Section 3 - Common AT Funding Source Questions

Funding Information for Augmentative Communication Devices


How can you get funding for Alternative Augmentative Communication Devices (AAC)?


Public programs


  • Public programs   
  • Private insurance   
  • Private foundations

   You should not buy or ask a funding source to pay for an AAC device unless you have had an assessment by an expert in AAC. Everyone's needs are different and literally hundreds of AAC devices are available. Probably more AAC devices are in closets than any other assistive technology device. Trying AAC devices out is absolutely necessary. So please look to one of the loan sources in this section before purchasing. For an assessment, call Karen Haines at (304) 293-2477 or email karenhaines@mail.wvu.edu.

AAC Funding Sources


Medicaid covers augmentative communication devices for the purpose of assisting a Medicaid recipient to communicate basic medical needs only. At least one of the following criteria must be met before an AAC will be considered for approval:

  • The person cannot communicate basic wants and needs verbally or through gestures due to various medical conditions in which speech is not expected to be restored. Basic needs include eating, drinking, toileting and indicating discomfort or pain
  • The person cannot verbally or through gestures participate in medical care, i.e., make decisions regarding medical care or indicate medical needs
  • The person cannot verbally or through gestures communicate consent on medical decisions


Devices intended to meet social, educational and vocational needs are not covered. Call 877-267-2323 to discuss the Medicaid process further.


Private Insurance for Augmentative Communication


Under most health insurance policies, a communication device is not usually seen as a covered item, but the policy may cover prosthesis. A prosthesis is a device, external or implanted, that substitutes or supplements a missing or defective part of the body. You can request the communication device as a voice prosthesis and appeal if your request is turned down. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. The request and appeal should include information from your physician and a speech pathologist showing how the assistive technology will encourage normal function and will improve the user's ability to function.

Other funding sources for augmentative communication are:
Public school systems

  • Veterans Administration for veterans and some family members
  • Family Support Program
  • Financial loan programs
  • Used devices through advertisements
  • Private foundations
  • Civic groups

Loan Sources
Augmentative Communication Loan Sources

  • WVATS Loan Library
  • Vendors who will rent or lend
  • Easter Seals
  • Early Childhood Lending Library

Funding Information for Computers

Computers for Learning

Computers for Learning is a federally operated program designed to streamline the transfer of excess and surplus federal computer equipment to schools and nonprofit educational organizations. Special consideration is given to those with the greatest need. Equipment is shipped free. All schools and educational nonprofits are eligible for participation. For more information, call 866-333-7472 or visit www.computersforlearning.gov.

Dell Computer Company

Dell offers reasonably priced, previously owned PCs that have been thoroughly tested. For more information, call 800-624-9897 or visit www.dell.com/outlet.


Computer tools designed specifically for those with severe physical disabilities allow for increased self-reliance and a vastly enhanced computing and Internet experience. GiveTech's goal is to provide such technological tools to those in need. For more information, call 415-750-2570 or visit www.givetech.org.

Mission West Virginia

Mission West Virginia is a nonprofit organization that accepts donations of used computer equipment, refurbishes the equipment and redistributes it in the form of donations or low-cost resale. For more information, call 866-562-0723 or visit www.missionwv.org.

National Cristina Foundation

The National Cristina Foundation is dedicated to training through donated, used technology. The Cristina Foundation is a partner with the Computing Technology Industry Association (CTIA) with over 7,500 manufacturers, distributors and businesses. The foundation matches requests with companies to provide computer technology and solutions to give people with disabilities, students at risk, and the economically disadvantaged the opportunity through training to lead more independent and productive lives. Donors send equipment directly to the beneficiary. For more information, call 203-863-9100 or visit www.cristina.org.

PC Renewal

PC Renewal is a West Virginia company specializing in the recycling of retired computer and office equipment. This company refurbishes old and donated equipment and office equipment and redistributes equipment at a discounted price to individuals who need a computer or office equipment. For more information, call 304-291-8550 or visit www.wvpcrenewal.com.

Prescription Assistance

With the cost of prescriptions rising and depleting the resources of people on fixed incomes, you may be searching for financial assistance when it comes to purchasing your prescription medications. Listed below are prescription assistance programs for low-income individuals and some options for individuals in higher income brackets too.


The Medicaid program covers most medicines prescribed by a doctor. Children, with limited income and resources, who are blind or disabled will be automatically eligible for Medicaid if they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a program run by the Social Security Administration. For more information, call your local Social Security Administration Office (see Appendix O) or the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources at 304-558-0684.

Health Right Clinics

Individuals with a monthly income below the federal poverty level may qualify for assistance from a Health Right Clinic. For more information, call 304-343-7000 (Charleston) or visit www.wvhealthright.org.

Pharmaceutical Companies

Someone who receives too much income to qualify for assistance at a Health Right Clinic may be eligible for a pharmaceutical assistance program. Because eligibility guidelines vary from company to company, it's difficult to know if someone will qualify until a personal physician submits the application and the drug company reviews it. If a person qualifies, medications are provided free or at a reduced rate. For more information, ask your health care provider or call the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the medication you are interested in receiving a discount for.

340b Drug Program Initiative

The 340b Drug Program Initiative is available at federally qualified health centers. It is a federal program designed to provide low-cost prescriptions to the growing uninsured population. Health centers and hospitals can purchase prescriptions at the federal ceiling price (roughly 49 percent of wholesale prices) and pass the savings onto their patients (you must be a patient of the covered entity). For more information about participating entities, call the West Virginia Primary Care Association at 304-346-0032.


Needymeds.org is a free resource to help people learn about patient assistance programs and other programs for those who can't afford their medications. The site has direct links to each states Medicaid program, enables users to search for pharmacy assistance by drug company name and prescription drug name and compares companies' discount card programs. For more information, visit www.needymeds.org.

Rx Drug Discount Programs

Several drug companies also offer discount cards. The Pfizer Share Card, Together Rx Card, GlaxoSmithKline Orange Card, Lilly Answers Card and the Novartis Care Card are programs designed to help low and moderate-income Medicare beneficiaries and individuals with disabilities that do not have drug coverage. For more information, visit www.needymeds.org.

Pharmacy Discounts

Many chain stores offer medicine discounts to their customers. Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Giant Eagle and others offer some generic prescriptions for $4. These programs do not usually include all generics. The pharmacist should be able to help you pick the least expensive way to buy your medicine. For more information, visit a participating pharmacy.

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

NORD's Medication Assistance Programs provide several free prescription drugs to needy patients with rare diseases who cannot afford treatments. For more information, call 800-999-6673 (voice mail only). You may also visit www.rarediseases.org.

The Medicine Company

The Medicine Company, in cooperation with physicians, assists patients who qualify in one or more of their programs. These programs provide prescription medication free-of-charge to individuals in need regardless of their age, if they meet the sponsor's criteria. For more information, visit www.themedicineprogram.com

Rx for West Virginia

Rx for West Virginia enables individuals to call one place to find out if they qualify for help. There are more than 250 programs to help families afford their prescription drugs. The programs contain more than 1,200 different prescription drugs. Medications for asthma, diabetes, heartburn and cholesterol are just some of the prescriptions eligible patients can get for free or at discounted prices. For more information, call 888-477-2669 or visit www.pparxwv.org.

West Virginia Rx (WVRx)

WVRx is a free, electronic medicine distribution system for uninsured and underinsured West Virginians. WVRx allows West Virginia physicians to prescribe name-brand pharmaceuticals online for eligible patients. Prescriptions are filled by a WVRx distribution center at Charleston's West Virginia Health Right and mailed to patients within 24 hours. Patients will be able to register for the WVRx program in participating physician's offices. The program requires a $30 application processing fee with each new or renewed application, and there is never a charge for the medication. For more information on WVRx and eligibility, call 877-388-9879 or visit www.wvrx.org.

Online Sources

Individuals can save on prescription drugs by shopping online, getting free discount cards and going directly to the manufacturer. Below are some links designed to help individuals start saving:

Ramps and Home Modification

Ramps and other home modifications are needed by many people to make their residences accessible. Listed below are sources that might be of assistance.

Private insurance: Depending on the terms of an individual or group policy, private insurance may pay for ramps and home modifications. Such modifications are considered to be durable medical equipment by many insurance companies. Contact your insurance company representative for more information.
Managed Care Programs: Managed care programs may pay for ramps and home modifications on a case-by-case basis if the doctor writes a prescription and if they are considered to be durable medical equipment. For more information, call your managed care program.
Home and Community Based Waiver: Medicaid can pay $1,000 per year for ramps and home modifications under the Home and Community-Based Waiver program as part of an array of in-home services. This is an important note: An individual cannot be made eligible for the waiver just to get these modifications. The individual must receive extensive services that enable them to stay in the home instead of living in a nursing home. For more information, call your Medicaid Waiver case manager.
Rural Housing Administration: Individuals living in a rural community of less than 20,000 individuals can apply for Section 504 loans or grants. The grants may be up to $7,000 for those 62 and older and loans up to $15,000 at 1 percent interest. There are strict income guidelines. For more information, call your local Rural Housing Administration.
I/DD Special Services and Equipment Fund: This Special Services and Equipment Fund helps pay for assistive technology services and devices for individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities who have exhausted all other sources of funding. This fund may pay for ramps and some home modifications. For more information, call your case manager.
Veterans Administration: The Veterans Administration (VA) offers programs that pay for ramps and home modifications for qualified veterans. For more information, call your local VA office.(See Appendix D)
Regional Programs: County or regional organizations may provide labor and/or materials. Call your local Community Action program to see if it will assist you or knows of an organization in your community that will help.
Other Suggestions: Because of the scarcity of funding and resources many individuals with disabilities turn to churches and other local charity organizations for help in installing ramps or modifying their home. If you have tried the above resources without success, see if you can find a local group that may be able to help you.

Funding Information for Vans/Lifts

How can you get funding for vans or lifts?

Funding for adaptive vans usually involves funding the vehicle itself and additional funding for adaptive equipment, such as lifts or adapted driving aids. Programs for funding are:

  • Financial loan programs
  • Private foundations
  • Civic groups
  • Public programs
  • Community Alternatives Program - I/DD
  • Vocational rehabilitation

Public programs may give help to people who qualify. Funding will depend on income and how severe the disability is.

The I/DD Waiver program may cover the cost of the lift if the person qualifies for services. This is a Medicaid waiver program that provides assistance to people with severe intellectual disabilities or development disabilities. Call your local Department of Health and Human Resources for more information. (See Appendix J for a list of DHHR offices)

Vocational rehabilitation may also help put in a lift for a vehicle that has been certified as "sound". For more information, call your local rehabilitation counselor.

Automotive Company Assistance Programs

Chrysler's Automobility

Chrysler offers assistance to individuals who buy or lease new Chrysler cars, trucks and vans and who install adaptive driving aids and conversion equipment in their vehicles. Chrysler will provide reimbursement for such equipment up to $750, which must be installed within one year of the vehicle purchase. Reimbursements of up to $1,000 are available on some full-size wagons and vans. Individuals are reimbursed for adaptations and must supply an invoice with the application. For information, call 800-255-9877 or visit www.chryslerautomobility.com.

Ford Mobility Motoring

Ford Mobility Company will provide up to $1,000 toward the installation of adaptive equipment or passenger equipment for an individual who purchases any new Ford or Lincoln-Mercury vehicle. The qualified applicant will also receive a complimentary cellular phone and a complimentary one-year membership to Ford Auto Club that includes 24-hour emergency service. Any individual with a disability or the family member of an individual with a physical disability who purchases a new vehicle is eligible for assistance. For more information, call 800-392-3673 or visit www.fordmobilitymotoring.com. The Ford Mobility Motoring Program offers a helpline at 800-952-2248. This helpline can offer information on nearby driver assessment centers, local adaptive equipment dealers and more.

General Motors Mobility Assistance Center

General Motors will reimburse up to $1,000 of the cost of adaptive equipment and its installation in any new GM vehicle. The purchase assistance is only available to drivers or passengers with disabilities who purchase a new GM vehicle. In addition the GM Mobility Program provides resource information by state, including locations of mobility equipment installers, driver assessment centers and other transportation resources. GM Mobility has partnered with iCan.com, an online community for people who have disabilities. iCan Auto Channel provides information about vehicles, conversion options, funding and driving programs for people who have special mobility needs. For more information, call 800-323-9935 or visit www.gmmobility.com.

Toyota's Mobility Assistance Program

Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc., offers assistance toward the cost of qualified aftermarket adaptive equipment installed on eligible new Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Toyota and Lexus will provide cash reimbursements of up to $1,000 to each eligible, original retail customer for the cost of purchasing and installing qualifying adaptive driving or passenger equipment for people with physical disabilities. The offer applies to all purchased or leased Toyota or Lexus vehicles. In the Lexus and Toyota Mobility Assistance programs, the following are considered obvious mobility adaptations and do not require a doctor's note or other documentation to qualify for reimbursement: Automatic door opener, automatic door and lift controls, assist handles, hoist or lifter-type products, vinyl seat covers and transfer seats. For more information, call 800-331-4331 or visit www.toyotamobility.com.

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