Michael CollinsQ. The electric wheelchair I’ve been using the last 10 years is beyond repair, and my vendor says replacement parts are unavailable. My need for the wheelchair is critical. I have multiple sclerosis, am partially paralyzed on one side of my body, can stand and walk short distances but no more than a few feet without assistance. Limited arm function on one side makes it impossible to push a manual wheelchair.

My previous wheelchair, apparently classified as complex rehab technology, provided tilt and recline functions and a joystick, so I stayed in the chair from morning until I went to bed at night, except for short periods. I could also transfer to my couch if I needed a major shift in position or rest.

Now I have learned that my level of disability does not allow me to have a chair with the same features. I have been “demoted” to a standard power wheelchair.

I am expected to rent this equipment and make payments on it for over a year before it is considered my property. If something happens to me and I am unable to make a payment, I worry that they would