Handicap ramps are necessities for those with wheelchairs. While handicap ramps can make getting into your home easier, the process of getting a ramp can seem daunting. If you are in a wheelchair, however, you deserve to have easy access into and out of your home, making it crucial that you seek a handicap ramp. What’s more, you are entitled to get a ramp for free — you should not have to pay anything out of pocket just to get into your home without hassle. Although all of this sounds like a given, the process for obtaining your own free handicap ramps can be complicated. This guide will answer the question, “how do I get a free handicap ramp?” so that you feel prepared to start the process.
Does Medicare Cover Handicap Ramps?
If you are a senior citizen, you probably have Medicare to help cover your medical costs. Even if you use a wheelchair, however, Medicare will not pay for your ramp.
Medicare coverage has two components: Part A, which covers “Hospital Insurance,” and Part B, which covers “Medical Insurance.” Wheelchairs and ramps would be covered by Part B as they are classified as “durable medical equipment.” Because a wheelchair ramp does not “directly treat a medical condition,” however, it cannot be covered by Medicare, even if your wheelchair is or if a ramp is prescribed by your doctor. This sounds unfortunate, but there are other ways to obtain a ramp for free.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be able to receive financial assistance for your ramp. You can get a Medicare Advantage plan through private insurers, and coverage varies between insurers. It will take some time and research to get a plan, but it may be worth it if it will help cover the cost of your ramp.
What About Medicaid?
If you are a low-income individual, you might be on Medicaid. Medicaid can provide waivers for home modifications for disabled individuals if they are deemed medically necessary, so it is a good way to get your handicap ramp covered. Each state has different qualifications, so be sure to review your state’s requirements before applying for your ramp.
Some general application requirements include being on Medicaid and documentation from your healthcare provider proving that your disability hinders your walking.
How to Apply for a Ramp through Medicaid
There are a few different ways to apply for a waiver for a ramp if you are on Medicaid. You can apply directly through Medicaid, although this can be difficult as One way is to apply through the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). The AAA’s purpose is to help seniors regain their independence, so it is the perfect organization to apply through. You can get your application at your local AAA office.
You can also apply for a Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver to waive the cost of your ramp. This method is easier than applying directly to Medicaid, and your chances of getting approved are higher.
Other Ways to Get a Free Ramp
Other ways of getting a free handicap ramp include seeking assistance from non-profits, which is an especially useful option for those not covered by Medicaid. Below is a list of organizations that can provide you with a free ramp for your home.
Habitat for Humanity
The Habitat for Humanity can provide a free handicapped ramp for you if you are a disabled, low-income, or fixed-income senior. Someone from the organization will pay you a visit to evaluate your house and determine the need for home modifications. If approved, volunteers will use donated materials to build a ramp for you.
The AccessABILITY Program is funded by The Ability Experience charity from Phi Beta Kappa. It supports low-income families to help them get a wheelchair ramp and make their homes more accommodating and accessible. The organization allocates $1000 to each project for materials and organizes volunteer labor to build your ramp.
Rebuilding Together works to improve the safety of the homes of people in need, and this includes assisting with home modifications. It can help install a handicap ramp so that your home is safer for you to enter and exit.
National Directory of Home Modification Repair Resources
The University of Southern California provides a directory of programs that are able to assist seniors with the array of financial burdens that come with the making of a ramp. You can search this directory by state to find a program in your area that can assist in building your ramp.
Assistance for Veterans
If you are a veteran, you can gain access to special benefits, including those that assist you in getting a free handicap ramp. Veterans can apply for coverage through TRICARE for Life to supplement Medicare Part B to help cover the costs that Medicare does not pay. The Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services Program (VD-HCBS) is another great option that may heighten your chances of getting approved for home modifications through Medicare as well.
A Necessity and a Right: Conclusion
You should not have to break the bank to get an essential tool that helps you get in and out of your own home. You should certainly not be denied such an accommodation just because you cannot afford it, either. Services like Medicare do wonderful things for seniors, but there are needs that they cannot provide. Thankfully, there are other options if you’re wondering, “how do I get a free handicap ramp?” Nonprofits are there to serve communities in need, so take advantage and see how they can assist you. If all else fails, seek help in your local community, you never know what local organizations might be able to help you! Whichever way you choose, you will end up with a sturdy handicap ramp and a happier, safer home.
Written by Michele Wilson