Expenses related to physical and mental impairments can add up quickly, including such costs associated with durable medical equipment and medical devices. Those who qualify for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits might also qualify for free or discounted equipment and devices to improve upon the quality of life of disabled persons.

Durable Medical Equipment

Durable medical equipment (DME) is often necessary for individuals with physical impairments associated with various medical conditions, illness or physical injury. This type of equipment is able to withstand harsh conditions and repeated use. Durable medical equipment is typically used in the home; however, this type of equipment can sometimes also be used outside the home, as well. DME is typically not useful for individuals who do not suffer from illness or injury.

For such equipment to be covered by insurance benefits, they typically have to be made available through a medical prescription from a doctor. This equipment can often last for a minimum of three years without needing a replacement. These equipment types can also assist with the day-to-day activities of those with impairments. And equipment may be offered by outpatient or inpatient services as well as to rent or buy your own to use at home.

Types of Equipment and Medical Devices

Specific types of equipment and medical devices will typically be covered by health insurance or additional benefits. These may be covered in full or partially to be used at home, at a medical facility and more, such as:

  • Canes
  • Commode chairs
  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • Crutches
  • Home infusion services
  • Hospital beds
  • Infusion pumps
  • Lancets
  • Medical supplies
  • Medication administration equipment
  • Nebulizers
  • Orthotics
  • Oxygen tanks, portable
  • Passive motion devices
  • Patient lifts
  • Prosthetics, both internal and external
  • Scooters
  • Self-testing equipment
  • Suction pumps
  • Traction equipment
  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs

In some cases, even disposable equipment, devices and materials will be covered by insurance benefits rather than simply durable medical equipment. On the other hand, many items may not be covered if they are only used for activities and actions outside the house rather than in the home. And some one-time use items may not be covered.

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Medical Supply Retailers and Rentals

Most people will seek out medical supplies and equipment rentals directly from a medical facility. While these facilities will be able to secure any type of device, supply or equipment, it is important to note that these offerings are often more expensive than searching for your own.

It is also important to consider whether or not you will rent or buy any equipment. If you have a short-term need for items such as crutches, walkers, wheelchairs or other durable medical equipment, it might be best to rent. For those who require equipment for longer durations, buying might save money in the end. And keep in mind that it’s not a bad idea toshop around – it can help save money.

You might research availability at any number of places, including pharmacies, medical supply stores, online retailers and online marketplaces. In some instances, you should be able to find used equipment in good condition to save money, too. And when you are done with DMEs, you can also resell your used equipment online to make back some money.

Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare and Medicaid health insurance is often available to those who receive disability benefits. Even individuals who typically would not qualify for Medicare because of age restrictions may qualify as an Social Security Disability Insurance benefits recipient. In fact, SSDI recipients will usually qualify for Medicare after 24 months of disability. The months spent during the waiting period for benefits will typically be included in the total two years.

And for those who receive SSI benefits with a low enough income may automatically qualify for Medicaid at the same time of receiving SSI benefits. A few exceptions do exist for people residing in a few states. People with any type of medical insurance will have access to a number of disability devices and equipment without charge or at a discounted rate. Some people will only have to pay the standard deductible.

Tax Deductions

Impairment-related work expenses can sometimes be used as tax deductions if the costs contribute directly to making it possible to work. For such expenses to be deducted from one’s self-employment income, a person must operate their own business or work for themselves, including freelancers, rental property income and consultants.

It is possible that the SSA will deduct certain expenses from countable income to help assist with eligibility for either SSI or SSDI disability benefits. It is important to note that unincurred business expenses may or may not be allowed to deduct as a business expense even if it was given as a gift for free. However, you can often deduct unincurred business expenses from your overall earnings. The SSA has an extensive list of countable income to review.

Another important note is to be mindful of the number of hours you work and whether or not you pay family members for assistance in care or work when operating a business or being self-employed. Always keep track of disability-related expenses and any unpaid assistance keep net earnings to a minimum so that you maintain your disability insurance.

Home Health Assistance

In addition to disability medical equipment and devices, you may also qualify for home health assistance. If you are considered to be homebound, skilled home care may be paid for by Medicare or Medicaid insurance. To qualify, a medical professional must determine that an individual’s life would experience harm if they were to leave their home due to their unique disability. Your custom at-home care plan will also have to be approved and regularly reviewed.

Home services will depend on the condition of the recipient, such as speech or physical therapy, injections, catheter changes, tube feedings and much more. Keep in mind that Medicare typically does not cover homemaker services, including grocery shopping, laundry, cooking and cleaning. However, many local nonprofit organizations and paid-for services exist to help with such tasks if they are too difficult to manage on your own.

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About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call at (800) 492-3260.

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