The best way to access and pay for assistive equipment may be through your state Assistive Technology Program.
State Assistive Technology Programs offer a variety of services. Examples are:
- device loan programs
- equipment exchange and recycling programs
- device demonstration, education, and training
- alternative financing programs
- assistive technology specialists to help
They often know of other national or local resources for both finding equipment and paying for it.
Please note that Medicaid is different from state to state. Contact your state Medicaid office or the agency that handles Medicaid to find out what equipment may be covered and what eligibility criteria are in place.
The North Carolina Medicaid Program is handled by the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance. Medicaid information for North Carolina is available on their website.
If you would like to apply for Medicaid, the NC Division of Medical Assistance website can provide general information and your local Department of Social Services will take your application and discuss your eligibility.
Medicare (Part B) covers assistive technology devices if the device meets the standard for Durable Medical Equipment or a prosthesis and medical necessity. Durable Medical Equipment coverage requires prior approval.
Durable Medical Equipment
Prosthetic or Orthotics Devices
Process for Submitting a Claim
Payment for Assistive Technology Under Medicare
If Your Claim is Denied
If Medicare does not pay, usually you are liable for payment unless the supplier knew or should have known that the claim would be denied and didn't tell you.
The Appeals Process
Please note that the Social Security Administration handles Medicare eligibility and enrollment. You can contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to enroll in Medicare or to ask questions about whether you are eligible. You can also visit their website.
Want to Enroll for Medicare Benefits?
Want More Information on Medicare?
Personalized Assistance With Medicare
For questions and assistance understanding the many complexities of Medicare, most states offer a Seniors Health Insurance Information Program (the name of the program may vary from state to state). They offer the help of trained volunteers to answer your questions and to offer counseling.
These programs were established in 1990 and are funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and/or funding from state government. They are authorized by federal law to provide information, referrals, and counseling to Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers on a wide range of health access and insurance matters. They are typically administered by either the state aging agency or the state Division of Insurance. Services are provided locally through the trained volunteer network.
The Social Security Administration provides financial assistance to eligible people who are blind and/or disabled. Though not specifically designed to help pay for assistive technology, qualifying for financial assistance might allow you to be able to afford technology that you otherwise could not afford.
SSI - Supplemental Security Income
You are considered blind under Social Security rules if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye, or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with corrective lenses. If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you still may qualify for benefits if your vision, coupled with other health problems, prevents you from doing substantial work.
SSDI - Disability Insurance
|If you prefer to talk to a Social Security representative, their toll-free number is 1-800-772-1213.|
To follow are direct links to helpful resources on the Social Security website.
Social Security Homepage
providing access to a wealth of information about Social Security and the various programs offered.
Social Security Disability Programs
a comprehensive page of the Social Security website that offers descriptions of the disability programs, who is eligible, how to apply, etc.
Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool
a screening tool designed to help you identify all the benefits you may be eligible for from the different benefit programs offered.
Disability Planner -
explains the benefits available, how you can qualify, and who can receive benefits on your earnings record. It will also explain how to apply for the benefits and what happens when your application is approved.
"More than six million people who get monthly Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, or both, need someone to help them manage their money. When a person needs this kind of help, the Social Security Administration--after a careful investigation--appoints a relative, friend or another interested party to serve as the beneficiary's "representative payee." The person's Social Security or SSI benefits are then paid in the representative payee's name on the beneficiary's behalf."
Some private foundation or grant sources may fund projects that include assistive technology. The projects are for a limited term, usually have defined goals about who is to be served and what outcome is desired, and are usually administered by a local nonprofit agency. Check with your local agencies such as Area Agency on Aging, Council on Aging, Department of Social Services, Department of Health, etc. to see if they know of any current projects for which your need would qualify.
Churches and local civic groups also work to secure private funding for projects. They sometimes are awarded grants but many times the money comes from private donations and/or the efforts of a church or organization to raise dollars through community service efforts. Sometimes, due to the size of the effort, the organization must restrict those they can assist. But, they may not. Be alert to notices in the local newspapers. And, the state agencies that coordinate efforts to help the deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired, and/or the disabled often know of community resources.
Check the insurance policy(s) that covers the family member needing the assistive technology. Durable Medical Equipment may be covered. The equipment needed may be covered under the category of "Orthotics and Prosthetics". Be sure to check to see if a medical necessity criteria must be met and if there are any exclusions. Also, check to see if prior approval is needed by the insurer before purchase.
If the person you are caring for is a Veteran and is eligible for VA benefits, check with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Services may include medical related home improvements, prosthetics and durable medical equipment (canes, walkers, etc.), home health including physical and occupational therapy, and more.
Resources for the Visually Impaired
Veterans Benefits Administration
Veterans Health Administration
The state where you need assistance may have Assistive Technology Specialists available.