HomeVA ProstheticsVA Handbook 1173.4 - Automotive Adaptive EquipmentModifications

4.15. Modifications

a. In the case when a used vehicle is purchased that already has a van lift installed or other modifications that would normally be approved for a new vehicle being purchased, the veteran may be reimbursed for those modifications but they will be prorated at 10 percent per year. In determining the cost of the modifications, if the original invoice is not available, then the average and customary costs of that geographic location will be used for prorating.

b. All modifications to vehicles and other conveyances must be pre-authorized. The following procedures apply:

(1) Van lifts, which have been tested and found to meet VA standards of safety, and quality may be furnished when prescribed to permit the wheelchair-bound eligible veteran to enter and exit the van.

(2) Electric door openers may be furnished to eligible wheelchair-bound veterans who require van modifications provided they are licensed to drive independently. Veterans who are transported as passengers do not require this modification because an able-bodied driver accompanies them at all times.

(3) A raised roof may be furnished to eligible veterans who use wheelchairs to prevent the danger of head bumping while the vehicle is in motion. In general, veterans who have a seating height of 52 inches or more will require this modification. Roll bars or other structural supports will be provided whenever a raised roof is furnished.

(4) Raised doors may be furnished to eligible wheelchair-bound veterans who do not have sufficient head clearance to avoid bumping the bottom of the upper door jam. In general, this would include wheelchair-bound veterans who sit higher than 49 inches and who are unable to lean forward to clear the door jam and resume the normal sitting position. Veterans, who because of a disability require special high-backed wheelchairs, may also require raised doors.

(5) Lowered floors may be furnished to eligible wheelchair-bound veterans as an alternative to provide more headroom. In general, floor conversions offer the most advantages to the veteran who must drive from a wheelchair. It allows the wheelchair to be placed in the same position as the original driver's seat and, therefore, provides the best visibility. The criteria for furnishing this modification are generally the same as for raised roofs and raised doors.

(6) Powered floor pans may be furnished to eligible veterans who are required to drive from a wheelchair when it is necessary to provide adequate visibility. Normally, if a raised roof or a lowered floor is provided, this item is not required. However, in rare instances, it may be provided in addition to a raised roof if the veteran's vision of the road is distorted.

(7) Driver's swivel transfer seats may be furnished to eligible veterans to permit the veteran to transfer from a wheelchair to the swivel seat located in place of the regular driver's seat.

(8) Powered transfer seats may be furnished to eligible veterans who are capable of wheelchair transfer but for whom the swivel seat does not allow sufficient room for a safe transfer. The powered transfer seat travels backward from the driver's area providing sufficient distance to allow an optimum position for wheelchair transfers.

(9) Wheelchair tie-downs will be furnished to all veterans who are authorized van modifications and who ride or drive in a wheelchair. Veterans who drive from a wheelchair will be furnished a tiedown, which they are capable of operating independently. These tie-downs will either be electrical, semiautomatic or manual, as indicated by the physical abilities of the veteran. However, electrical or semiautomatic tie-downs can be provided when prescribed by a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist, Manager, PM&RS, or Manager, Spinal Cord Injury Center. The veteran may be furnished either a driver's tie-down or a passenger's tie-down, but not both.

(10) Chest and shoulder harnesses will be provided to all eligible veterans with poor trunk stability.

(11) Dual battery systems will be furnished to all veterans authorized van modifications to avoid the possibility of the veteran being temporarily trapped or stranded in a hazardous environment due to a low or discharged battery. These systems not only allow for the operation of the adaptive equipment, but also allows for the starting of the vehicle.

(12) The Prosthetic representative will review the claim for automobile adaptive equipment mini-van conversion, conduct an analysis of the existing conversion, and conduct an analysis of the existing conversion costs associated with conventional van conversions.

(a) The Prosthetic representative will include the following items (note the addition of the gas tank) in making the appropriate amount calculation: 1. Van lift, 2. Electric door openers, 3. Raised roof with roll bar or structural support, 4. Extended doors, 5. Back-up battery system, and 6. Remove and relocate gas tank.

(b) VA will reimburse the service connected veteran for the mini-van conversion claim in an amount equal to or less than the average cost of the conventional van modification plus 25 percent. The use of an Under Vehicle Lift (UVL) in the calculations is not permitted. Requests for the provision of UVLs must be sent to VHA Headquarters for review and approval by the Chief Consultant for PSAS and the National Program Director for PM&RS.

[c. Omitted from original text.]

d. The following specific limitations apply when providing automobile adaptive equipment for motor homes:

(1) All modifications must be pre-authorized.

(2) Only VA approved add-on equipment may be authorized.

(3) The maximum reimbursable amounts established for automobile adaptive equipment will not be exceeded for similar items authorized as adaptive equipment in a motor home.

(4) The amount authorized for the purchase and installation of an approved lift in a motor home will not exceed the average amount authorized for purchase and installation of similar lifts installed in vans by the authorizing VA facility.

(5) VA will not pay for the removal, modification or reinstallation of any convenience items contained in a motor home, e.g., cabinets, stoves, showers, refrigerators, etc.


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