If you are an individual looking to repair or replace your wheelchair or scooter, we have many resources to help you do so:
- The AT Services Directory lists many places throughout California that offer repair services;
- Visit the AT Exchange to search for used items for free or low cost, including wheelchairs and scooters;
- View a list of Reuse Programs to see if there is one in your area;
- Contact our Information & Advocacy service, and a helpful Program Coordinator will help you understand your options.
The Keep the Wheels Rolling Repair Fund (KWRF) will provide small grants of up to $450 for the purchase of parts and/or repairs needed to refurbish a wheelchair or scooter so it may be reassigned to a low-income Californian with a disability for free. Only organizations may apply.
Important Note: The KWRF may not be used to pay for repairs to a device already owned by an individual with a disability. The fund is intended to support the reassignment of used devices to new individuals who need them.
Who May Apply
To apply, an organization must:
- Be an established nonprofit;
- Currently accept donations of used wheelchairs and scooters;
- Currently provide cleaned and/or sanitized and repaired/or refurbished wheelchairs and scooters to low-income Californians with disabilities at no cost. [see Appendix 1 for definitions of reuse activities. See Appendix 2 for definitions of low income];
- Primarily serve people in California;
- Not discriminate on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, disability, race or any other illegal basis;
- A member of the Ability Tools. If you are not yet a member of the Ability Tools, join our listserv now!
Appendix 1: Classification of Assistive Technology (AT) Reuse Activities
Excerpted from Webinar "A Closer Look at Exchange", May 13, 2008, by Carolyn Phillips and Joy Kniskern.
Device reutilization: Device reutilization includes device exchange activities and device recycle/refurbish/repair activities. It also includes open-ended device loans in which the borrower can keep the device for as long as it is needed, because these loans are considered a form of "acquisition."
Device exchange activities are those in which devices are listed in a "want ad"-type posting and consumers can contact and arrange to obtain the device (either by purchasing it or obtaining it for free) from the current owner. Exchange activities do not involve warehousing inventory and do not include repair, sanitation, or refurbishing of used devices. In some cases, a Statewide AT Program serves as an intermediary directly involved in making this exchange, in others the consumer and current owner make this exchange without the involvement of the Statewide AT Program.
Device recycle/refurbish/repair activities are those in which devices are accepted (usually by donation) into an inventory; are repaired, sanitized, and/or refurbished as needed; and then offered for sale, loan, rental, or give away to consumers as recycled products. Repair of devices for an individual (without the ownership of the device changing hands) are considered device recycling. (Jeremy Buzzell and Robert Groenendaal, Rehabilitation Services Administration)
The National AT Reuse Task Force has defined five activities involved in AT reuse. In the interest of consistency of understanding, programs are encouraged to adopt this language in discussing and explaining reuse activities.
Device exchange: Matches donors and users without intervention by a third party. This often takes the form of searchable databases on the Internet.
Reassign/Redistribute: Accepts AT for sanitization, identifies appropriate users, and matches to new consumer.
Refurbish: Similar to reassignment, but in addition the program restores AT to its original configuration, which may include repairing and replacing parts.
Remanufacture: Similar to refurbishing, but strips and builds AT to new configuration other than original manufacturer specification. (NOT recommended for AT reuse centers because of potential liability.)
Recycle: End-of-life breakdown of AT for disposal and/or reuse in refurbishing and remanufacturing.
Appendix 2: Definition of Low Income
For Ability Tools purposes, Low Income is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act. Visit the HUD website for details.
Eligible Activities and Uses
Funding from the KWRF may be used to purchase parts and supplies needed to repair or refurbish a wheelchair or scooter that was donated to your program and will be provided to a low-income Californian with a disability at no cost. Uses for the KWRF include, but are not limited to:
- Wheelchair batteries;
- Non-custom parts (custom seating and other parts specific to the individual will not be included);
- Missing or broken accessories essential to the device's use.
Funds may also be used to pay for the labor costs of specialized repairs that cannot be completed by program staff.
The total repair cost may not exceed 50% of the device's estimated value.
How to Apply
Programs may submit one application per device per month (30-day period). Applications will be processed as they are received until all funds are expended. Each device repair request must be submitted in the Application for Funding online.
Our goal is to support as many reuse and refurbishment programs as possible. Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously received funding.
IMPORTANT: Approved applicants must list the item on the AT Exchange website, including a photo of the repaired wheelchair/scooter and detailed description of the device. In addition, when the item is given away, the recipient MUST create an account in the AT Exchange and answer the customer satisfaction questions. The organization is responsible for posting the device, matching the device to a recipient with all required information and completing the reuse transaction in the AT Exchange before additional funding will be approved.
Application questions must be addressed to Kevin Hansen (916-325-1690) firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis until the fund is exhausted. Only one (1) application per month (30-day period) per program will be accepted. Applications will be reviewed by staff for completeness. Complete applications will then be reviewed for content. Applicants will receive an answer to their request within four weeks of the date their application was received.
Upon approval, applicant may proceed with the purchase of parts and/or repairs. Once repairs are completed, applicant must submit invoices and receipts for reimbursement within 30 days from when the applications are approved.
Within the 30 day period and after the wheelchair or scooter has been repaired, it must be posted on the AT Exchange before submitting an invoice for KWRF repair reimbursement.
Applicants will be reimbursed only for the actual amount spent up to the funded request. We are unable to reimburse costs that exceed the original request. Invoices are usually processed and paid within six weeks of the date they are received and verified. Verification includes:
- All receipts are received for approved repairs not exceeding $450;
- Organizational account created on the AT Exchange;
- Wheelchair/scooter is posted on the AT Exchange for free using the organization's AT Exchange account;
- Applicants are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to get quotes/bids for repairs before requesting funding. Once applications are submitted, the amount requested cannot be increased.
- Successful applicants/fund recipients must complete the reuse transaction in the online AT Exchange, including recipient details, before requesting additional funding. Technical assistance is available.