Personal wheelchair budgets

Personal wheelchair budgets aim to increase choice and control for people who access wheelchair services through:

  • providing holistic assessments that take into account the individuals wider needs and how good wheelchair provision can increase independence and improve their health and wellbeing outcomes
  • supporting people to identify their own health and wellbeing goals
  • better integration of services around individuals by bringing together care and support agencies
  • increasing the availability of information about the choices available to people locally

Personal wheelchair budgets aim to help people to access a wheelchair that meets their health and wellbeing needs and goals, as well as any specific wheelchair requirements that they have.

Managing budgets

There are 3 options for managing personal wheelchair budgets. We will still provide a pressure relief cushion if clinically required. This will not affect the type or the amount of your budget.

Notional personal wheelchair budget

This is the personal wheelchair budget used within the NHS commissioned services. It lets you have a wheelchair that will meet your identified needs. With this option the wheelchair remains the property of the NHS and all repairs and maintenance will be carried out by the service. The wheelchair budget is held by the NHS wheelchair service, but you know what that budget is and it’s your personal budget. You won’t receive any money directly as the budget is paid directly to the supplier of your wheelchair.

Notional personal wheelchair budget with additional contribution

This is the same as the notional personal wheelchair budget, with an option for the client to make a contribution toward adaptations or an alternative model. This option allows you or another agency such as a voluntary or charitable organisation to contribute to your personal wheelchair budget to either have a higher specification NHS wheelchair, or add additional features such as a riser, different coloured wheelchair or lights. The wheelchair that you choose must meet your clinical needs and be approved by the wheelchair service. The wheelchair service will invoice you for the additional value and the wheelchair will be supplied after payment has been received.

With this option, the wheelchair will remain the property of the NHS. General repairs and maintenance will be carried out by the service but you will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of any additional features covered by the contribution element. Community Equipment Service (CES) will contribute 25% of the overall cost of any repairs and maintenance required from the supplier over 3 years. This contribution must be requested when required as no upfront fee will be paid to the supplier.

Third party personal wheelchair budget

This is when the client chooses to use their personal wheelchair budget outside of NHS commissioned services. In discussion with your wheelchair therapist, if it is clinically appropriate, you can choose to use your personal wheelchair budget as a contribution to buy a wheelchair from an independent retailer outside of the NHS. With this option the wheelchair becomes your property and you will be responsible for the maintenance of their wheelchair, although the budget includes a contribution towards repairs and maintenance. Any approved supplier can be approached for a wheelchair. However, the wheelchair service must be satisfied that the supplier meets the minimum standard of service.

If a third party personal wheelchair budget is authorised, we will make a direct payment to the manufacturer or supplier that you are purchasing your wheelchair or buggy from. If the value of your personal wheelchair budget is greater than the cost of your equipment of choice, then the supplier will only receive the amount covering the cost of the equipment.

Maintenance and insurance

It is important to regularly maintain and repair your wheelchair. Public liability Insurance is strongly advised if you are using your wheelchair in a public place, particularly a powered wheelchair. If you intend to travel in a vehicle whilst seated in your wheelchair, make sure that the wheelchair model you have chosen has been crash tested by the manufacturer.

Eligibility criteria

Clients will be eligible for a personal wheelchair budget if:

  • they meet the wheelchair service eligibility criteria
  • they are adults new to the service who require a low or medium provision
  • their wheelchair requires replacement because it is beyond economical repair

Clients will not be eligible for a personal wheelchair budget if:

  • they do not meet the wheelchair service eligibility criteria
  • their clinical need has not changed
  • they are children under 18 year old (although this may be considered on a case by case basis)
  • they need palliative care
  • they have rapidly challenging deteriorating conditions
  • they need a power chair; this restriction is due to risks associated with legal and DVLA requirements
  • they just fancy a change; you can only change your wheelchair when the chair is no longer fit for purpose or your medical needs have significantly changed


Croydon Wheelchair Service


Croydon Living Independently Centre, 3 Imperial Way, Croydon CR0 4RR , United Kingdom