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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants

Department of Veterans Affairs

Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants

Can a Veteran Receive Financial Assistance From VA to Purchase an Automobile?

Yes. Financial assistance, in the form of a grant, is available to purchase a new or used automobile (or other conveyance) to accommodate a veteran or servicemember with certain disabilities that resulted from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated during active military service. The grant may also be paid, if disabilities are a result of medical treatment, examination, vocational rehabilitation, or compensated work therapy provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The grant is paid directly to the seller of the automobile for the total price (up to $11,000) of the automobile. The veteran or servicemember may only receive the automobile grant once in his/her lifetime.

What Disabilities Must You Have to Qualify for the Automobile Grant?

A veteran or servicemember must have one of the following disabilities to qualify for the automobile grant:

· loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both feet

· loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both hands, or

· permanent impairment of vision in both eyes to a certain degree

Does VA Pay to Adapt a Vehicle?

Yes. Those qualified for the automobile grant, and veterans or servicemembers with ankylosis (immobility of the joint) of one or both knees or hips resulting from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated by active military service may also qualify for the adaptive equipment grant.

Adaptive equipment includes, but is not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and special equipment necessary to assist the eligible person into and out of the vehicle. Contact should be made with your local VA medical center’s Prosthetic Department prior to purchasing any equipment.

The adaptive equipment grant may be paid more than once, and it may be paid to either the seller or the veteran.

How Can I Apply for an Automobile and/or Special Adaptive Equipment Grant?

You can apply for the automobile and/or the special adaptive equipment grant by completing VA Form 21-4502, Application for Automobile or Other Conveyance and Adaptive Equipment and submitting it to your local VA regional office. The instructions on the VA Form 21-4502 contain a list of adaptive equipment that has been pre-approved for particular disabilities.

Note: After you complete and submit Section I of the application, VA will complete Section II and return the original to you. You are responsible for obtaining the invoice from the seller, updating Section III, and submitting the form to your local VA regional office for payment.

If you are entitled to adaptive equipment only (i.e., service connected for ankylosis of knees or hips) you should complete VA Form 10-1394, Application for Adaptive Equipment – Motor Vehicle and submit it to your local VA medical center. Additionally, VA Form 10-1394 should be completed for approval of equipment not specified on the VA Form 21-4502.

For More Information, Call Toll-Free 1-800-827-1000

or Visit Our Web Site at

Compensation & Pension Service – July 2008

Friday, September 23, 2011

AM General is producing wheelchair accessible cars

The much anticipated arrival of the first MV-1 Wheelchair Accessible cars.
An innovative approach to the problem of wheelchair accessible vehicles.

AM General is producing wheelchair accessible cars

Independence Expo

Heading out to the Independence Expo


at the

5th Annual Independence Expo

Sponsored by: United Spinal Association


Friday September 23rd from 10 am to 5 pm and Saturday September 24th from 11 am to 4 pm


Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa


1900 North Buena Vista Drive

Orlando, Florida 32830



Bring yourself, friends, family anyone interested in the latest mobility and adaptive equipment

Come by our booths (514 & 516)

register to win a $100 American Express Gift Card!

Friday, September 9, 2011

What to look for when buying a wheelchair van. Part one: What is a wheelchair accessible van?

A wheelchair accessible van is a van that has been outfitted or modified such that a person who is using a wheelchair can enter and exit the vehicle while staying in the wheelchair. It is necessary that such a modification include all the proper equipment to secure the wheelchair to the vehicle and the passenger to the wheelchair once inside.

Wheelchair accessible van types: From full size to mini

With the increased acceptance of and popularity of power mobility devices, the challenge arose that most normal automobiles would not be able to provide transportation for both the user and the equipment without substantial modifications or equipment add ons. The industry and the public has gotten into the habit of calling all wheelchair accessible vehicles, vans, although several different types of modification are available that are not van based. For the sake of brevity for this article, we will focus on those van based modifications that apply.

When power mobility equipment became mainstream, options for wheelchair transportation were limited and no such thing as a Mini-van, much less a wheelchair minivan even existed. Back in the 80's when my family started building wheelchair accessible vans, every option had to be considered and few people could afford the extensive list of modifications necessary to make the vans accessible.

Using the The Ford Econoline, by far the most ubiquitous van to be modified by the industry, we were able to create vans for both drivers and passengers, many of these are still on the road today. In order to make the full size van accessible by wheelchair, several structural modifications including a raised roof, raised doorway, and modified floor will need to be installed. Furthermore, a lift mechanism or device is needed to elevate the person in the wheelchair up to the floor height of the van so they can roll into the interior. These modifications were determined by how the vehicle was going to be used and what type of mobility equipment the persons had or intended to use.

Enter the minivan.

The industry was very excited about the introduction of the minivan. In order to make the minivan accessible, it was determined that instead of a large lifting device, if the floor was lowered and a ramp was installed, the wheelchair passenger could roll into and out of the van with ease. At first, minivans were designed with a lowered floor in the front driver and passenger areas from the firewall to second row with the ramp coming out of the passenger side sliding door. With the addition of a power ramp and a power door, persons who had the proper training could learn to drive either from their wheelchair or by transferring into a special seat and gain independent mobility. After many years and power mobility devices gained broader acceptance, another style of minivan, designed with a lowered floor from the second row to the rear became very popular. Ideal for passengers and at a significant cost savings over side entry vans, the rear entry model has become another popular choice for many wheelchair users.

* The terms power wheelchair and scooter are not interchangeable. If a person is going to stay on the power mobility device while riding in the vehicle, the device must be rated for that activity. Most power scooters do not have sufficient construction to sustain proper seating in the event of a motor vehicle accident and therefore should never be used as a passenger seat in a vehicle.

S Ramella
Certified Mobility Consultant
scott at sign up for a Free Mobility Consultation you will be contacted by a certified mobility specialist who will provide you with a complete evaluation and guidance toward purchasing a wheelchair van.

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Wheelchair Vans - What to Look for When Buying a Wheelchair Van, Part Two: Driver Versus Passenger

When looking for a wheelchair van it is important to focus on the person in the wheelchair and account for their mobility needs as the primary concern. Secondary considerations are placed on the type and style of the original equipment manufacturer or vehicle. This section takes you through the second step of the process used to evaluate a person for mobility equipment and ensure that they can increase their quality of life by giving them back mobility.

After coming to the realization that you need or may want the convenience of a wheelchair accessible vehicle, many questions will come to mind. Of them, none are as important as the question of whether the person in the wheelchair is going to be a driver or passenger. The answer to this question changes, dramatically, the choices that are available as well as the budget considerations, and options.

Persons in wheelchairs who wish to drive

Persons who are confined to wheelchairs who want to use wheelchair accessible vans and who are drivers, have two primary solutions. First, if they have the ability to transfer into a specially designed seat that can move them from the area near the wheelchair and up into the drivers area, that is called a transfer driver. If they are unable to easily transfer from their wheelchair into a regular seat, then they would need a wheelchair accessible designed for them drive their wheelchair directly up under the steering wheel, using the wheelchair as the seat in order to drive the vehicle.

Of these two the more common and less complex of the two scenarios would be the first called a transfer driver. The adaptive equipment, cost and supplementary systems required for most wheelchair drivers is cost prohibitive, however, many more persons using wheelchairs are increasing the normalcy of many of the modifications that were not so commonly known in the past.

Both of these types of drivers need to have push button access with power doors, power ramp or lift systems, and other automatic and sometimes redundant systems. Furthermore, many will need to have 24 hour service and support because if the equipment or systems fails, the person in the wheelchair could be stuck in an extreme situation.

Persons in wheelchairs who will be passengers

Persons confined to wheelchairs who will be passengers have a host of options available to them in the wheelchair accessible vehicle market. With regard to the wheelchair van passenger, the most important factors to consider, again start with the person in the wheelchair, including their medical diagnosis and the type of mobility equipment they are using or intend to use. Furthermore, with wheelchair van passengers, considerations for the driver have to be taken into account.

Medical diagnosis is an important factor in determining the type and style of wheelchair accessible van to use or select. The primary consideration aside from the physical equipment and mobility of the person is an answer to the question of the stability of the diagnosis. Is the persons mobility in decline? Is their mobility decreasing as their diagnosis progresses or are they on the road to recovery to an increased level of mobility after the damage caused by an accident? What is their mobility and thus their transportation prognosis over the the next three to five years? What equipment best addresses the need they have or will have over the period?

What type of mobility equipment is being used by the person in the wheelchair? Are they using a manual wheelchair and self propelling, are they in a manual wheelchair and require assistance propelling, are they a proficient power wheelchair user, a new power wheelchair user, or just someone who uses a scooter to get around mostly and has limited mobility but some ambulation? These factors and more can be addressed by a trained mobility consultant .

If the person in the wheelchair is going to be the passenger, then the needs and wants of the person responsible for driving the vehicle are going to need to be taken in consideration along with the type of driving that will be done. Is the person behind the wheel comfortable driving a minivan, or full size van? Can they operate the equipment necessary to properly secure the wheelchair passenger to the van and to their wheelchair. Can the person in the wheelchair ride comfortably for extended periods or just short trips?

In conclusion, many different options exist for gaining the mobility and freedom you deserve. The best advice anyone can give you is to contact a trained, certified consultant who will walk you through the process without trying to sell you whatever they happen to have on the shelf.

S Ramella
Certified Mobility Consultant For a free Mobility Consultation

scott at

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Operation Roundup assistance for those in need.

Operation Round-Up

Operation Round-Up provides financial assistance to members of our community who, through no fault of their own, have suffered a catastrophic event. This program allows members who wish to participate to have their energy bill rounded up to the nearest dollar. One hundred percent (100%) of these donations are used to help those who have suffered some significant, unfortunate circumstances. The average Operation Round-Up contribution is only .49 cents per month. All contributions are tax deductible.

Since 1994, Operation Round-Up has disbursed more than $2,480,000.00 to 457 families.
This great program is available to customers of the Withlacoochee Electric Cooperative, contact me if you need any information about this great program.