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How Much Does It Cost To Equip A Car With Hand Controls?

Millions of Americans have some type of disability. Many of the most common disabilities make it difficult or impossible for a person to drive a vehicle with standard controls that require the use of both arms and legs. For disabled drivers who cannot use their legs or feet to operate a vehicle’s pedals, hand controls are an excellent option.

Vehicle hand controls come in several different types. What type of hand controls a person requires depends on the type of disability they have. Some hand controls are simple devices that make turning a steering wheel easier, such as a steering wheel extension or steering ball, while others are more high-tech electronic adaptions.

People have many questions about hand controls: What type of hand controls are available? Can all types of vehicle be fitted with hand controls? Do you need special training to drive a vehicle with hand controls? How much does it cost to equip a car with hand controls? Below we’ll answer these questions and more.

Dr Handicap - hand controls
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: Hand controls make it possible to drive without using your feet or legs.

What Are Hand Controls For Disabled Drivers?

Hand controls refer to any device that is fitted or installed in a vehicle that enables a driver to operate the vehicle entirely with their hands. Hand controls make it possible to drive a vehicle without having to use legs or feet.

Who Uses Hand Controls In A Vehicle?

Hand controls are usually used by disabled drivers who cannot use their feet or legs to operate a vehicle. This could be a person who has had one or both legs amputated, or someone who has a loss of mobility or power in their leg or foot that makes operating the pedals difficult.

What Types Of Vehicle Can Be Fitted With Hand Controls?

Any type of vehicle can be fitted with hand controls. Anything ranging from a large truck or SUV to a small sports car can be driven using hand controls. Even Harley Davidson motorcycles can be fitted with them!

What Types Of Hand Controls Are Available?

Hand controls enable a driver to operate the gas and brake pedals (and the clutch in manual vehicles) with their hands using levers or buttons on or near the steering wheel.

The most common types of hand controls are:

  • Push/pull accelerator/brake devices
  • Over-ring push accelerator
  • Ghost under-wheel accelerator
  • Brake levers
  • Trigger operated accelerator/brake devices
  • Stick-steer steering devices with secondary controls
  • Various remote control devices that mount on a steering wheel and operate vehicle controls
  • Floor-mount mechanical accelerator/brake levers
  • Steering wheel extension
  • Steering wheel-mounted steering ball

How Much Does It Cost To Put Hand Controls In A Car?

The cost of putting hand controls in a car varies a lot depending on what type of hand controls you choose. At the top end, digital accelerator rings can start at $12,000. Various push/pull devices cost between $1,000–$6,000. Steering wheel extensions and steering wheel mounted steering balls can cost as little as $50.

Does Medicare Pay For Automobile Hand Controls?

Medicare may cover the cost of automobile hand controls if they are deemed to be “durable medical equipment”. You may have your costs covered if hand controls are deemed medically necessary by your physician.

Dr Handicap - car controls
Image by lukpixaby on Pixabay: Hand controls can be fitted on any car.

Can You Qualify For A Disabled Parking Permit If You Use Hand Controls?

Any driver who needs to use hand controls because they have a disability that prevents them from being able to use their feet and legs to operate pedals will qualify for a disabled parking permit.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit include two broad categories that almost always apply to people who cannot use their legs or feet to drive:

  • Any person who cannot walk 200 ft without needing to stop to rest
  • Any person who cannot walk without the aid of an assistive device such as a crutch, cane, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or another person

How Do I Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a disabled parking permit is to arrange an online consultation with a medical professional through Dr. Handicap. The examining medical professional will verify your disability and fill in the relevant sections of a disabled parking permit application form, which you can then submit to your local DMV.

Featured image by Skitterphoto on Pixabay

Will Medicare Pay For A Wheelchair Access Van?

Medicare helps a lot of people, especially those with disabilities. Still, it changes quite frequently and what was once covered may not be covered anymore.

Many people with mobility issues need a van to transport themselves and their equipment where they need to go. But this is not an inexpensive purchase. The question many people want to know is: will Medicare pay for a wheelchair access van? Read on to find out more!

Who Does Medicare Cover?

In the United States, Medicare is a health program for people over the age of 65 and people under that age with a disability. It provides healthcare coverage so you can see a doctor and receive medication. The real question for those with disabilities is: will it help to cover the things needs to improve your personal mobility?

Dr Handicap - health care
Image by Bill Oxford on Unsplash: Will Medicare pay for a wheelchair access van? Maybe – if you have Part C.

Will Medicare Pay For A Wheelchair Accessible Van?

Medicare is made up of four parts and each part has a separate function. These parts are:

  • Part A – Covers skilled nursing care, hospice, and hospital services
  • Part B – Covers outpatient services
  • Part C – Also called Medicare Advantage; allows a patient to choose a health care plan with a private health care provider and may help with the costs associated with transportation (but you’ll need to check with your provider)
  • Part D – Covers prescriptions

There’s no guarantee that Part C will help with any costs associated with a new van. As you can see, Parts A, B, and D have no coverage for mobility aids such as a handicap accessible van.

Will Medicare Help Pay For A Wheelchair Lift On A Vehicle?

The answer to this question is, unfortunately, no. While many people depend on Medicare to help cover their health care costs, it does not deem mobility devices as a covered expense. Medicare is not meant to be a full-coverage option of health care for most people. Instead, it is meant to be a foundation from which you can build a plan that helps to cover your health care costs.

Does Medicare Cover Power Wheelchairs or Scooters?

Power wheelchairs and scooters are classified under Medicare as power-operated vehicles. That’s not the same as a personal mobility vehicle, which is what they consider a handicap accessible van. Medicare does pay for power-operated vehicles, such as a power wheelchair. But even with a prescription for durable medical equipment from your treating physician, Medicare will not cover a personal mobility vehicle.

If you’re looking to get a power-operated vehicle, it’s important to know that a prior authorization is required before it will cover the purchase. If your doctor prescribes a scooter, for example, you must have the durable medical equipment device supplier submit a request on your behalf to Medicare before it is covered. If you buy it first then apply for reimbursement, then you may find yourself in a tough spot.

What About Medicare’s Medigap Coverage?

Medicare offers something called Medigap. This is an additional health insurance plan that can be purchased from a private health care provider that will cover things Medicare will not cover, such as deductibles and co-pays.

It’s important to note that Medigap doesn’t allow for additional coverage such as vision or dental and many won’t cover prescription drugs, either. Medigap also won’t cover accessible van purchases.

Dr Handicap - research
Image by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash: Medicare grants for wheelchair vans are out there, you simply need to do your research to find them.

Who Can Help With Accessible Van Purchases?

If you’re disabled and need an accessible van to provide transportation, there are programs out there that can help. Grants are available nationwide, as well as grants in specific states and for people with specific conditions. Doing a search for these grants may help to get you at least some of the money you need for an accessible van purchase.

A couple of options that can help pay for your accessible van include:

  • The US Department of Veteran’s Affairs has accessible van grants available for veterans
  • Special financing options from accessible van dealers

If you or someone you love is struggling to find the resources for an accessible van, Medicare may not be able to help, but there is help out there. Don’t give up if you are having issues finding assistance, because this is a problem many of those in wheelchairs must contend with, and help is available.

Featured image by Dave Kim on Unsplash