.
- A great place to start researching funding resources is our funding strategy. This guide covers how to determine what AT devices/equipment are best for you, how to find a vendor, funding resources, and much more.
- If you are a veteran, the Veteran’s Administration offers a one-time vehicle allowance up to $20,114.34. According to their website the VA may also assist with modifications.
- The Michigan Assistive Technology Loan Program, through United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan offers loans (possibily at a lower rate than you can get through a bank,) to qualified applicants specifically for the purchase of assistive technology. This link above will provide you with more information (the application is available online.) You can also contact Brenda Henige, the Program Manager at 1-800-828-2714.
- The Ralph Braun Foundation operates on funding cycles. The typical cycle will be open for one month and the application process must be completed online. Awarded applicants will receive up to 25% of the cost of the actual mobility transportation equipment with a cap of $5,000. This program is directed to people who have accumulated most of the money needed to fund the project and just need some help to bridge the gap in achieving their goal. If the selected equipment is a wheelchair accessible vehicle, the grant would cover up to 25% of the cost of the vehicle conversion or wheelchair lift. Funds may not be applied toward the purchase of the actual vehicle.
- There may be some funding resources locally in your community. Your local Center for Independent Living (Disability Network) is the best resource for learning about local funding resources.
- ATXChange has free online classified ads site for used assistive technology, including accessible vehicles, and equipment that could be added to a vehicle. If you can’t find what you are looking for, you can post it as an item wanted and receive an email message telling you if and when someone posts the item.
- A similar website is http://www.disableddealer.com
- We held a webinar on accessible vehicles that outlines all the things to consider when purchasing an adapted vehicle. There is a resource page at the end which includes some funding resources.
- Most of the major auto manufacturers offer mobility rebate programs, that apply when you purchase a new vehicle and need to purchase equipment to make it accessible or provide access to the driver.
- Churches, clubs and other organizations you might be affiliated with can sometimes help with this kind of thing too. Oftentimes, people also choose to hold fundraisers or crowdsourcing campaigns, such as GoFundMe.
Finding funding for accessible vehicles can be difficult, but not impossible. If you have any questions about these resources or vehicle funding, you are welcome to call me at 1-800-760-4600 x 328 or email [email protected] to discuss your particular situation.Tweet