Each Wheelchair Service has its own criteria. It will assess your needs, home environment and lifestyle as well as your abilities. Generally speaking they will not supply a powered wheelchair to people who:
can walk, even if only a little
can use a manual wheelchair independently
cannot use a powered wheelchair independently
They will only supply a powered wheelchair for both indoors and outdoors.
If the Wheelchair Service will not provide the equipment you want, it may offer you a voucher for the value of the equipment they specify. You can then top this voucher up with funds from another source to get the powered wheelchair you want.
Wheelchairs provided by the NHS remain its property. This means the NHS is responsible for maintenance and repairs. If you have bought a wheelchair using a voucher, it belongs to you, so you will have to make your own arrangements.
Local NHS wheelchair voucher schemes
Some NHS wheelchair services offer a voucher scheme so that you can have more choice. You receive a voucher to the value of the chair they would have offered after your assessment. You can then put the voucher towards the cost of a chair that you buy privately or in partnership with the NHS.
Ask your local NHS wheelchair service if they offer a voucher scheme.
NHS Continuing Care or your local authority
Some wheelchair users have had powered wheelchairs provided by NHS Continuing Care services or by their local authority Social Services.
You can use the Motability scheme if you get:
Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance
Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of PIP
Armed Forces Independence Payment
or the War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement
You pay the mobility component of your benefit to Motability, which will lease you a powered wheelchair.
If you are in work or looking for work and you need a powered wheelchair to access that, Access to Work may provide a grant to help pay for it. Only around 5% have a powered wheelchair funded this way.
Access to public spaces and buildings for disabled people still often leaves a lot to be desired. A folding wheelchair ramp, such as those available from the Ramp People or on Amazon, can help.
Consider buying a handbike
Biking is a great way of getting around and keeping fit, but is generally not possible for disabled people who do not have use of their legs or have only limited leg mobility. Hand bikes offer an alternative. You can even buy ‘clip-on’ versions, which attach to the front of your wheelchair when needed. Many models are suitable for on and off the road.
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