The voucher scheme

If you are eligible for an NHS wheelchair you may be given the option of a wheelchair voucher to use towards the purchase of a privately funded wheelchair (Disability Grants, 2018). This will be equivalent in value to the cost of the wheelchair or buggy it would have provided, that you can use to help cover the costs of a higher specification wheelchair or buggy. The voucher scheme may not be available in all areas. Services decide locally whether to have a scheme and how that scheme is applied.

Who repairs and maintains a wheelchair or buggy bought using a voucher?

This will depend on whether you decide on the partnership option or the independent option.

With the partnership option you choose an alternative to the type of wheelchair or buggy your child is assessed as needing. This lets you buy a wheelchair or buggy of a higher standard than that which the Wheelchair Service supplies. The voucher reflects the value of the wheelchair or buggy originally recommended and you then pay the difference in cost. The wheelchair or buggy will be repaired and maintained free of charge. You will have to choose a wheelchair or buggy from an 'approved supplier' who has to meet certain standards including quality of service.

The independent option is similar to the partnership option but you own the wheelchair or buggy and are therefore responsible for its repair and maintenance. However, the voucher you receive will include an amount towards the anticipated costs of repair and maintenance.

How often can my child receive a voucher?

By choosing a voucher you are effectively opting out of NHS wheelchair service for a period of 3 years for children. An independent voucher is not advised for clients with rapidly changing conditions (North Bristol NHS Trust, 2018). However, if your child's needs change - making the wheelchair or buggy you have bought unsuitable - your child will be eligible for a reassessment of their needs.

I've already bought my child's wheelchair or buggy. Can I claim the money back using the voucher scheme?

No. If you buy a wheelchair or buggy privately from a commercial company or individual, you cannot 'claim back' the money from the Wheelchair Service. You also cannot exchange the voucher for cash.

Will accepting a voucher affect disability benefits?

No. The voucher is non-taxable so it does not affect any disability benefits your child is receiving.

Further information

For more information please visit NHS Choices Guide to choosing equipment.

Advice last checked: 26 February 2018 Next check due: 26 February 2021

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
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  1. Directgov 0  Voucher schemes, hiring or buying a wheelchair
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