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Find free assistive technology and durable equipment assistance programs.

Seniors as well as the disabled often need help in obtaining medical equipment for their needs. There are different types available ranging from assistive technology devices to really any equipment that improves mobility or helps the individual address a health care concern. Assistance is available for either paying for all or a portion of the cost to obtain durable equipment or some non-profits pass it out for free. Depending on the applicant's situation, many government agencies and non-profits listed below can offer help.

Durable equipment can include a number of different items. It will always be for home use and the goal is to help the patient improve their quality of life. Examples of some of the more common devices requested include wheelchairs, scooters, hospital beds, Nebulizers, oxygen machines and many others. The list is extensive and can meet the needs of various people, whether they are children facing an illness or an elderly person that is homebound.

There are government agencies, private foundations, and non-profits that can assist eligible patients. While the items provided can be used by anyone that needs it for a health care concern, the assistive technology equipment is normally for the elderly as well as disabled. In some cases people that are recovering from a surgery and that need short term support during that time frame can also rely upon this equipment.

There are devices that were created for a specific limitation that a patient is faced with. Some individuals have trouble walking, so a crutch or wheelchair may help them as part of DME. Or if someone has difficulty using a shower or toilet, then maybe a grab bar can be installed in their home. So whether is is one or two items that are needed, or if the individuals needs a large variety, there may be assistance available.

There are also programs available to help obtain disease specific equipment or assistive technology devices. A doctors prescription is often required for this. Examples of these may be Nebulizers for patients with a breathing disorder. Another commonly requited item is for oxygen cylinders for those with emphysema or even a child with asthma. Some of these costs may be covered by private health insurance, but those types of durable equipment will generally need to be mostly paid for by the patient.




Locate assistance or access free equipment

Individuals that are on Medicare can often have some or all of the cost paid for, but there is no guarantee that the federal government will pay for the entire expense. The bill may be covered if the item is to be used mostly in the home, and also if the patient's doctor states it is required. The applicant's income will also come into consideration when applying to Medicaid.

So health insurance, whether private or Medicare may be an option. Or there may be instances in which someone needs some type of equipment that falls out of what their health insurance coverage will pay for. In these instances the patient will still have options available to them.

DifferentNeedz sells either gently used or refurnished low cost equipment. The assortment of goods available is extensive, and can range therapy devices to medical equipment for a certain disability. The organization operates nationally and serves as a marketplace for both sellers and buyers. More information can be obtained at 1-888-343-3639.

DME List is an online site that acts as an exchange. The disabled may be able to buy low priced durable medical equipment such as Corner chairs, hoyer lifts, Wheelchairs, Bathing Aids, Canes, and more. Most of the goods at the company come from donations.

Agency on Aging Centers operate in most counties across the United States. These non-profit organization will normally only provide financial aid to someone as a last resort. Some centers may also help the caregiver obtain the equipment they need. Assistance is usually offered if an applicant meets income guidelines set by Medicaid.

These organizations were created at the result of federal government guidelines established by Department of Health and Human Services. Not only may clients receive financial assistance in obtaining the assistive technology they need, but some locations will often loan out the equipment on a short term basis. Or if an Agency on Aging office can't meet the needs of the applicant, many of the staff at the centers will also offer referrals.

County as well as statewide social or human service departments can be another resource to explore. Assistance will generally be offered for very low income senior citizens or disabled residents of the county. This is normally considered to be a public benefit when residents explore this route.





As part of the process, the patient's medical history will need to be reviewed, and the department may provide equipment that will address the need. For example, a person who only has difficulty walking can be given a free wheelchair, the elderly may be given shower supports, and other forms of public aid may be issued too. Each state and county will have their own terms and conditions in place. Read more on public aid and benefits.

Loan closets can sometimes provide surplus durable medical equipment (DME) for short term use. These can be run by any number of non-profit organizations, such as local community action agencies. The closets will have a limited supply of equipment, and the items are loaned out for short term use. The types of equipment may include crutches, walkers, power wheelchairs, lifts, grab bars, and more. Any items provided will need to be maintained by the borrower, or small fees may be charged. For referrals to any local centers, locate assistance from community action agencies.

Assistive hearing aids are available for anyone that is either deaf or losing some of this sense. Organizations such as Lions Club will provide the medical equipment for free or patients can contact any other number of programs. Find a listing of programs and resources that have hearing assistance programs.

Supplies can be provided to diabetics. The equipment can often be paid for by Medicare or there may also be non-profits that offer the items to patients. What can be offered includes monitors, strips to test glucose levels, and there are many other goods provided. Children as well as teenagers can also receive medical equipment for their needs from these various diabetic supply programs.

Anyone with a sleep condition often needs equipment as well, whether it is a CPAP machine or mask. There are organizations, as well as free clinics, that focus on meeting this need. Millions of Americans have sleeping disorders, not just the disabled. they can all get help. Locate free CPAP machine programs.

States have organizations that can direct income qualified residents to either free or low cost durable equipment. They will have partnerships with both private and public entities, including even non-profits that can help meet the demand for assistive technology. The primary centers for each state are below.

Alabama’s Assistive Technology Resource is located in Montgomery. Call (800) 782-7656.

Assistive Technology for Alaska can be reached at 800-723-ATLA.

Arizona Technology Access Program as well as the Institute for Human Development – 800-477-9921. Senior citizens can be loaned equipment and there are also grant programs to pay for a portion of durable equipment.





Arkansas Increasing Capabilities Access Network, or ICAN, is located in Little Rock. Phone – 800-828-279.

California is supported by Ability Tools. Dial 916.325.1690.

Colorado Assistive Technology Program. Residents can dial (800) 255-3477.

Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Assistive Technology Program, phone 800-537-2549.

Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative, or DATI. Dial 800-870-3284

District of Columbia – For information on durable equipment programs, dial 202-547-0198.

Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, or FAAST, is the organization to contact at  888-788-9216.

Georgia Tools for Life - Media Access Center. Telephone  1-800-497-8665.

Assistive Technology Resource Centers of Hawaii (ATRC) – Phone 800-645-3007.

Idaho Center for Disabilities and Human Development – Call 800-432-8324.

Illinois Assistive Technology Program – Telephone 217-522-7985.

Indiana is supported by a partnership between Easter Seals Crossroads and Assistive Technology Act project. Main phone 888-466-1314.

Iowa enter for Disabilities and Development, Program for Assistive Technology. The main phone number is 800-779-2001.

Assistive Technology for Kansas Program – Telephone 800-526-3648.

Kentucky Assistive Technology Service Network can provide information on financial aid or free equipment. Call  800-327-5287.

Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN). Telephone – 800-270-6185

Maine Consumer Information and Technology Training Exchange. Main phone – 207-621-3195.

Maryland Department of Disabilities can be reached at 800-832-4827.

Massachusetts Assistive Technology in Consumer's Hands as well as the Rehabilitation Commission. Phone – 617-204-3851.

Michigan Disability Rights Coalition – For information on programs that may help seniors or the disabled, dial 800-760-4600.

Minnesota STAR Program – Telephone 888-234-1267.





Mississippi Department of Rehabilitative Services (MDRS) – Residents can call (800) 852-8328.

Missouri Assistive Technology – Telephone (800) 647-8557.

Montana Assistive Technology Program is run from the University of Montana, Rural Institute. Main phone number is 877-243-5511.

Nebraska Assistive Technology Partnership – Phone (888) 806-6287.

Nevada Department of Human Resources – Call 775-688-1930.

Assistive Technology in New Hampshire – Phone 855-374-9969.

New Jersey Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center is based in Trenton. Dial 609-292-9742 for information.

New Mexico Governor's Commission on Disability is the government agency that can offer assistance. Telephone 877-696-1470.

New York State TRAID Program -  800-624-4143.

North Carolina Assistive Technology Program – Dial 919-855-3500.

North Dakota Interagency Program For Assistive Technology, or IPAT, can be reached at 800-895-4728

Assistive Technology of Ohio has information on assistance for durable medical equipment. The main number is 800-784-3425.

Oklahoma ABLE Tech, Seretean Wellness Center. Phone 800- 257-1705.

Oregon's Access Technologies offers equipment. Call 800-677-7512.

Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT) as well as the Institute on Disabilities is based in Philadelphia. The main number is 800-204-7428.

Rhode Island Office of Rehabilitation Services – Phone 401.421.7005.

South Carolina Assistive Technology Program – Dial 803-935-5263.

South Dakota Assistive Technology Program – Main phone (800) 645-0673.

Tennessee Technology Access Department is at 800-732-5059. The agency is based in Nashville.

Texas Technology Access Program as well as the Center for Disability Studies can help the less fortunate access the health care equipment they need. Call 800-828-7839 for information.

Utah Center for Persons With Disabilities – Telephone 800-524-5152.

Vermont Assistive Technology Program – Phone 800-750-6355.

Virginia Assistive Technology System, which is based in Richmond, can provide support to senior citizens as well as the disabled. Learn about government assistance and more. Phone (800) 552-5019.

Washington Center for Technology and Disability Studies. Dial toll free at 800-214-8731 to learn about what equipment may be available.

West Virginia Center for Excellence in Disabilities – Phone 800-841-8436.





Wisconsin Assistive Technology Program (WisTech) can be reached at  715-232-3300.

Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND), University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, is the primary agency in the state. Call 888-989-9463.


By Jon McNamara

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