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How to Access Funding for a Manual Wheelchair in Australia

Manual wheelchairs and other mobility aids, such as rollators, kitchen aids, bedroom aids, and bathroom aids, greatly promote the independence and freedom of our elderly loved ones and improve overall quality of life. 

However, manual wheelchairs can be quite expensive, and acquiring them can pose a significant financial burden. 

Luckily, there are organisations and special government initiatives put in place to offer eligible Australian citizens the financial support they need to acquire their wheelchairs.

All you need to do is confirm your eligibility status and apply for funding (we’ll discuss more on this later). 

Then, an approved Mobility Equipment Provider (MEP), such as Mobility Shop Direct, will provide a quote for your chosen manual wheelchair. Once your funding application is approved, we’ll order the wheelchair and send it directly to you.

In this article, we lay out a comprehensive guide on how to access funding for a manual wheelchair in Australia. 

We’ll cover in depth:

  • Eligibility requirements set out by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for accessing funding for manual wheelchairs
  • Alternative sources of funding for a manual wheelchair in Australia 
  • Tips for choosing a suitable manual wheelchair for your needs

Table of Contents

Receiving NDIS Funding Support for Your Manual Wheelchair

In Australia, wheelchairs are categorised under assistive technology products and are generally covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Definition: Assistive technology products are devices, tools, or systems designed to help individuals with disabilities or impairments perform tasks, improve their functional capabilities, and enhance their overall quality of life.

The NDIS is a government initiative run by the National Disability Insurance Agency to offer support and funding to eligible Australians with disabilities.

When you become eligible for the NDIS, you'll receive funding to achieve your goals mentioned in the NDIS plan. 

The goals are normally tailored to you and your specific needs, such as how to enhance your independence and freedom using disability equipment like a manual wheelchair.

To be eligible for NDIS funding, you must:

  • Be under 65 years of age when you first apply for NDIS
  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or hold a Protected Special Category Visa
  • Have a permanent disability that significantly affects your ability to carry out basic daily activities
  • Provide evidence of your disability such as a diagnosis, medical reports, or assessments
  • Live in an area where the NDIS is available

And also:

  • Your request for funding must be deemed "reasonable and necessary" by NDIS
  • If you're under 7 years old, you may be eligible for early intervention support

How to Obtain Your NDIS Funding: Step-By-Step Guide

girl pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair

If you meet the eligibility criteria, your next move should be to follow these necessary steps to obtain funding for your manual wheelchair.

Step 1 - Assess Your Needs

You must determine the type of manual wheelchair that best suits your lifestyle, activities, and preferences. Consider your mobility needs, including the terrain, frequency of use, and distance you need to travel.

Every manual wheelchair is specially designed with its user’s needs in mind, which is why, before you settle one, you must consider:

  • Who will be pushing the wheelchair: Self-propelled wheelchairs are designed to give users maximum independence by allowing them to push the chairs themselves. They are most ideal if you don’t need help with pushing the chair. If you do need someone to help push you around, then opt for attendant-propelled chairs, which are designed to be pushed by an attendant or caregiver.
  • The weight of the wheelchair: Heavy-duty wheelchairs such as bariatric wheelchairs are stronger and accommodate a larger weight capacity than lightweight wheelchairs, like folding wheelchairs, which are easy to carry and convenient for travel.
  • The level of support needed: If you’ll be spending a lot of time on your wheelchair, you’ll need one with ample support, like a tilt recline wheelchair, which will allow you to adjust it to different positions for comfortable seating.

At Mobility Shop Direct, we offer a wide selection of manual wheelchairs to help you choose the one that best fits your mobility needs and preferences. 

There’s something for everyone, whether it’s a foldable wheelchair to fit into your car’s boot or a heavy-duty option for a bariatric patient.

To help you in your selection process, we’ve laid out a table below comparing two of our best-selling manual wheelchairs: the DAYS Swift Self Propelled Wheelchair with Handbrakes and the DAYS Swift Ultra Lightweight Compact Portable Wheelchair.

Feature DAYS Swift Self Propelled Wheelchair with Handbrakes DAYS Swift Ultra Lightweight Compact Portable Wheelchair
Type of chair Self-propelled Self-propelled
Weight capacity 115 kg 115 kg
Seat width 16", 18" or 20" 16"
Seat depth 16" or 18" 16"
Seat height 19.5" 19"
Backrest height 16" or 18" 16"
Armrest type Flip-back Full-length
Footrest type Swing-away Swing-away and detachable
Wheel type 24" rear and 8" front, 22" rear and 6" front 12" rear and 8" front
Brakes Push-to-lock hand brakes Attendant-operated
Foldable No Yes
Frame material Aluminium Aluminium
Total weight 12.5 kg, 11.7 kg 11.5 kg
Warranty Limited lifetime Limited lifetime

Both have different features and benefits to cater to different needs.

Step 2 - Get a Quote From an Approved Mobility Equipment Provider

After assessing your needs, the next step is to obtain a quote for your chosen manual wheelchair from an approved mobility equipment provider, like Mobility Shop Direct. 

We are a small family-owned business in Australia that are passionate about the mobility aid products we sell. 

Our wheelchairs are manufactured by trusted brands such as DAYS and Drive, and cater to a wide range of clients, from Australian seniors to healthcare professionals, disabled patients, and nursing homes. 

We are approved by the NDIS as expert mobility aid specialists for all your wheelchair needs.

Simply reach out to us, and we will provide you with a detailed quote that includes the cost of the manual wheelchair and any additional modifications or accessories.

Step 3 - Submit an Application for Funding

With the quote in hand, you can now submit an application for funding to the NDIS. The application must include the detailed quote from us along with any other relevant information required by the NDIS. 

You can submit your application online, by mail, or in-person.

Step 4 - Wait for Approval

The approval process can take up to 21 days, and during this time, the NDIS will review your application and determine if you meet the eligibility criteria and if the requested manual wheelchair and modifications are reasonable and necessary.

Step 5 - Receive Your Manual Wheelchair

If your application is approved, you will receive funding for your manual wheelchair, and then Mobility Shop Direct will order and deliver the wheelchair to you.

Highlight: Ordering from Mobility Shop Direct guarantees you a one-year warranty on your manual wheelchair.

The NDIS may also cover ongoing maintenance and repair costs for your manual wheelchair.

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Alternative Sources of Funding for Your Manual Wheelchair

Not everyone may meet the eligibility criteria set by the NDIS for obtaining funding for a manual wheelchair. 

Luckily, there are other means of acquiring a manual wheelchair without breaking the bank.

1 - Charities and Non-profit Organisations

There are a number of charities and non-profit organisations that provide financial assistance for Australians dealing with mobility challenges and cannot afford funding for mobility aids.

Some of these organisations include:

  • The Red Cross
  • The Salvation Army
  • The Cerebral Palsy Alliance
  • Free Wheelchair Mission
  • The Wheelchair Foundation

To apply for funding through these organisations, you will need to contact them directly and provide information about your situation. 

You’ll also need to fulfil certain criteria, such as providing proof of your medical disability or falling under a specific age and income bracket. 

Each organisation has a specific eligibility checklist, which is why it's important to do your research and collect adequate information about each organisation's policy before you apply.

2 - Government Disability Grants

In addition to NDIS funding, the Australian government also provides disability grants for people with disabilities to purchase mobility aids.

These grants are typically administered by state governments and may vary in availability and eligibility criteria from state to state.

Generally, the criteria for most of the states are as follows: 

  • The applicant must need a wheelchair to perform their normal functions at home and regain their independence.
  • The applicant must provide a doctor’s note that confirms the mobility impairments of the applicant must be issued
  • The applicant must fill out the application with all the necessary requirements

Some of the government disability grants that fund people with mobility challenges include the Dylan Alcott Foundation Grant, the Disabled Children’s Foundation Grants, and the At Home Care Grants.

3 - Assistance Programs

There are various assistance programs available to people with disabilities that can help fund a manual wheelchair. 

These assistance programs include:

  • Home care packages (HCP): These packages help Australian seniors access affordable services to get assistance around their homes. This includes providing funding for mobility aids such as manual wheelchairs.
  • Assistive technology (AT) programs: These programs help in elder care by assisting Australian seniors in accessing funding for assistive technology such as wheelchairs and walking sticks. The ATs help to maintain or improve the seniors’ functioning and independence.
  • Disability support programs: These programs help individuals with disabilities access funding for public transport and other mobility aids such as wheelchairs that they may not otherwise be able to afford. An example of a disability support program is the Mobility Allowance—a support service offered by the Australian government. 

The eligibility criteria and application processes for these assistance programs will vary depending on the program and the individual's circumstances.

Tips for Choosing the Right Manual Wheelchair

smiling woman in a wheelchair with man on a couch

As mobility aid specialists, we understand how crucial it is to choose the right manual wheelchair for you. A manual wheelchair that’s too lightweight may not work for a bariatric patient, while one that’s too heavy may be difficult to transport if you’re a frequent traveller.

We don’t think there's a one-size-fits-all when it comes to wheelchairs. It all depends on your needs and preferences. 

Your comfort, mobility, and overall quality of life all depend on the kind of wheelchair you select. 

Here are our top tips for selecting the right manual wheelchair for you:

  • Consider the frame type: Look for frames made from durable materials, such as aluminium, carbon fibre, or titanium. These materials are lightweight, making it easier to manoeuvre and transport the wheelchair.
  • Check for adjustability: Look for wheelchairs that are adjustable to accommodate different body types and preferences. Features like adjustable footrests, seat height, and backrests can make a big difference in comfort.
  • Think about wheel types: Choose the right wheel type based on your specific needs. For example, solid rubber wheels provide a smoother ride, while air-filled wheels provide greater shock absorption.
  • Check for cushioning: Look for comfortable cushioning that can prevent pressure sores and increase comfort. Gel or foam cushions can provide excellent support and comfort.
  • Consider the weight capacity: Make sure the wheelchair can support your weight comfortably. Wheelchairs come with varying weight capacities, so be sure to check before purchasing.

With Mobility Shop Direct’s wide range of manual wheelchairs, you’ll never run out of options. 

We’ve got something for everyone, whether it’s a transit wheelchair with lightweight aluminium frames for easy travel or a heavyweight bariatric wheelchair with a weight capacity of up to 200 kg for bulkier users.

Mobility Shop Direct: Your Home for Affordable Manual Wheelchairs

man seated on DAYS Swift Ultra Lightweight Attendant Propelled Wheelchair

Choosing the right manual wheelchair and securing funding can be a daunting task for individuals with disabilities. However, it is essential that you have access to the right equipment for maximum mobility and independence.

Learn More: 3 Types of Mobility Aids to Help You Stay Mobile

By following the steps we’ve outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to navigate the funding process and choose the best manual wheelchair for your needs. 

And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about selecting a suitable manual wheelchair and accessing funding for it, remember: you're not alone in this process, and help is available.

Reach out to Mobility Shop Direct—our team of experts are ready to assist you every step of the way for guaranteed customer satisfaction. 

We work very hard to ensure we offer the absolute best prices for manual wheelchairs online for our target audience. Our Lowest Price Guarantee means that if you find another online store that offers a lower price for your manual wheelchair than us (including shipping), email us at support@mobilityshopdirect.com.au, and we’ll match or beat their price. 

And if you find the store within 30 days of your purchase from us, we’ll refund you the difference.

As an approved MEP by the NDIS and other mobility assistance programs, feel free to reach out to us for all your wheelchair funding needs. 

Whether you’re eligible for funding through NDIS or need assistance in exploring alternative sources of funding, we’re here to lend a hand.

Our team is knowledgeable about the various funding options available, and we can help guide you through the application process. 

Connect with us through our website, and we’ll assist you in choosing the perfect wheelchair and navigating the funding process.

“Thank you for your email and help with my wheelchair order. The wheelchair arrived about Tuesday this week, and all was in good order, and we are putting it to good use. Many thanks for your prompt and issue-free help with the order and delivery.
— Anne P., Verified Buyer

“Very happy with the product. Easy to fold, very light to lift. Delivery was less than a week.
Mona T., Verified Buyer

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