HomeVA ProstheticsVA Handbook 1173.6 - Wheelchairs and Special Mobility AidsGuidelines for Issuing Wheelchairs

6.4. Guidelines for Issuing Wheelchairs

a. Basic or Stock Wheelchair. A basic or stock wheelchair may be considered for VA beneficiaries when the disability requires a wheelchair, but the veteran has retained the ability to stand and transfer, or has a disability of a temporary nature. No special features or modifications are required for this wheelchair to accommodate physical condition or size.

b. Lightweight or Ultralite Wheelchairs. Lightweight or ultralite wheelchairs may be considered for eligible veterans meeting the criteria for normal wheelchairs; however, special attention is required when prescribing an ultralite wheelchair. Unique modifications in height of seat and back, angle of seat, back, and footrests and in the wheel chamber are essential elements for users of ultralite wheelchairs. Care needs to be exercised to ensure that the veteran's physical condition does not contraindicate the use of this type of wheelchair on a daily basis.

c. Sport Model Wheelchairs. A sport model wheelchair may be considered for eligible VA beneficiaries who have a disability resulting in the anatomical loss, or loss of use, of at least one lower extremity which prohibits their participation in normal sports activities. It must be determined that the VA beneficiary is actively engaged in a sports activity which requires a specially-designed sports wheelchair for attainment of maximum rehabilitation. One sport model wheelchair may be furnished in addition to the regular allotment for a VA beneficiary who requires the continued use of a wheelchair for mobility. The request needs to be approved by the Major Medical Equipment Committee, local Wheelchair Committee, or by a physician who specializes in rehabilitation medicine.

(1) Sport model wheelchairs may be furnished to eligible veterans in lieu of a conventional- type chair, even if the veteran is not actively engaged in a sports activity, provided the unique modifications in height, depth, and width contained in the sport chair are appropriate for the veteran's physical condition and there are no contraindications for daily use.

(2) Replacement of sports model wheelchairs may not be authorized merely because a veteran desires a new model or type, or solely because a chair has been used for a particular length of time.

d. Hand Cycles. Hand cycles may be furnished under the same provisions as for sport model wheelchairs.

e. Motorized Wheeled Mobility Devices. Clinical practice recommendations for scooters, PAPAWs, power wheelchairs, power wheelchairs with enhanced function, and iBOTĀ® motorized devices can be found under the Prosthetic Clinical Management Program (PCMP) link at: https://www.prosthetics.va.gov/docs/Motorized_Wheeled_Mobility_Devices_IBOT_Addendum.pdf

NOTE: As new and emerging wheelchair technology becomes available, which requires patient referrals to specialized evaluation sites, the referral sites are responsible for the cost of the device once it has been recommended by the evaluation team and authorized by VHA Central Office through the submission of VA Form 10-2641, Authority for Issuance of Special and/or Experimental Appliances. The VA Form 10-2641 is to be prepared by the referral site with all applicable supportive documentation and evaluation results prepared by the evaluation site (e.g, iBOTĀ®).


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