Hi,

I am in the beginning process of purchasing an accessible van and I am totally confused.  Is it better to buy a regular van first and then get it adapted afterward, buy one new already adapted or buy one used already adapted? Also, there are these companies in other states like Rollx vans that have bigger inventories of used vans that deliver but is it better to try and find one you can pick up yourself? Not sure how expensive it is to have delivered from another part of the country..Any advice would be helpful.

thanks

Lisa Groeger

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Hi Lisa,

I really don't have an answer I can just give you my experience.  We bought a full size van 4 yrs ago and it was used.  It is a 1993, very low miles and cheap which is why we chose it.  First, I would never buy full size again, it is a huge gas guzzler.  Second, I would never buy one that old again even though is was barley driven.  As with any used vehicle, you don't know what problems down the road you will run into, no matter how well taken care of.  

Having to do this again, too soon, we will probably go with a new fully equipped.  I don't think I would go with a regular car dealer though.  I would go with a dealer who solely does Handicapped vehicles.  Hope this helps.

Tracy

I'd start with some research: http://www.nmeda.com/ (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) They have info on dealers, modifiers, vans, tie downs etc.

We bought a new fulled sized Ford E250 and it is perfect for our needs. You have to decide what works for your family and go with that. We were on the fence between new and used, looked at regular car dealers and adapted car dealers and decided to have a RV converter van (basically a empty cargo van) modified to our specifications through a company in Northern California that does exclusively wheelchair adapted vans (NorCal Vans - http://www.nor-calvans.com/) They did transport it down here to So Cal and I can't remember what it cost, I am pretty sure it was under $1000.

It took us a year to weigh all our options, but then again I am married to an engineer and everything we do takes longer. I think we fought during this time more than any other time I can remember.

I wanted to share this link.  This vehicle comes already modified off the line, with a lift and is wheelchair passenger ready.  Might be worth a look. http://www.vpgautos.com/  This vehicle was one of the vehicles being considered in NYC for handicapped accessible taxi's.  There are car dealerships accross the country selling these.  I'm not sure how much aid is available on these for reimbursement. 

I would say to buy one already adapted. It will save you the hassle of going through the conversion process. This way when you buy your van, you can use your van. As far as new vs. used, it really all personal preference, and what you can financially afford. New vans of course will have the newer technology and bells and whistles, but used wheelchair vans facilitate that same transportation as a new van.

I would say you are spot on with looking at Rollx Vans. They are a great company to work with, and will do whatever they can to help get you into the right van for you.  

Good luck in the process. It can be a crazy one.

Hi Lisa,

Here's my two cents. First it depends on your financial situation. We got help with the van-modifications from Medicare. They paid for all the van modifications as our son is on medicaid. We bought the van. Their rules need  (1) Medicaid does an assessment of your son, (2) They do assessment of wheelchair or power chair needed (3) they set the rules of what "SPECIFIC" vans they will allow you to purchase for modification. NOTE: You buy a van and it's not on their list your S.O.L. (4) After about 12 months when all this is done, they (5) Medicaid sends out three [3] bids waits 45 days and takes the lowest bid for van modifications (lift, kneel van with ramp, etc) then someplace between 2-4 weeks after that you get a call from the van modifier to bring in your van and 6 weeks later you have a handicapped accessible van. So there goes a year of your life getting those ducks in a row; Or depending on your state, you can elect to purchase the van all modified and pay out maybe 50k to 70k for the van and if you have medicaid get reimbursed some number of weeks later for the modifications, but you  still have to finance the initial cost of the van + modifications.

Yep there is good news - everyone should know if their child has DMD, they are eligible of Social Security; yep they can collect Social Security disability payments immediately. Of course there's the paperwork, documentation, waiting period, etc maybe 6 months, but they can collect some money at ANY age. this is their money, so it doesn't count against your $$ on income taxes.  Hope this helps.

We just bought a van, splashed a bug chunk of our savings on a 2012 Honda Odyssey, medicaid picked up the cost of the mods and the power chair. Works for me. though we pay for all the downstream maintenance, etc on the modifications plus we had to finance the van. WTF, it's only money. But our situation said get me 12 years out of the van and life is good. So that's my story

Regards,

Mike

Note: Christine's post above, I didn't see before I wrote this. Seems like she's short on prose and long on links. Sometimes I wonder if marriage licenses ought to be renewable every few years, like drivers or fishing licenses.... Would certanily keep everyone on their best behavior...

Medicaid paying for modifications, does that go by state?  I ask because I live in PA and was told there is no help in getting your vehicle modified.  My son does get his SSI though.  Would be nice if this was true for every state.

Thanks,

Tracy

Michael Piacentino said:

Hi Lisa,

Here's my two cents. First it depends on your financial situation. We got help with the van-modifications from Medicare. They paid for all the van modifications as our son is on medicaid. We bought the van. Their rules need  (1) Medicaid does an assessment of your son, (2) They do assessment of wheelchair or power chair needed (3) they set the rules of what "SPECIFIC" vans they will allow you to purchase for modification. NOTE: You buy a van and it's not on their list your S.O.L. (4) After about 12 months when all this is done, they (5) Medicaid sends out three [3] bids waits 45 days and takes the lowest bid for van modifications (lift, kneel van with ramp, etc) then someplace between 2-4 weeks after that you get a call from the van modifier to bring in your van and 6 weeks later you have a handicapped accessible van. So there goes a year of your life getting those ducks in a row; Or depending on your state, you can elect to purchase the van all modified and pay out maybe 50k to 70k for the van and if you have medicaid get reimbursed some number of weeks later for the modifications, but you  still have to finance the initial cost of the van + modifications.

Yep there is good news - everyone should know if their child has DMD, they are eligible of Social Security; yep they can collect Social Security disability payments immediately. Of course there's the paperwork, documentation, waiting period, etc maybe 6 months, but they can collect some money at ANY age. this is their money, so it doesn't count against your $$ on income taxes.  Hope this helps.

We just bought a van, splashed a bug chunk of our savings on a 2012 Honda Odyssey, medicaid picked up the cost of the mods and the power chair. Works for me. though we pay for all the downstream maintenance, etc on the modifications plus we had to finance the van. WTF, it's only money. But our situation said get me 12 years out of the van and life is good. So that's my story

Regards,

Mike

we purchased a van recently.  frconversions based in Maryland with sales to some other states.  we purchased one already converted.  we had a tough time as these vans are just so expensive- even the older models.  we ended up adjusting our budget and using a lot of our saving.....and we still have a payment.  we did get a nice van that we can use to transport my son.  I am just feel blessed that we could get this vehicle.

we got a rear entry- this is great because you can park anywhere, but there is sort of an issue- we have to wait until my son is on before we can load up.  if it was side entry we could do both at the same time.  it is not that big of a deal, but not sure what we get if we did it over

good luckevelyn

We have just purchased our second wheelchair van.  The first was and older 2003 Chrysler with an IMS conversion.  This purchase was through E-Bay using an auto inspection service out of Florida.  I don't recommend either source for this type of purchase.  IMS was out of business.  The van was inspected but the inspection source didn't know what to look for in the specifics of a modified van.  There were problems with the van that couldn't be addressed by E-Bay and wouldn't be considered by the inspection service.

Our second van was purchased from Ilderton Conversion out of North Charleston.  It was a new van with the minimal bells and whistles required for our grandson's specific needs.  The conversion is a BraunAbility.  We are very pleased with the van and the dealership.  The key here is that  we used this dealership for maintenance and repair on the first van so we knew about their service and the people that worked there.  We also had experience with two other, different, dealership repair services in the Carolinas that I would not recommend.  As the van gets older, service is very important. 

In buying the second van we did not want nor did we need certain features like power side doors, remote for the ramp and the kneeling feature.  Anything powered can go wrong, particularly in an older van.  The disadvantage is when you go to trade it there may be those who want these features.

A problem with the first van we purchased was the road clearance.  From the lowest hanging bracket of the suspension to the road we had 3.5 inches of clearance.  We bottomed out on several occasions when going over speed bumps or steep driveways.  We had to purchase special air shocks to raise up the body and then we bought oversize tires to raise the body further.  You don't want to discover this after the purchase so our second van clearance was measured by me at the dealership and it turned out to be okay.

We are currently living in Delaware and looking for a handicapped mini van. Anyone has any ideas whether the Medicaid pay for the conversion? How do I find out?

Hi to all, I was searching internet for new minivan and have found interesting offer for MV-1, now the are called Mobility Ventures. New showroom vehicle from 2014 for $39890. Can MV-1 compare to Honda and Toyota?

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