If you are having trouble getting to the doctor, or getting around town, or getting across the country, here are a few programs that might help. You do NOT need to be on disability to qualify for most programs on this page.
🌷If you are planning to work or go back to school, your local Vocational Rehabilitation agency may have funds available to help you with transportation to work or school.
🌷If you are on SSI and working, your transportation costs may be considered an “impairment related work expense.” This may keep your SSI check from being reduced. Learn more: How Does Working Affect My Disability Check?
🌷Paratransit programs offer low-cost, door-to-door transportation for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses How to Apply for Paratransit
🌷 Many paratransit services that will take you door-to-door anywhere you want to go (not just doctor’s appointment… they will take you anywhere!). You do not need to be in a wheelchair to use this service.
🌷 Success story! Roselyn applied for paratransit and got denied. Three months later she applied again and got approved. Her health didn’t change. What did change? Roselyn Gets Approved for Paratransit by Using the Magic Words
Contact local agencies to see if they offer rides for people with disabilities. Where to contact:
- Senior center (even if you are young)
- Aging and Disability Resource Centers
- Area Agencies on Aging (again, any age)
- Council for Independent Living
- Alzheimer Groups
- Community Action Agencies
🌷 For local transport: How to Get Free Transportation to Your Doctor
🌷 For long distance, planes, trains, hotels, etc: How to Get Free Medical Travel
🌷 Keep track of all your medical transportation expenses (including mileage, taxi fares, planes and trains, hotels, and food). These expenses can make your taxes go down, your food stamps go up, and (in some types of housing) your rent go down. Learn more about how this works: How to Document Medical Expenses
🌷 Check out How to Find Help with Car Expenses
Buses & Subways
🌷 Some areas offer free or discounted bus and subway fares to people with disabilities. Inquire with your local transit authority.
🌷 Options for grocery delivery: How to Shop Without Standing Up.
State Home Aide Programs
State home aide programs are designed to keep people out of nursing homes. If you are in a state home aide program, you may have two good transportation options:
🌷One: Select an aide who has a car and can drive you places.
🌷 Two: Some state home aide programs have additional benefits. One benefit is “medical transportation” and “non-medical transportation.” If your program offers non-medical transportation, you can get door-to-door transportation anywhere you want. Ask your home aide caseworker if your program offers this benefit and how many trips per month you can take.
If Your Aide is Not Allowed to Drive
If your aide is not allowed to drive you places, most state home aide programs will let you choose:
🌷Self Directed Care – You can hire a person you select. So, you can select a friend who has a car, or you can advertise for an aide with a car. The state will pay the salary.
🌷Agency Care – They send an aide from an agency. The agencies sometimes have rules that the aide cannot drive you anywhere.
If this happens, you can look into switching: Agency Care vs Self-Directed Care
Other Options for Aides
🌷 If you do not qualify for a state home aide program, there may be other programs in your area that can assist: How to Get a Caregiver. Unfortunately many of these programs have been cut and no longer exist in many areas.
🌷 Amtrak has a mediocre wheelchair service that may provide you with a wheelchair and assistant who can push the chair and help you get to the train. Be prepared to speak up for yourself a lot and possibly get stranded.
🌷 Amtrak gives 15% discount to people with disabilities, plus a traveling companion.
🌷 Airports also have wheelchair services and they are GREAT. Use them. You will be very glad you did. Learn more: Sleepy Girl Airport Wheelchair Tips
🌷 Airlines will allow you to bring an animal on board with you if it is an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal and you have a doctor’s letter. Learn more: Rosemary Gets an Emotional Support Animal
🌷 Some airlines will allow you to get a free additional seat if you have a medical need for an extra seat.
🌷 Some airlines offer a discounted ticket if to a companion if you need a caretaker to travel with you because of your disability. Please check the individual airline’s policy.
🌷 Sunflower has some brilliant advice for how to make arrangements by contacting the airline disability services, and how to take care of yourself if you are traveling with ME. Please take a look here: Sunflower Goes on a Trip
More bright ideas for How to Be Poor in America
Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.
Updated May 2018. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: