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All of the following basic criteria (A-C, listed above) must be met for a power mobility device. Additional coverage criteria for  are listed below:

A.  The beneficiary has a mobility limitation that significantly impairs his/her ability to participate in one or more mobility-related activities of daily living (MRADLs) such as toileting, feeding, dressing, grooming, and bathing in customary locations in the home. A mobility limitation is one that:

  • Prevents the beneficiary from accomplishing an MRADL entirely, or

  • Places the beneficiary at reasonably determined heightened risk of morbidity or mortality secondary to the attempts to perform an MRADL; or

  • Prevents the beneficiary from completing an MRADL within a reasonable time frame.

B.  The beneficiary’s mobility limitation cannot be sufficiently and safely resolved by the use of an appropriately fitted cane or walker.

C.  The beneficiary does not have sufficient upper extremity function to self-propel an optimally-configured manual wheelchair in the home to perform MRADLs during a typical day.

  • Limitations of strength, endurance, range of motion, or coordination, presence of pain, or deformity or absence of one or both upper extremities are relevant to the assessment of upper extremity function.

  • An optimally-configured manual wheelchair is one with an appropriate wheelbase, device weight, seating options, and other appropriate non-powered accessories.


A power wheelchair is covered if:

a.  All of the basic coverage criteria (A-C) are met; and

b.  The beneficiary does not meet coverage criterion D, E, or F for a POV; and

c.  Either criterion J or K is met; and

d.  Criteria L, M, N, and O are met; and

e.  Any coverage criteria pertaining to the specific wheelchair type are met.

J.  The beneficiary has the mental and physical capabilities to safely operate the power wheelchair that is provided; or

K.  If the beneficiary is unable to safely operate the power wheelchair, the beneficiary has a caregiver who is unable to adequately propel an optimally configured manual wheelchair, but is available, willing, and able to safely operate the power wheelchair that is provided; and

L.  The beneficiary’s weight is less than or equal to the weight capacity of the power wheelchair that is provided and greater than or equal to 95% of the weight capacity of the next lower weight class PWC – i.e., a Heavy Duty PWC is covered for a beneficiary weighing 285 – 450 pounds; a Very Heavy Duty PWC is covered for a beneficiary weighing 428 – 600 pounds; an Extra Heavy Duty PWC is covered for a beneficiary weighing 570 pounds or more.

M.  The beneficiary’s home provides adequate access between rooms, maneuvering space, and surfaces for the operation of the power wheelchair that is provided.

N.  Use of a power wheelchair will significantly improve the beneficiary’s ability to participate in MRADLs and the beneficiary will use it in the home. For beneficiaries with severe cognitive and/or physical impairments, participation in MRADLs may require the assistance of a caregiver.

O.  The beneficiary has not expressed an unwillingness to use a power wheelchair in the home.

** If a PWC will be used inside the home and if coverage criteria (a)-(e) are not met, it will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

**If a PWC will only be used outside the home, the item will be denied as non-covered.

Power Wheelchairs: List
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