With such a wide range of adaptive equipment solutions available, associated costs for modifying a vehicle can vary greatly depending on an individual’s needs. Some adaptive equipment, such as a special seat-back cushion, can provide a better view of the road for as little as $50. More complex equipment, such as hand controls, can be purchased for under $1,000. However, a new vehicle modified with adaptive equipment will cost anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000.
Whether you are modifying a vehicle you now own or purchasing a new vehicle with adaptive equipment, it pays to do your homework first. By consulting with a driver rehabilitation specialist before you buy, you can learn what adaptive equipment you need now or may need in the future, avoid paying for equipment you don’t need, and learn about opportunities for public and private financial assistance.
There are programs that may help pay part or all of the cost of vehicle modification. For information, contact your State’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or another agency that provides vocational services, and, if appropriate, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. You can find phone numbers for these State and Federal agencies online or in your local phone book.
Be aware of the following:
- Some nonprofits that advocate for individuals with disabilities offer programs that may help pay for adaptive devices. Generally, these groups and programs represent local resources. To learn about any available programs in your area, contact your State government office that handles services for persons with disabilities.
- Automotive insurance may cover all or part of the cost of adaptive equipment if your need for such equipment is a result of a motor vehicle crash.
- Workers' compensation typically covers the cost of adaptive equipment if your need for such equipment is a result of a job-related injury.
- Most major vehicle manufacturers offer rebates on adaptive equipment, usually up to $1,000, provided you purchase a vehicle less than one year old. Your local automobile dealer can supply information on these programs and assist you with the application process. Contact information for vehicle manufacturers offering rebates on adaptive equipment is listed on page 18 of the brochure under Resources.
- National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) members are also familiar with vehicle manufacturer rebates, can help you apply for these rebates — and can provide pre-purchase advice about the type of vehicle that will accommodate your adaptive equipment needs.
- Some States waive the sales tax for adaptive devices if you have a doctor’s prescription for their use.
- The cost of adaptive equipment may be tax deductible. Check with a qualified tax consultant to learn more.