Automotive Grants for the Disabled

by James Rada, Jr.

Being mobile is an important way for a physically disabled person to maintain his independence. However, vans and cars retrofitted for handicapped drivers can be expensive because of the adaptations to the base model that are necessary. Grants are available to help defray some of the cost of these vehicles.

Automobiles and Adaptive Equipment Grants

Run through the Department of Veterans Affairs, a program called Automobiles and Adaptive Equipment for Certain Disabled Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces offers financial assistance to disabled service members to buy a car and adaptive equipment needed to make it usable. The equipment does not have to be new. Funds may also be used to repair, replace or reinstall the equipment. These are one-time payments, and the veteran needs to have been honorably discharged. The veteran also needs to have a service-connected disability from the loss of one or both feet, one or both hands or permanent vision loss. For adaptive equipment, additional eligible disabilities include ankylosis of one or both knees or one or both hips. Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Ave. NW Washington, DC 20420 202-461-9700

Employer Grants

The law requires employers to pay for assistive technologies and mobility equipment to meet the reasonable accommodation provision in the Americans with Disabilities Act. This can include wheelchair vans or adaptive equipment for cars. Businesses with fewer than 30 employees can get a tax credit to cover half the cost of the accommodations, up to $5,000 per year. U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section-NYA 950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20530 800-514-0301


Medicaid sometimes helps disabled enrollees. Medicaid recipients who need transportation can sometimes get help in purchasing a handicapped van or wheelchair lift under the rehabilitative services available through Medicaid in order to help patients become independent. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 7500 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21244 800-633-4227


The Go Out and Live Successfully program focuses on helping people with spinal cord injuries. One of the organization's goals is to help those with spinal cord injuries become more mobile and independent. Applicants for funding must explain their need and provide an estimate of the cost of a vehicle or adaptive equipment. The program will not fund the entire cost of a van, but will make the down payment. Go Out and Live Successfully P.O. Box 7106 Albany, NY 12224 561-212-6499

About the Author

James Rada, Jr. was a newspaper reporter for eight years and earned 23 awards from the Maryland Delaware D.C. Press Association, Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Maryland State Teachers’ Association and CNHI. He also worked for 12 years as a marketing communications writer, earning a Print Copywriter of the Year Award from the Utah Ad Federation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications.

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