Powered add-on to an active user wheelchair — Scope | Disability forum
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Powered add-on to an active user wheelchair

tomstanway Member Posts: 1 Listener
hello all. My son is 18 and an active wheelchair user. He is now at Uni and I am considering a powered add on to his wheelchair and I could do with a little advice. To give a little background Jake has CP and cannot walk, his arms and hand and less impacted so he does very well pushing however he struggles to keep up with his peers and can feel isolated as a result. He does need to keep his ‘tippers’ down as his balance is not great.
Having done a little looking around it would seem that an alber smoov or a permobil smartdrive are the more likely to tick his boxes and are less obtrusive but any advice would be excellent. 
Particular questions i have are: would his tippers be an issue or can these devices act as tippers? Is there any funding available for these anywhere? If not will we need to pay VAT? Do you think I am on the right track or are there better alternatives?


  • thespiceman
    thespiceman Member Posts: 6,389 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @tomstanway   Pleased to meet you.

    Thank you for joining and sharing.

    I am one of the team of community champions.  We guide, advise, help and support members of our community.

    We have a dedicated information officer on CP on the Team.

    @Richard_Scope just tagged him now. Hopefully be able to answer any of your questions.

    Please I hope you enjoy your time on the website.

    Please ask any questions and wish you the best.

    Please take care.

    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,265 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @tomstanway - Welcome to the community & thank you for joining. I'm sure Richard will be able to advise, but in the meanwhile you might consider looking at the following link. You just complete a simple form online, & then you don't have to pay VAT, so perhaps this will give you some other options. Please see: https://www.completecareshop.co.uk/wheelchairs/power-add-ons-for-wheelchairs/     Perhaps there may be other places that gives this VAT reduction too.

  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger

    Does your son have a occupational therapist or physiotherapist?

    Did you ask them for advice on what you need and what products are available? 

    A power-assist on a wheelchair can be a great alternative to a powerchair and may give your son more stability.

    Here is information for VAT: Eligibility declaration by a disabled person for VAT relief.

    If you are buying it new you often can test it to ensure it is suitable for your son. :)

    Buying equipment 

    Look for online discussions about what other people with similar conditions  use, such as:

    • relevant Facebook groups

    • AskSara, a website that provides online advice about buying disability equipment 

    I suggest you think about buying second hand equipment, if that's feasible. 

    What to consider before you buy equipment (Disability Equipment Service) 

    Disability equipment buying guides (Disabled Gear) 

    When you’ve decided what budget you have and what type of equipment you want, focus on researching the product. 

    • Look for reviews online.

    • Go to the manufacturer’s website to get information on the equipment. 

    • Watch out for any product recalls or warnings. 

    • Find out if you can trial the product to see if it’s right for you.

    Research the seller 

    When you’ve decided on a product, start looking at where you can buy it. It’s important to find out as much as possible about who you’re buying the product from. 

    • Check the seller’s rating and read feedback from customers.

    • Read the seller’s refund and returns policy.

    • Find out about delivery costs. Some large items might be costly to send or require collection. This can add to the price. 

    • Ask the seller questions, such as the condition of the item and payment options. Try to get this in writing.

    • Ask other people if they’ve had dealings with the seller or retailer. 

    • Find out if they’re a retailer or a private seller. You have greater protection under the Consumer Rights Act with a retailer. 

    Consumer Rights Act (Citizen’s Advice)  

    Be aware of your consumer rights, especially when buying used equipment.

    Your consumer rights (Which?) 

    Always be vigilant for scammers. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you have read several negative reviews or cannot find information about the retailer or seller, consider avoiding them. 

    Where to buy used disability equipment

    There are many ways to find used disability equipment. 

    Local disability charities often sell used equipment so it’s worth looking for one near you. 

    Equipment manufacturers may sell their used products so it’s worth asking them. 

    Local newspapers have sales sections and classified ads. It’s worth checking local community boards as people often use them to advertise items for sale.

    Some places to check online include: 

    Buying disability equipment online 

    If you’re buying online, make sure you use a secure payment method. If you do not recognise the platform you’re being asked to use, research it to find out if it’s safe and secure. Do not use it if you have doubts about it. 

    If you’re using a credit or debit card, items costing over £100 and under £30,000 are covered under the Consumer Credit Act. This means the credit card company has equal responsibility with the seller if there are any problems with the items you’ve bought. 

    Shopping and paying online (Money Advice Service)

    Consumer Credit Act (Money Advice Service


  • Richard_Scope
    Richard_Scope Posts: 3,106

    Scope community team

    edited January 2020
    Hi @tomstanway
    The SmartDrive would act as the anti-tip. Jake would find it difficult to tip back whilst the device is fitted. 

    To save money I use eBay or contact manufacturers and ask if they have any ex-showroom models for sale. Also, you should not pay the VAT.

    Let me know how you get on. I've been considering one of these for a while.
    Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

    'Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to tell us about your experience in the community? Talk to our chatbot and let us know. 
  • Richard_Scope
    Richard_Scope Posts: 3,106

    Scope community team

    edited January 2020
    There are also E-Motion Powered wheels that can be fitted to Jake's existing wheelchair.
    Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

    'Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to tell us about your experience in the community? Talk to our chatbot and let us know. 
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @tomstanway, how are you and Jake getting on with this? Please do let us know if there is anything else we can do. :)


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