One of the most frequent questions asked of mobility dealers is, where do I get help paying for a wheelchair van? For people with disabilities who are interested in trying to go back to work, Vocational Rehabilitation can be an excellent source for accessible wheelchair van funding.
Vocational Rehabilitation (also known as Voc Rehab or just VR) is a government organization that was setup under the Rehabilitation Act, and is a process which enables persons with functional, psychological, developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities or impairments or health disabilities to overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining, or returning to employment or other useful occupation.
While Voc Rehab receives federal funding it is completely state run, and therefore the policies, procedures, and budgets for voc rehab may vary slightly from state to state. However, the main goal of vocational rehabilitation is the same: getting people with disabilities back to work.
The nice thing about voc rehab is that it serves ANYONE with a disability, regardless of income.
While some services are provided on sliding scales, no one is turned away because of how much or how little their current income is. Furthermore, according to the requirements set forth in the rehabilitation act people with the most severe disabilities are served first.
Essentially, all a work candidate has to do is visit their local VR office, undergo an eligibility assessment, and once approved, will have a specific action plan created for them.
Depending on their desired profession, disability, and skill set, the services rendered can range from transportation services, college stipends, housing coordination, and other services to help that individual achieve their personal employment goals.
As far as funding for wheelchair transportation services, this comes down to the individual needs of the person with a disability. If a person needs help paying for a wheelchair accessible van, typically vocational rehabilitation will go through a bidding process with approved mobility dealers in order to secure the equipment the person needs.
While voc rehab may pay for the cost of any conversion equipment, the VR client is generally responsible for the cost of the chassis. This is where a QAP certified mobility dealer can help in finding affordable new or used vans to be outfitted with handicapped equipment.
Mobility dealers can also accept trade ins of non-accessible vehicles to help cut down on the costs of the vehicle itself.
If you are disabled, interested in getting back to work, but require wheelchair accessible transportation in order to do so, Google "vocational rehabilitation [your state's name]" for your local office contact information.
Your independence is never worth giving up on, and vocational rehabilitation counselors are some of the most compassionate, understanding people.