Arlington Man Hopeful for Wheelchair Accessible Van to Help Him Work Again
“There were two things I wanted to be able to do after my spinal cord injury. One was to drive, the other was to shoot pool. “Well, I am going to be able to go shoot pool, and I can drive if I can raise the funds for the vehicle. The biggest benefit of car modifications in a modified vehicle is that a person who has a disability gets their freedom back. . I could visit with people from church, family and friends. I could go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, doctor appointments and the work on my own. It really would help my attitude after as I have been striving for this for 20 years.”
Driving a car is something that many people take for granted — the ability to go wherever you want or need to go, whenever you need. For someone with a disability, though, transportation can be a challenge.
Public transportation is not always available, particularly if you live in suburban or rural areas where transit services may be very limited or non-existent. Even if you live in a place with good transit services, times and schedules are not always convenient.
Rideshare services (like Uber, Lyft, Via and others) do not necessarily offer accessible vehicles. These companies argued in a 2018 court case that they are technology companies, so the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements do not apply. Since then, both Uber and Lyft have made an effort to improve accessibility ride options — Uber introduced UberWAV, UberASSIST and Uber ACCESS, and the Lyft app now has “access mode” — but these services are still only available in select cities.
Vehicle modifications provide transportation options for people with disabilities. “After the spinal cord injury, my caregivers, friends & family for 20 years had to take me everywhere I needed to go and do everything I wanted to do, which can be very hard on all parties involved as they have their own lives to deal with.
That’s why I need vehicle with modifications,” As technology has advanced, so have the ways you can modify vehicles for disabilities. You can add:
• Hand controls and steering devices
• Adaptive ignition controls
• Automatic doors
• Pedal or seat belt extenders
• Left-foot accelerators
• Seat modifications
• Wheelchair lifts and ramps
• Raised roof or dropped floor
• And many more options
Smaller vehicles, like economy or compact cars, do not have enough space for modifications or the wheelchair. I need a larger car such as, truck or van, the cost of just the vehicle will already be higher.
The cost of modifying a vehicle will vary depending on what I need. An important initial action item is finding a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist who can assess my needs.
I do have to pay for these assessments, but vocational rehabilitation agencies, health insurance or workers’ compensation insurance may cover some or all of the cost for the tests. Tests in which I have taken extensively and aced. Next, I had to look for a certified shop to help with vehicle modifications. They provided recommendations, pricing and information about what modifications will work best for me.
Like all drivers on the road, adaptive vehicle drivers must be insured. ADA anti-discrimination laws prevent insurance companies from charging higher rates based solely on the fact that you have a disability. All car insurance companies must offer insurance rates that are reasonable and fair, and it’s important to know your rights.
However, there are reasons someone with a disability may have to pay a higher monthly premium for automobile insurance. Companies may give you a higher quote for premiums if:
• You have a certain medical condition with increased safety risk (such as epilepsy or stroke) of which I DO NOT
• You have a vehicle with custom modifications that would increase vehicle replacement costs in the event of an accident
When you own an adaptive vehicle, you may want to consider additional coverage, such as:
• Higher collision or comprehensive coverage amounts to pay for the full cost of replacing a vehicle with interior or exterior modifications.
• Mobility car insurance, which provides temporary transportation in an accessible vehicle if yours needs repairs.
• Roadside assistance to help with things like flat tires or other vehicle breakdowns.
These additional coverages could increase the premiums for your insurance.
It’s important to tell an insurance company about any medical conditions or vehicle modifications that could impact your coverage. Not doing so could result in loss of coverage or an insurance company that refuses to pay after an accident.
Types of modifications and average cost
Car Modifications Average Cost
Hand Controls $500-$2,000
Wheelchair Accessible $10,000-$24,000+
Amputee Rings $400-$1,000+
Pedal Extensions $50-200
Scooter Lifts $1,500-$14,000
There are several things you can look into for help covering some or all of the cost of your vehicle modifications. Keep in mind that most of the organizations have such high stipulations to both protect the consumer but sometimes are either unobtainable, unaffordable or may take a whole lot of money up front for them to help you, and some just flat don’t apply:
• Auto insurance policies may pay for some or all of your adaptive equipment if you need it after being involved in a motor vehicle crash.
• Workers’ compensation insurance policies usually cover adaptive equipment that is necessary after a work-related injury.
• Medicare will pay for adaptive equipment in some situations. Contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-800-MEDICARE to find out if you are eligible.
• Vehicle manufacturer rebates are available from some manufacturers if you purchase a newer vehicle (usually less than one year old). If you work with a dealer who is part of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), they can usually help you find out what’s available and apply.
• Special financing programs with extended loan terms, lease packages and other options can make adaptive vehicle payments more affordable. An NMEDA dealer can help you discover what options are available.
• Sales tax waivers are available in many states for adaptive devices.
• Tax deductions are available for some adaptive equipment. A tax consultant can help you identify which modifications qualify for these deductions.
• Nonprofit organizations like HELP HOPE LIVE in some local areas offer grants and other assistance for adaptive equipment and vehicle modifications.
Many states and local governments offer grants or other programs to help people with disabilities pay for vehicle modifications through vocational rehabilitation services, disability services or aging services. However I must remind you that there are very few resources to help you pay for the cost of the vehicle itself (most generally no help at all with that unless you do fundraisers through non profit organizations like HELPHOPE LIVE. Cost for a basic van before modifications start approximately 37,000$. Organizations like TWC, will help with modifications to a vehicle, but most generally will require vehicle to be paid off, under 30,000 miles if purchasing, no extensive rust damage and many other requirements.
So, please I ask from the depths of my heart and soul will you please help us raise the money necessary for the vehicle itself to add to the donations we already have raised.
August 2, 2021
I am doing well, living life the best way i can. being appreciative for what i do have and giving God the glory for all my blessings. Hopeful that things will keep moving forward.
July 21, 2021
Photo Galleries (9)
July 18, 2021
Prayers that you will raise the rest of the funds quickly
Kathy-merry Heart Ent Rollwage
July 18, 2021
Praying that you get your money sooner rather than later. This is Bob's mom. It isn't much but I hope it helps.
July 17, 2021
Supporting Rick Snyder
July 17, 2021
I hope you reach your goal!