My father has a dr order for a motorized scooter but the facility he lives in isnt allowing him to have one without paying a $3500 security deposit. He is low income and getting community care help. We were told by them that his coverage would be dropped if he came up with the money because it would be seen as a "income" Prior to moving in we saw others with scooters so we never thought it be a problem. Can they ignore a dr order and discriminate for being low income?

Discrimination is only at play when there are different rules for people.


Facilities have to make rules to ensure that all residents are safe. A safety test must be performed in order to ensure that the resident can safely operate the scooter around obstacles including other residents, doors, staff, carts, furniture, etc, as well as show that they know how to control it at a safe speed and how and when to stop it in emergencies. If they pass this, the facility can also assess an additional fee in order to cover any potential damage that the resident could cause with the scooter if they lose control over the scooter.

If they do not pass this test - they can and will refuse to allow the resident to keep the scooter. And request that the resident begin to use a manual wheelchair. Even if the scooter is doctor's orders.

My FIL had a very expensive electric scooter provided by the VA, by his doctor, when he moved into the VA Veterans Home back in April. WE weren't even going to take it because we knew his history with it and knew it would be VERY bad idea. HE demanded that we leave it and made a HUGE stink over it so they asked that we leave it. He was told that he could not use it until he had passed the safety test. He was then gradually allowed to use it in the "assessment phase" with the physical therapist - still being told very clearly that he was ONLY allowed to use it when he was with the PT.

Which meant that he had NOT been tested AND that he was NOT allowed to use it on the weekends because no PT was on site.

He took it upon himself to go joyriding (not even sure why he had access to the key - I guess they just trusted him to follow the rules) over the weekend and had himself a ball - nearly injured several people, scraped a few walls. But luckily no one was hurt.

Monday morning I guess he forgot himself - and got on it just as the PT came into the room - and got busted - she asked him why he was on the scooter when he wasn't cleared for using it without supervision yet. He got mad and told her he had been riding it all weekend and she told him he wasn't supposed to be on it and asked him to please get off of it. He tried to drive around her into the bathroom and apparently hadn't tried THAT over the weekend, lodged the scooter in the door and got trapped. And managed to fall off of the scooter on to the toilet trying to get off of it and it ended up as a 5 alarm call to the nurse's station for help before it was over with.

When it was all sorted out - and he was back in the bed (no injuries - he was totally fine - the poor PT was bruised all over from trying to help him). He looked at her and said "So when will you let me have my scooter back? I'm done with this stupid testing stuff. I want it permanently." She just looked at him and said "you won't be getting it back." He said "what do you mean?" And she said "you couldn't follow the rules. You never even GOT to the test. We'll be calling your family to take it back home."

It's been back home ever since. He won't ever even get the opportunity to try it again because he gets in an argument with them every time it gets brought up. If they talk to him about it, he starts yelling at them about not needing to take a test - that he was a professional driver and he doesn't need a stupid test.

One it was discovered that he had dementia and that there was no point in arguing with him - I think it was just a moot point anyway because he is never going to understand now why he needs to take the test.

But there is a genuine reason why the test is in place. He almost really HURT the PT in just a moment. He came very close to injuring several residents during his joy ride. Not everyone -even doctor ordered - should be driving one in a care facility where people move more slowly and there may be more equipment in the way.

My FIL is learning to use a wheelchair.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to BlueEyedGirl94
Hothouseflower Sep 19, 2023
Wow, that’s quite a story. There is one person on my father’s floor who has one. He said he needed to take a driving test. I thought he was joking. I never considered how much of a problem this could be until I read your post.
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Mom's doctor wanted her to try CBD with THC in it and her AL still didn't allow it to be administered.

At both ALs my folks lived at, no motorized scooters were allowed....for obvious reasons. A great number of these folks have some degree of dementia going on as it is. Put them behind the wheel of a motorized scooter and the human and property damage they'd cause would be mind boggling. The property damage my folks caused with a regular wheelchair was astounding.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to lealonnie1

If you really want him to be allowed to use the motorized scooter, I suggest that you look for another place for him to live.

$3500 deposit is quite low for a deposit if he injures a few people, damages furniture and puts dents in walls.

I wouldn't want anyone with a motorized scooter at my Mom's AL/MC facility.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to ChoppedLiver

Scooters are an amazing mobility device but, they can be a pain for caregivers.

My dad had a housemate that would take off on his scooter in the morning and many evenings the facility would get a call that he needed someone to come get him because his battery died.

His caregivers soon tired of that little game and started refusing to run to the rescue, which is a whole 'nother chitshow story, they had 7 other residents that didn't get full care because one of 2 caregivers was out of the house for 2+ hours dealing with the same issue, that could have been avoided with a slight change in said residents daily activities.

He didn't care what his actions did to others and that is the real problem with these situations.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

The doctor order is just so he can get Medicare to pay for the scooter. ALs are private residences. They can make any rule they want. Yes, if Dad can come up with 3500 then its felt he can afford his own care. I would call the people who pay towards his rent, what would happen if a family member paid the 3500. Is it returned when Dad passes or leaves the facility?

Dad may just have to use a wheelchair and be taught how to use it. Medicare pays for that too.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to JoAnn29

The assisted living where my dad is requires that the person also take a "driving test" to assure that they can control the scooter in tight places and can not run over other residents or run into walls/furniture. Before you invest in trying to get the scooter make certain that your dad can handle it appropriately. I've had some pretty close calls with some of the residents in the scooters when they get going.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to jkm999

Alice, discrimination is only at play when there are different rules for people. Guaranteed any residents you saw using a scooter have the same rules applied and have paid whatever the facility requires.

I would be careful to not make that accusations as a manipulation, that could get you labeled as a trouble maker and cause your dad problems.

How about you try to find a solution for the issue instead of causing conflict?
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

A gift is not income. Have a formal letter signed and notarized that dad is gifted a $3500 security deposit.

Contact them via email to get documentation.

To get the prior conversations documented in writing, email them with “Per our conversation on (inset date) with (name), you said (what you wrote above).” I have attached a letter gifting my father $3500. A gift cannot be construed as income. If you wish to dispute this, please cite IRS code and show me your bylaws stating a resident is required to submit a $3500 deposit for use of a scooter.”

Document, document, document.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Erikka
JoAnn29 Sep 22, 2023
Medicaid criteria and IRS are two different things. What the IRS allows, Medicaid may not.
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Their facility, their rules
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Cover909

My step-father had to take a driving test in the facility, he passed and was able to use his scooter.

There were parking rules that he had to follow, one day he parked his scooter in a "No Parking Zone" he got a $50 ticket, 3 tickets and the scooter would have to go bye, bye, fortunately that was his first and last ticket.

You may have to move him to another facility.

Good Luck!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to MeDolly

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