How does a person afford a wheelchair accessible van?

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My husband is 67 and wheelchair bound. We have used our county's transportation services as they have wheelchair accessible vans, but one has to adhere to their schedules, and they do not travel outside the county. Having a wheelchair accessible van would be a blessing.


I've been doing some research on handicap accessible vans. I've found the only affordable ones are over 10 years old and have over 100,000 miles. I'm no fool and I'm aware these vans, no matter what the dealer says, are on borrowed time.


How does a person, on a fixed income, afford one of these vans? My husband is not a veteran, so wouldn't get benefits. He does have Medicare and Supplemental, but I'm sure they wouldn't help. A new van can cost over $40,000 with a monthly payment over $300.


Do we have any chance, other than winning the lottery, of being able to afford a van?

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Hugemom, I don't know if this would work for you, as it is quite limiting in terms of support, but do you think a visiting physician service could substitute for some of the doctor's visits? With us, the visits are primarily to specialists, so we wouldn't benefit from a visiting physician except just for routine checks, but perhaps it might help you, especially in the wintertime.
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Hugemom; does your husband qualify for Medical transport services, such as an ambulette?
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Thank you all for the great ideas. Since asking my question, we had an "incident" after using the public transit--we had a doctor's appointment and got there ok, but when we came back, I could not get 325 lb. hubby and his wheelchair back up the ramp. I had to enlist the help of a neighbor who was out cutting his grass. I cannot do this again. While this neighbor was a Godsend, it leaves us open to lawsuits if someone should get hurt helping us. We are hoping Medicare approves an electric wheelchair, as I've been told there is little chance they would cover a Milford lift or an accessible van. Doctor's appointments are a way of life for us and we need to figure something out. We do not have the funds to purchase an accessible van out of pocket, so I will be speaking to our dealer before our current car comes off lease. There is a huge mobility dealership not too far from us, and I will be calling them as well. Hopefully, one of them will be able to help. Thanks again!
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One of my friends recently purchased a wheelchair accessible van and other mobility products like stair lift for her grandmother from http://www.spinlife.com/ at very affordable rates. You can also check the same. You can also hire a van temporarily till you get a new one. You can ask for installment payments as it would be easier for you to pay.
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I'm glad Careisgiving was able to give you another option, HM! I hope it works out for you. I looked at one of those lifts for my mother, but for us, it was more practical to have a van.
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I have already contacted the company for information. I am so grateful to you for telling me about this. I am certain that, if we can afford it, this will be good for my husband mentally as well as physically and get him away from the television. One last question, did Medicare or supplemental insurance cover any of this for you?
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Contact the dealer for a list of local installers. Mine was installed by a dealer specializing in handicapped motor equipment, such as cars and bicycles and motorbikes. This lift is wonderful. The lift will be drilled into the floor so there will be minor damage but you can get this easily repaired/covered up. And when the time comes, you can sell the vehicle with lift as a handicapped vehicle for a lot less than a wheelchair van and this will peak the interest of multiple buyers.

Because my mother has no core strength whatsoever (she slides in her bed, actually, and I have to pull her up to feed her), she's not appropriate for a wheelchair van because I would have to use one arm/hand - while driving - to hold her up. This wasn't safe for us and for the people on the road.

Good luck!
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Careisgiving, this lift looks wonderful! If I can find someone to install it in Akron, Ohio, or Cleveland, it could save us thousands. Thank you!
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Google Milford Autochair Lift. And search for this on YouTube. I had this lift installed on the passenger side of my car, transporting my wheelchair bound mother into the passenger seat. It runs on the car battery. It cost me nearly 5K for the whole installation. To ease the pressure off of my back of loading and unloading the wheelchair after I put Mom in the passenger seat, I had a used wheelchair lift installed in my trunk. I drive a 2000 VW Passat Wagon. A wheelchair van was not an option for us.

If you don't go out often, like only once a week, then maybe a handicapped taxi or handicapped Uber can be an option if you live in a well-populated area.
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Well, let's be realistic here - a brand new van is completely out of reach for most of us. It's ridiculous what they charge for them. So let's wipe that completely off the slate.

However - you may need to adjust your thinking about vans with 100k miles on them. These days, most vehicles can go up to 200k with regular maintenance and the occasional other repair. I think you're discounting vehicles that may actually be within your price range because of the miles they have on them, and that may be a mistake.

Prime example: I purchased a perfectly nice, clean wheelchair accessible conversion van with a side lift when my dad was in a nursing home (but expected to come home after rehab). It had about 105k on it when I bought it for $7900, no rust, clean interior and perfectly operational lift. Unfortunately, Dad never got to ride in it, as he never came home from the nursing home. Mom, however, really enjoyed it, and we took it on at least 2 long trips - one to take Dad's ashes "home" to his hometown over 600 miles away (so 1200 miles round trip) - and it held up well. Yes, we had to do some work on it from time to time - things like replacing the brake lines - but those are normal repair jobs when you live in the rust belt. Brake lines don't last forever here, where they're constantly splashed with road salt and ice.
After that van was totalled in an accident (rolled over on black ice - not something I want to repeat - ever), I replaced it with a large commercial conversion van with a handicap lift in the rear and an empty cargo area that was set up for someone to ride in a wheelchair while being safely strapped down. It had about 102k on it and we paid $8,000 for it. It lasted for 3 years before I traded it in when Mom no longer traveled anywhere. Again - there were maintenance issues I had to take care of, but nothing major or more than you would with any used vehicle. Brake lines were replaced once, full brake job once, heater blower motor went out once and then the thermostat. Other than regular oil changes, etc, that was it. Never even had to put tires on it in that 3 years. And that van made more than its share of long trips - 2 or 3 trips to Dad's hometown 600+ miles away, 2 trips to visit my son over 600 miles away, and multiple rides and day trips with Mom of several hundred miles.  Not to mention this is the van that I got stuck in the woods on a 2-track road and had to have pulled out by a tow truck.  (Mom's memory was starting to fail at this point and she wanted to find a beach she & dad used to frequent when they were dating - so I followed her directions of "turn here....I think we turned here....ok, turn here...." until we ended up in the woods with nowhere to turn around and got stuck.  She laughed about that til the day she died.)

Will a vehicle with 100K miles on it last you forever? Nope. But it will buy you some time to save up for the next one, and if you get a good one, it can last you several years, depending on how much you drive, how far you travel, and whether you maintain it properly.
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