Personal wheelchair budget
There are three choices for using your personal wheelchair budget.
A notional wheelchair budget enables you to have a wheelchair from the NHS range free of charge through the wheelchair service. The value of the personal wheelchair budget (PWB) is the cost to the NHS to provide a wheelchair to meet your identified needs. All repair and maintenance costs are met by the NHS and the chair remains the property of the NHS.
Notional budget with top up
This option allows you or another agency such as a voluntary / charitable organisation to contribute to your PWB to add extra features to your prescription. For example, this could be a seat riser on a powered wheelchair or patterned spoke guards on a manual chair. The NHS wheelchair therapist will be able to advise and support your choice of additional features. The value of the PWB is still the cost to the NHS to provide a wheelchair to meet your identified needs.
By choosing additional features on your NHS wheelchair you or the supporting organisation will be contributing to the overall cost of the wheelchair package. This may include VAT at 20% for the additional features but if you are VAT exempt we can supply a form for you to complete so this won’t be added. The chair you choose remains NHS property and includes free NHS repair and maintenance on the basic equipment but does not extend to include any additional features you have added.
Following an assessment of your mobility and clinical needs and in discussion with your NHS wheelchair therapist, if it is clinically appropriate, you can choose to have your PWB in the form of a third party PWB to the value of the chair which would normally be provided by the NHS. An independent provider receives the personal budget via invoicing the NHS. This would have been known previously as a wheelchair voucher.
You can use the PWB in part payment towards the chair of your choice. You can only use your PWB for the same category of chair. For example, a PWB for a manual wheelchair must only be used for purchase of a manual wheelchair.
The wheelchair therapist will be able to provide general advice and a support plan if you choose this option, but will not accompany you to any assessment by alternative providers. The PWB is unique to you and is not the same for everyone.
Once you have purchased a chair you will then own the wheelchair and will be responsible for the upkeep, repair, maintenance, insurance and any other associated costs. It will be your responsibility to arrange all ongoing repairs.
Under this option you will be exempt from paying VAT to the supplier but will have to complete an exemption certificate.
If this is the option you choose, you will become independent of the Wheelchair Service during the voucher period. It is therefore important that you select a supplier that will meet all your needs eg assessment, delivery, after sales, repairs etc.
A personal wheelchair support plan
Before and at the wheelchair assessment you will be asked to think about things that are important to you, this will enable the therapist to complete a personal wheelchair support plan with you. This will help you and the therapist come up with plan that will enable you to have a chair that meets your needs.
Please download the personal wheelchair budget support template here and bring the template with you to your assessment.
The length and value of the third party personal wheelchair budget
It is important to regularly maintain and repair your wheelchair. The length of time before another third party can be issued will be dependent upon your prescription. A typical adult wheelchair lasts 5 years. For children changes are needed more often as they grow, typically around 3 years. This may also be the case with some medical conditions where wheelchair needs can change quickly.
Pressure relief cushions
Pressure relief cushions can still be provided by the wheelchair service for your wheelchair.
Public Liability Insurance is strongly recommended if you are using your wheelchair in a public place particularly a powered wheelchair.