Resources

Disability Rights

  • Administration for Children and Families: An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ACF provides information about programs for people with disabilities, including education, energy assistance, health insurance for children and much more.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act: Find information and technical assistance pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • United States Access Board: Federal agency focused on ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities in architecture, transportation, telecommunications and more.

Employment

  • Job Accommodation Network: A service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy that offers comprehensive resources for workplace accommodations.
  • Office of Disability Employment Policy: An agency of the U.S. Department of Labor
  • State Vocational Rehabilitation Programs: State-operated programs designed to assist people with disabilities in preparing for, securing and maintaining employment.

Equipment

  • ChairDex: This independent website offers information about types of wheelchairs, maintenance and resources for people who use wheelchairs.
  • Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA): Focused on technology and disability, RESNA promotes research and development of assistive technology, education, advocacy and the provision of assistive technology devices for people with disabilities.
  • State Assistive Technology Programs: State Assistive Technology Programs work to increase independence for people with disabilities through assistive technology solutions. Services available typically vary by state, and may include equipment exchange programs, low-interest loan opportunities, information about funding resources, training and technical assistance, and more.
  • Wheelchair Net: Created by the RERC on Wheeled Mobility at the University of Pittsburgh, this site contains tons of information on purchasing and using a wheelchair.
  • NMEDANMEDA provides adaptive transportation solutions for you, your family or caregivers. Through the use of mobility equipment, NMEDA Dealer Members provide independence and the ability to get behind the wheel. With equipment installed by a dealer who participates in NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP™), a wheelchair accessible or modified van, truck or car can provide the assurance you need to feel confident and secure on the road once more.

Government benefits for people with disabilities

Independent living

  • Centers for Independent Living: Private, nonprofit agencies offering services aimed at maximizing the independence of people with disabilities. Services vary by location, but often include independent living skills training, as well as information and referral.
  • National Council on Independent Living: NCIL advances independent living and rights of people with disabilities through consumer-driven advocacy. NCIL’s website contains a wide range of helpful resources.

Publicly funded medical benefits

  • The Administration for Community Living: An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the ACL works nationally and through local departments on aging to empower and educate older adults and their families to make informed decisions, as well as to effectively access all services available through federal, state and community-based programs.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Department of Veteran Affairs: If you’re a U.S. military veteran, learn about medical benefits for which you may be eligible.
  • Medicaid: State-administered programs designed to ensure that certain low-income individuals receive the health care they need. Each state sets its own guidelines for eligibility and covered benefits.
  • Medicare.gov: The official U.S. site for people eligible for and/or covered by Medicare.
  • Medicare Rights Center: A national, nonprofit organization working to help individuals navigate the complexities of Medicare through Web-based education, Medicare counselors, e-newsletters and resource referral.
  • Medicare Savings Program: Learn about state programs that help Medicare beneficiaries with limited income and resources save money on Medicare premiums, deductibles and/or co-pays.
  • State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs (SHIPs): State offices provide information about choosing Medicare plans, understanding your Medicare bills, how to appeal Medicare decisions and more.
  • State Pharmacy Assistance Programs (SPAP): Many states have SPAPs that help eligible individuals pay for prescription medications based on financial need, age or medical condition. Each SPAP establishes its own eligibility and coverage criteria. To learn about the SPAP in your state, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

(Courtesy The Muscular Dystrophy Association [MDA] )

Publicly funded options for assistive technology

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – Home and Community Based Waivers: HCBS programs are operated generally through a state agency such as Medicaid or the state’s Human Services agency. HCBS programs generally fall into two categories: health services and human services. HCBS programs may offer a combination of both types of services specifically carved out to meet the needs individuals with disabilities in their state.
  • Department of Veteran Affairs: If you’re a U.S. military veteran, learn about medical benefits for which you may be eligible.
  • Head Start/Early Head Start: Department of Health & Human Services provides funding and oversees local agencies providing Head Start services. Head Start promotes school readiness of children under 5 from low-income families through education, health, social and other services.
  • Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind: Grants are made to states to support services for individuals age 55 or older whose severe visual impairment makes competitive employment difficult to obtain but for whom independent living goals are feasible.
  • Medicaid: State-administered programs designed to ensure that certain low-income individuals receive the health care they need. Each state sets its own guidelines for eligibility and covered benefits.
  • Medicare.gov: The official U.S. site for people eligible for and/or covered by Medicare.
  • Medicare Savings Program: Learn about state programs that help Medicare beneficiaries with limited income and resources save money on Medicare premiums, deductibles and/or co-pays.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) Work Incentives: Special rules make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments and Medicare or Medicaid. Social Security calls these rules “work incentives.”
  • Special Education Services: under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Local Education Agencies are responsible for providing needed assistive technology devices and services as identified by the Individual Education Program team for students with disabilities.
  • State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs (SHIPs): State offices provide information about choosing Medicare plans, understanding your Medicare bills, how to appeal Medicare decisions and more.
  • State Vocational Rehabilitation Services: This federal program provides funding to assist States in operating statewide vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs, each of which is an integral part of a statewide workforce development system. The VR program is designed to provide VR services for individuals with disabilities, consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice, so that they may prepare for and engage in competitive integrated employment and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Privately funded options for assistive technology

This list is just a few national disability related organizations that may be able to provide assistive technology at the federal, state or local levels.

  • Easterseals: Provides opportunities for people of all ages with a range of disabilities to achieve their full potential.
  • Hike Fund: Provides hearing devices for children with hearing losses between the ages of newborn and twenty years whose parents are unable to meet this special need financially.
  • Multiple Sclerosis Association of America: The MSAA Equipment Distribution Program offers clients products designed to improve safety, dignity, mobility, and independence. MSAA provides these products at no charge and ships directly to the client. Items distributed through the program include home safety products such as shower chairs and grab bars, as well as mobility devices including canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. If you have any questions, please call MSAA at (800) 532-7667 or email
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association: MDA’s national equipment program helps provide good-condition, gently used wheelchairs and other medical equipment, such as shower chairs, hospital beds, walkers, canes, communication devices and similar items, when available and as feasible.
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society: Many local chapters provide equipment reutilization programs to assist their members. MS navigators can assist you in your search for additional financial assistance.

Services and Resources for Assistive Technology

  • Administration on Community Living: An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the ACL works nationally and through local departments on aging to empower and educate older adults and their families to make informed decisions, as well as to effectively access all services available through federal, state and community-based programs.
    Through its Eldercare Locator, this agency helps individuals find local resources that can help older people and their family’s access home and community-based services such as transportation, meals, home care, caregiver support services and more.
  • Arthritis Foundation: Provides information and resources on arthritis.
  • Assistive Technology Act Programs: Programs operate in each state and territory to increase the access to and acquisition of assistive technology devices and services.
  • Centers for Independent Living: Private, nonprofit agencies offering services aimed at maximizing the independence of people with disabilities. Services vary by location, but often include independent living skills training, as well as information and referral.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Operate Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation: Provides information specialists, connect with someone who understands through peer mentoring, find local resources, and Quality of Life grants for non-profit organizations.
  • Medicare Rights Center: A national, nonprofit organization working to help individuals navigate the complexities of Medicare through Web-based education, Medicare counselors, e-newsletters and resource referral.
  • BenefitsCheckUp: Developed by the National Council on Aging, this site connects older adults with information about a wide range of benefits programs, including assistance with prescription drugs, health care, rent, utilities, transportation and more.
  • Social Security Administration: The official website of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
  • Social Security Disability Insurance: SSDI provides benefits to individuals with disabilities (and certain family members) who have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Find the SSA office serving your area.
  • Supplemental Security Income: SSI pays benefits to adults with disabilities who have never worked and who have minimal financial assets.
  • State Pharmacy Assistance Programs (SPAP): Many states have SPAPs that help eligible individuals pay for prescription medications based on financial need, age or medical condition. Each SPAP establishes its own eligibility and coverage criteria. To learn about the SPAP in your state, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.