Five Steps to a New Mobility Vehicle
Purchasing a handicap accessible vehicle is a big decision that involves a significant financial commitment. For that reason, you want to make sure you’re working with mobility dealers capable of providing you with the information and adaptive solutions you need at an accessible price. The following will give you a quick step-by-step overview of how to purchase a handicap van conversion or wheelchair accessible vehicle, and how to make modifications for your current vehicle.
Locate a Mobility Equipment Dealer
A local NMEDA mobility equipment dealer should be your first stop in the buying process. They’re ready to assist and evaluate your personal needs based on your specific situation, including how your needs may change over time. They can also help you determine what types of equipment will work in the various vehicle types and models. See a mobility dealer before you buy a vehicle to ensure the mobility equipment you need will work in the vehicle you want. Unlike an automotive dealer, their emphasis is on mobility equipment and providing the perfect solution to each of their clients. They will also be able to provide valuable information about any funding assistance that may be available to you. See your mobility dealer first!
Locate a NMEDA Dealer Near You
Consult a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS)
If you’d like to drive a wheelchair conversion van, truck or car, you may need to see a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist for evaluation. Your consultation will result in a prescription that lists the precise equipment you will need and may result in driving lessons with the new equipment.
Make Your Final Selection and Purchase
Following the initial consultation, it’s time to decide if you want to purchase a new or a used vehicle. While used wheelchair vans, SUVS, truck and cars are a great option for some, if you require more a more comprehensive or specific conversion, you might require a custom-built mobility vehicle. Consult with your NMEDA mobility equipment dealer near you to fully determine which option is best for you.
Training on Your New Mobility Equipment
After your mobility equipment purchase, you’ll need to learn how to use it. If the equipment is used for driving, it may require several training sessions with your CDRS. It’s important to get very familiar with the equipment within your vehicle to ensure you’re staying safe while on the roads.
When available, submit your Mobility Assistance Reimbursement Application to the appropriate vehicle manufacturer. The step-by-step process may differ from company to company, so it’s best to visit the website for your particular vehicle manufacturer and download the correct forms.
Financing Your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
Purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle can be expensive. Finding funding for these purchases can be a challenge, if you don’t know where to look. Fortunately, NMEDA dealers are specially trained to guide you to programs that may apply to you.
Government Funding For Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
Veterans Affairs Agencies, Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies and various related agencies can provide valuable information, services, and assistance to people with special needs.
Get a Rebate on Your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Purchase
Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) offer rebate assistance to customers when they purchase handicap accessibility products. Each NMEDA member manufacturer has their own program.
Things to Know Before Purchasing Mobility Equipment Online
There are differences between purchasing a new handicap vehicle online compared to in-person. NMEDA advises you to purchase adaptive equipment face-to-face from a reputable establishment near you to guarantee a good product fit, service and safety.
WC19 – Wheelchairs for Use as Seats in Motor Vehicles
WC19 is a voluntary industry standard that establishes minimum design and performance requirements for wheelchairs that are occupied by users traveling in motor vehicles. A wheelchair that complies with all the requirements of this standard is considered to provide a reasonable measure of safe and effective seating during vehicle ingress/egress, during normal transportation, and during a vehicle collision.