Personal wheelchair budgets are replacing the NHS wheelchair voucher scheme. But some local services may not offer wheelchair budgets yet.
The wheelchair service will give you a voucher instead. This has the same value as the chair they offer. You can use the voucher towards the cost of the chair you want.
You can then buy a chair privately using the voucher and other funding, such as:
your own money
If you use a voucher, the wheelchair belongs to you. You will need to maintain and repair it. The NHS will not pay for this.
Your local NHS wheelchair service offers you a £4,000 manual wheelchair but you need an electric wheelchair so you can travel further and be more independent.
The chair you want costs £10,000. You apply for a voucher worth the cost of the manual wheelchair, which is £4,000. You pay the remaining £6,000.
You pay the supplier to service your chair.
Grants to pay for a wheelchair
Getting a grant can help you get a wheelchair for free or pay towards the total cost. You’ll need to meet the grant provider’s rules about:
what they fund
the size of grants
if you can apply
assessing what you need
how to buy the equipment
Some disability charities and trusts offer grants and funding for equipment. Search different charities supporting your condition or impairment to find out how they can help.
Do not apply for a grant from a charity or trust unless you've checked if it will affect your means-tested (income-based) benefits. Talk about your options with your occupational therapist, care manager or local disability information and advice organisation.
Search online for local mobility shops. They can give you advice and might offer maintenance or ‘after care’ services. Going to a store can also mean you can look at the different types to help you decide which one might suit your needs best.
Some local shops might not stock all models. You may need to visit a few stores to try a range of chairs before deciding.
Trying out a chair around the house or on local roads can help you decide on the best wheelchair for you. Disabled Living Centres or demonstration centres have a wide range of equipment on display. They can also give you advice on different styles of wheelchairs.
If you want to buy an electric wheelchair, you may need to show that you can use the chair safely, even if you’re paying for it yourself and not through the NHS, other schemes or grants.