Free Medical Equipment In California: How And Where To Get It


Funding all the different services, and equipment, for elderly parents can be very expensive, and impossible for some. So, here is a guide on how, and where, you can obtain free medical equipment in California, for use in the home. Some equipment will be brand new, and some of it will be used. I have put together a long list of sources for free home medical equipment, along with instructions on how to apply where necessary. 

You will see a list of contents with “quick links”, so you can just jump to the section that interests you the most.


You can get free medical equipment in California from –


  • the Ability Tools Assistive Technology Program
  • AT Exchange
  • reuse, recycling and refurbishing centers
  • loan or lending closets
  • independent living centers
  • free equipment listings online
  • Medicaid
  • Very cheap with Medicare, but not free
  • the VA
  • cheap from Goodwill stores
  • cheap from Salvation Army stores

Free medical equipment from Ability Tools, the State Assistive Technology Program

Access to used medical equipment (or used DME – durable medical equipment) and assistive technologies in California at the state level is coordinated by the California Assistive Technology Program – “ABILITY TOOLS” – with the assistance of a coalition of Reuse Programs at various Reuse Centers, Independent Living Centers, and  large nonprofit organizations all across California.

This coalition of reuse programs is called the CATRC – The California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition.

The members of the coalition work with ABILITY TOOLS to collect and refurbish used medical equipment, and to then help to re-allocate it to those in need.


ABILITY TOOLS and the  CATRC offer opportunities to –

  • borrow used medical equipment in the short term for free
  • borrow used medical equipment for longer periods of time for free
  • borrow used medical equipment indefinitely for free
  • get given used medical equipment for free
  • to buy used medical equipment at a very low cost

The loaned home medical equipment is given to those with the greatest need first. 

The Ability Tools AT Exchange


Ability Tools runs an Assistive Technology Exchange which can be accessed from their website, on which organizations can post used medical equipment and AT devices available for donation, exchange, loan, or sale, as well as requests for items a person needs, and where the public can also view what is available.

The Assistive Technology Exchange website can be found by going here – http://abilitytools.org/services/at-exchange-transition.php

The CATRC Reuse Programs, post their available inventory on the Assistive Technology Exchange website.

“The reuse programs accept donations of assistive technology devices and medical equipment, repair, and sanitize them, and then offer them to people with disabilities for free, or at low cost.” – Source here.

Ability Tools also has contracts with 12 agencies throughout California to run demonstration centers, and also lending libraries for AT devices which do short term loans of up to 30 days.

AT (Assistive Technology) devices include most DME – they are devices which help an individual to complete a task, which they otherwise cannot complete without the device.

You can find the demonstration centers and lending libraries on the Ability Tools website here.

Free medical equipment from the California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition


The CATRC website is here.

All the used medical equipment which has been collected by the CATRC is listed on the Ability Tools online AT Exchange.

You can access the  AT Exchange on the Ability Tools website (the Natads Public Access database) here,


on the homepage of the CATRC website, where you will also find links to the AT Exchange to –

  • buy used medical equipment
  • sell used medical equipment
  • borrow used medical equipment
  • donate used medical equipment
  • place an ad for a particular type of equipment you need


The best way to find out about available equipment, and if you are eligible, is to contact the individual member organizations in your area to find out what equipment may be available to you, using the contact info I have listed with each organization below.

(There are other organizations which are part of the CATRC, but they do not deal with medical equipment, so I have not included them in the list of organizations below).

Select the nearest city to you to find your local CATRC Reuse Program –


The different CATRC Reuse Programs may prioritize members of their communities in different ways, or not.

Some programs will loan medical equipment, or sell it at a very low cost, or give it away for free to those in need, or all three.

ALS Association, Los Angeles Chapter


The greater Los Angeles chapter of the ALS Association (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) maintains a “loan closet” for their registered members.

P.O. Box 565
Agoura Hills, CA 91376-0565

Phone: 818 865 8067




DAYLE MCINTOSH CENTER (DMC) Reuse, Repair and Recycle Program DAYLE MCINTOSH CENTER (DMC) (Orange County)


The Dayle McIntosh Center’s reuse, recycle and repair program serves all residents of Orange County with disabilities.

The website page for their equipment loan program is here.

The list of items available is always in flux, but examples of the medical equipment include –

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • canes
  • crutches
  • shower chairs
  • commode chairs
  • Hoyer lifts


501 N. Brookhurst Street, #102
Anaheim, CA 92801

Phone: 714 621 3300

Website: https://daylemc.org


You can either contact the program, or look on the AT Exchange to see what equipment they have available.




Repair and Re-Use


This Repair and Re-Use Program is a loan and recycle program which makes wheelchairs and other assistive equipment available to people with disabilities.

The equipment is loaned out for free, and indefinitely.


The program loans DME such as –


  • wheelchairs
  • lifts
  • walkers
  • crutches


5251 Office Park Drive, Suite 200
Bakersfield, CA 93309

Phone: 661 325 1063

Website: https://ilcofkerncounty.org



Disability Action Center (DAC)


Disability Action Centers in Chico runs a DME recycling program which serves all residents of Shasta, Modoc, Siskiyou, Lassen, Butte, Tehama, Glenn, and Plumas Counties with a disability.

The equipment is cleaned, refurbished, and distributed for free to people in the community who need it.

The inventory includes items such as –

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • canes
  • crutches
  • shower chairs
  • commode chairs
  • Hoyer lifts


You can contact them using the information below, and you can also see what is available on the AT Exchange website. 

1161 East Avenue

Chico, CA 95926

Phone: 800 464 8527

Website: https://actionctr.org

Satellite Offices:

1600 West Street,

Redding, CA 96001

Phone: 530 242 8550



Independent Living Resources of Solano and Contra Costa Counties (ILR)

This reuse program is for seniors and people with disabilities in need of AT devices and DME, and who are financially unable to pay for it themselves.

The ILRSCC reuse program gives the equipment to the recipients for free.

The devices include items such as –

  • manual wheelchairs
  • power wheelchairs
  • walkers


You can use the contact details below.


1850 Gateway Blvd, Ste. 170
Concord, CA 94520

Phone: 925 363 7293

Website: https://ilrscc.org

Satellite Offices:
301 West 10th Street,
#18 Antioch,
CA 94509

Phone: 925 754 0539


470 Chadbourn Road,
Suite B
Fairfield, CA 94534

Phone: 707 435 817



Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS-IL)


The SCRS is an independent Living Center loaning used medical equipment for free to persons with disabilities in the community.

The durable medical equipment loaned includes items such as –

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • crutches
  • canes
  • rollators
  • portable commodes
  • transfer benches
  • sliding boards


To make inquiries, call one of the office numbers below, and ask for the AT Facilitator.

Website: https://scrs-ilc.org

Arcadia Office Address:
1165 Clark St,
Arcadia, CA 91006

Phone: 626 239 6012

Downey Office Address:
7830 Quill Drive, Ste D
Downey, CA 90242

Phone: 562 862 6531

Pasadena Office Address:
2023 Lincoln Ave,
Pasadena, CA 91103

Phone: 626 587 5010




Repair & Share Program is a recycling and an equipment loan program.

The program will loan, people with disabilities, power wheelchairs on a temporary basis while they are acquiring a wheelchair of their own.

To inquire about a loan of a power wheelchair, call one of the offices below.

3008 North Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93703

Phone: 559 221 2330


Website: http://ricv.org

Satellite Offices:

710 West 18th St, #11
Merced, CA 95340
Phone: 209 383 1683


N. Santa Fe Ave,
Visalia, CA 93292
Phone: 559 622 9276



FREED Center for Independent Living (FREED)


The FREED Reuse Program both loans and gives equipment to people permanently.

Their program has DME such as –

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • crutches
  • transfer benches
  • shower chairs
  • bedside commodes
  • raised toilet seats
  • hospital beds
  • patient lifts

To make inquiries about FREED, call at one of the office phone numbers below.

Grass Valley Office
435 Sutton Way,
Grass Valley, CA 95945

Phone: 530 477 3333


Yuba City Office

1100 Butte House Rd, Suite 120
Yuba City, CA 95991

Phone: 530 742 4474

Website: http://freed.org



Communities Actively Living Independent and Free (CALIF)

CALIF reassigns assistive technology devices, under the AT Reuse Capacity Building Grant, to those who can benefit from them.

The items reassigned include items such as –

  • durable medical equipment
  • communication devices
  • vision products
  • hearing products
  • mobility products
  • assistive devices


To make inquiries, you can give them a call at the phone number below.

634 South Spring Street, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Phone: 213 627 0477

Website: https://califilc.webs.com 



Able People Foundation

The organization’s “Giving Program” identifies low income elderly, and individuals living with physical limitations, who are in need of medical equipment and who do not have the funding or insurance to cover it, and then get them that equipment.


The types of equipment that they give include –

  • ambulatory devices: walkers
  • manual wheelchairs in good condition
  • rehab wheelchairs in good condition
  • power wheelchairs with battery charger in working condition
  • electric mobility scooters in good condition with battery charger
  • transfer benches


To contact the foundation, you can use the contact details below.

552A Valley Way
Milpitas, CA 95035

Phone: 408 263 8000

Website: https://ablepeoplefoundation.org



ReCares (formerly Home Cares)

ReCares is an organization which collects gently used medical equipment, and also unused health care supplies.

The equipment is available to all, though, those who need it the most will be served first, meaning the homeless, or uninsured.


ReCares has items such as –

  • commodes
  • crutches
  • toilet risers
  • cushions
  • blood pressure monitors
  • ice machines
  • diabetic test equipment
  • nebulizers
  • walkers
  • canes
  • adult briefs
  • shower chairs
  • tub/transfer benches
  • chux
  • and more

You can contact them on their website, or give them a call at the numbers below.

The main center is at –

2619 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone: 510 251 2273


The website situation is a bit confusing, as they still have the website called “homecares.org” and a new one called “recares.net”, although the information is the same, and the homecares.org website has the ReCares logo at the top.


Website: http://homecares.org 

or    https://recares.net

They also have satellite offices

The alleyway of 63 Dorland St
Dorland St
San Francisco,
CA 94110
Phone: 415 487-54053100

No website

Marin Medical Equipment Recyclers
3100 Kerner Blvd
San Rafael,
Ca 94901
Phone: 415 388 8198

Website: https://marinmer.org/


The Marin Medical Equipment Recyclers site has –


  • wheelchairs
  • companion chairs
  • transfer benches
  • shower chairs
  • orthopedic supports
  • blood pressure machines
  • nebulizers
  • canes
  • crutches
  • commodes
  • walkers
  • grabbers
  • wedge pillows
  • therapeutic cushions
They have the following medical supplies as well –


  • diapers
  • panty pads
  • bed pads
  • latex
  • vinyl gloves
  • wipes
  • and more


At times, due to the pandemic the Marin location has been closed, so do call to check if it is open, or check on either website.



Convalescent Aid Society – CAS

CAS provides the free loan of wheelchairs, and other durable medical equipment for in-home use, to residents in Pasadena and its neighboring communities.

The equipment loan is available to anyone who lives in the CAS’s service area – see the map here.

There is also an application process, and you can find out about that here.

You can loan out medical equipment such as  –

  • hospital beds
  • bed trapezes
  • quad canes
  • canes
  • crutches
  • bedside commodes
  • raised toilet seats
  • bath chairs
  • transfer benches
  • walkers
  • rollators
  • wheelchairs
  • transport chairs


To make inquiries, you can call the phone number below, or use the website.

3255 East Foothill Boulevard,
Pasadena, CA 91107

Phone: 626 793 1696

Website: https://www.convalescentaidsociety.com/



Community Access Center (CAC)


The Riverside Community Access Center has an equipment reuse program with –


  • wheelchairs
  • ramps
  • rollators
  • walkers
  • hearing aids
  • hospital beds
  • suction safety grips
  • visual aids for senior low vision program


To make inquiries about equipment phone the number listed below. 

6848 Magnolia Avenue, Suite 150
Riverside, CA 92506

Phone: 951 274 0358 x103

Website: https://ilcac.org



Easter Seals Superior California


Easter Seals Superior CA loans DME to residents in 13 counties after surgery – Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yubasuch – the loans are indefinite and free.

The group has 7 sites across California.

The medical equipment they loan out includes –

  • commodes
  • shower seats
  • crutches
  • walkers
  • wheelchairs


To make inquiries, call the telephone number below.

3205 Hurley Way
Sacramento, CA 95864

Phone: 916 485 6711

Website: https://www.easterseals.com/superior-ca/

To see all their locations and contact info for the other 6 sites across California, look on their website here.



Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC)

SVILC loans assistive technology to people with disabilities to try it out before they buy a similar item.

To inquire, you can contact them on the number below, or on their website.

25 N. 14th St. Suite 1000 (10th Floor)
San Jose, CA 95112

Phone: 408 894 9041 ext.204

Website: https://svilc.org



Assistive Technology Loan and Reuse (ATLR)

ATEC provides loans of Assistive Technology devices so that individuals can test them out before they purchase a similar device.

1601 E. Saint Andrew Place, Ste 105
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Phone: 714 361 6200, ext.0

Website: https://www.ocgoodwill.org/programs/



Center For Independence of Individuals with Disabilities(CID)

CID gives donated home medical equipment  to disabled residents of San Mateo County.

CID gives out used DME such as –

  • stair lifts
  • porch lifts
  • elevators
  • wheelchairs
  • electric wheelchairs
  • electric scooters
  • walkers
  • canes
  • crutches
  • visual aids


You can contact CID on their phone numbers below, or via their website.

2001 Winward Way, Suite 103
San Mateo, CA 94402

Phone: 650 645 1780 x127

Website: https://cidsanmateo.org

Satellite Offices:
1590 El Camino Real, Suite C

San Bruno, CA 94066

Phone: 650 589 8994



Sonoma County Section on Aging


Sonoma County Section on Aging runs a medical equipment recycling program, providing a variety of medical supplies and DME to the community for free.


They recycle equipment such as –

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers with seats
  • commodes
  • lightweight transport wheelchairs
  • shower benches and chairs


You can call them on the phone number below.


3000 Dutton Ave,

Santa Rosa, CA 95407

Phone: 707 360 2498

Website: https://www.medicalequipmentrecyclingprogram.com/



The Durable Medical Equipment Aid Society


The Durable Medical Equipment Aid Society loans used medical DME to individuals living in Los Angeles County who lack the financial resources, or insurance coverage, to access in-home DME for their rehabilitation, or recovery, from illness or injury.

The DME includes the following items –


  • standard or bariatric manual wheelchairs
  • standard or bariatric transport chairs
  • front wheel walkers and rollator (seated) walkers
  • standard and bariatric commodes
  • raised toilet seats and risers
  • wheelchair ramps
  • patient lifts ie Hoyer lift type
  • bath transfer benches
  • shower/bath chairs
  • shower or bath grab bars
  • single point and quad point canes
  • bed rails
  • toilet rails
  • crutches


Phone: 818 298 9893
Website: http://www.thedme.org

How to use the Ability Tools Assistive Technology Exchange


Anyone can register on the exchange and view what equipment is –


  • available
  • and under what conditions it is available
  • where it is available
  • what is available in the reuse center in their particular region


To do this, you go to the Ability Tools website here –


Next, you click on the link that I have shown in the image below to the NATADS PUBLIC ACCESS DATABASE, which is where the information is hosted.



You will see that there are two main sections –

  • Device Loan – view items for loan
  • Assistive Technology Reutilization

As in the image below –



The Device Loan

On the left, is –

“to let potential AT users try-out devices prior to purchase, have a backup system when their device is in for repairs and/or have access to a device while waiting for their device to be delivered.”

You can browse this section to see what DME is available for 5 week maximum loans without joining, or logging in.

You see on the image below that there are a considerable number of items available.



In the image above, I have the search set to “all locations in California”, but you can set it to your specific region and the reuse center which operates in that region.

It says, on the initial database page, that you can register an account and make a request for an item using the AT Exchange.


Assistive Technology Reutilization 

– this is the section on the right of the page as seen below.



In this section you can see all the different equipment which available at the different reuse sites for loan, sale, or for free – see the image below.

You have pretty much the same filters to streamline your search as in the Device Loan section seen above, and you can also see what is available in your region by changing the filters.

The results of searches will indicate if items are for “open-ended loan”, for free, or if they have a price, and which reuse center the item is currently located at.

To make a request for equipment you have to be registered for an account with the Ability Tools AT Exchange, and you can also do that on the page shown above.


Ability Tools Device Lending and Demo Centers


Ability Tools operates a Device Lending and Demonstration Center program across the whole of  California.

12 agencies are contracted to provide “short term loans” of assistive technology devices, which assist individuals to live independently – the loans last up to 30 days.

The Ability Tools website page is here.

Device Lending and Demonstration Centers are located in the cities listed below.


Center for Applied Rehabilitation Technology

7601 East Imperial Highway,

Downey, CA 90242

Phone: 562 401 6813

Website: https://dhs.lacounty.govrancho/


FREED Center for Independent Living

435 Sutton Way,

Grass Valley, CA 95945

Phone: 530 477 3333

Website: https://freed.org


Community Services for Independent Living (CRIL)

439 A Street,

Hayward, CA 94541

Phone: 510 881 5743

Website: https://crilhayward.org

Disabled Resources Center, Inc. (DRC)

2750 E Spring Street, Suite 100

Long Beach, CA 90806,

Phone: 562 427 1000

Website: https://drcinc.org


Resources for Independent Living (RIL)

420 I Street, Level B, Suite 3

Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: 916 446 3074

Website: https://ril-sacremento.org


California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)

1000 G Street, #100

Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: 800 390 2699

Website: https://abilitytools.org

Central Coast Center for Independent Living (CCCIL)

318 Cayuga Street, Suite 208

Salinas, CA 93901

Phone: 818 757 2968 x32

Website: https://www.cccil.org


SDATC San Diego Assistive Technology Center (UCPSD)

8665 Gibbs Dr, # 100

San Diego, CA 92123

Phone: 858 278 5420 x120

Website: http://ucpdtechcenter.org


Independent Living Resorce Center San Francisco (ILRCSF)

825 Howard Street, Street Level

San Francisco, CA 94103

Phone: 415 543 6222

Website: https://www.ilrcsf.org

Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC)

25 N. 14th Street, Suite 1000

San Jose, CA 95112

Phone: 408 894 9041

Website: https://svilc.org


Central Coast Assistive Tecnology Center (CCATC)

11491 Los Osos Valley Rd #202

San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Phone: 805 549 7420

Website: https://ccatc.org


Assistive Technology Exchnage Center (ATEC)

1221 East Dyer Rd, Suite 105

Santa Ana, CA 92705

Phone: 714 361 6200

Website: https://www.ocgoodwill.org/?s=assistive+technology+center

Independent medical equipment re-use programs in California


UCP of San Diego County

UCP – United Cerebral Palsy – recycles gently used durable medical equipment to those in need of this equipment for free.

The equipment includes –

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • scooters
  • strollers
  • canes
  • standers
  • bath chairs
  • gait trainers




Physical Therapy For All

The majority of the organization’s rehabilitation equipment is donated to nonprofit organizations in Orange County and San Diego County.

Much of this equipment is reused and passed along free of charge to people without the financial resources to buy it themselves.

The medical equipment includes items such as –

  • wheelchairs
  • crutches
  • canes
  • walkers
  • braces


You can make inquiries on the phone number below, or on their website.

31022 Via Mirador
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Phone: 949 735 9955

Website: https://www.ptforall.org



Rolling Start, Inc. – Independent Living Center

Rolling Start, Inc. receives AT funding for Hesperia and Apple Valley Residents, has a Reuse Program, conducts Assistive Technology Training and runs workshops and Group Presentations for the disabled members of the community.

Though they are not listed as part of the coalition of Reuse Centers, they are listed on the Durable Medical Equipment Aid Society website, listed directly above,  as one of their partners.

Website : https://rollingstart.com/services-and-programs/

There are two offices –


San Bernardino Office

1955 Hunts Lane #101

San Bernardino, CA 92408

Phone: 909 890 9516


Victorville Office

16519 Victor Street, #406

Victorville, CA 92395

Phone: 760 949 7626



Centers for Independent Living (CILS) In California


Centers for Independent Living help individuals with disabilities to live independently in the community.

As part of their mission, CIL’s help with the supply of medical equipment those individuals require – through loans or giving it to them for free.

The following tables show a full list of the CIL’s in the state of California,  complete with their addresses, phone numbers and websites.


Access to Independence-Escondido
1440 South Escondido Blvd., Ste D, Escondido, CA 92025
(619) 293-3500
Access to Independence (a2i)
8885 Rio San Diego Drive, Ste 131, San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 293-3500
Access to Independence - Calexico
101 Hacienda Drive, Ste 13, Calexico, CA 92231
(760) 768-2044
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
1000 G Street Ste.100, Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 325-1690
Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities
2001 Winward Way, Ste 103, San Mateo, CA 94404
(650) 645-1780
Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities - San Bruno
1590 El Camino Real, Ste C, San Bruno, CA 94066
(650) 589-8994
Central Coast Center for Independent Living (CCIL)
318 Cayuga Street, Ste 208, Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 757-2968
Central Coast Center for Independent Living - Capitola
1350 41st Avenue, Ste 101, Capitola, CA 95010
(831) 462-8720
Central Coast Center for Independent Living - Watsonville
18 West Beach Street, Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 786-0915
Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF)
634 South Spring Street, 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 627-0477
Community Access Center (CAC)
6848 Magnolia Avenue, Ste 150, Riverside, CA 92506
(951) 274-0358
Community Access Center - Desert Hot Springs
14-201 Palm Drive, Ste 108, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
(760) 568-9301
Community Access Center - Palm Desert
74-390 Highway 111, Ste A, Palm Desert, CA 92260
(760) 568-9301
Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL)
439 A Street, Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 881-5743
Community Resources for Independent Living - Fremont
39155 Liberty Street, Ste A100, Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 794-5735
Community Resources for Independent Living - Tri-Valley Branch
3311 Pacific Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 371-1531
Dayle McIntosh Center (DMC)
501 North Brookhurst Street, Ste 102, Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 621-3300
Dayle McIntosh Center - South County
24031 El Toro Road, Ste 320, Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(949) 460-7784
Disability Action Center (DAC) - Chico Non Profit Headquarters
1161 East Avenue, Chico, CA 95926
(530) 893-8527
Disability Action Center (DAC) - Redding Satellite Location
2876 Park Marina Drive, Redding, CA 96001
(530) 242-8550
Disability Community Resource Center (Formerly Westside CIL)
1527 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 394-9876
Disability Community Resource Center (Formerly Westside CIL) - Main Office
12901 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 390-3611
Disability Community Resource Center - DCRC Satellite (Formerly Westside CIL)
1318 Cravens Ave., Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 390-3611
Disability Community Resource Center - DCRC Satellite (Formerly Westside CIL)
7362 Santa Monica Blvd., 1st Floor, West Hollywood, CA 90046
(310) 390-3611 x227
Disability Resource Agency for IL - San Andreas
130 East St. Charles St., Ste 211, San Andreas, CA 95249
(209) 498-2210
Disability Resource Agency for Independent Living (DRAIL)
1101 Sylvan Ave, Ste A-25, Modesto, CA 95350
(209) 521-7260
Disability Resource Agency for Independent Living - Stockton
501 West Weber Avenue, Ste 200-A, Stockton, CA 95203
(209) 477-6342
Disability Services & Legal Center (DSLC)
521 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 528-2745
Disability Services & Legal Center - Napa
1820 Jefferson Street, Napa, CA 94559
(707) 258-0270
Disability Services & Legal Center - Ukiah
415 B Talmage Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
(707) 463-8875
Disabled Resource Center (DRC)
2750 East Spring Street, Suite 100, Long Beach, CA 90806
(562) 427-1000
FREED Center for Independent Living
435 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945
(530) 477-3333
FREED Center for Independent Living - Yuba City
1100 Butte House Rd., Ste 120, Yuba City, CA 95991
(530) 742-4474
Independent Living Center of Kern County (ILCKC)
5251 Office Park Drive, Ste 200, Bakersfield, CA 93309
(661) 325-1063
Independent Living Center of Southern California (ILCSC)
14354 Haynes St., Van Nuys, CA 91401
(818) 785-6934
Independent Living Center of Southern California - Lancaster
606 East Avenue K4, Lancaster, CA 93535
(661) 942-9726
Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC)
423 West Victoria Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 963-0595
Independent Living Resource Center - Atascadero
1411 Marsh Street, Ste 109, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 462-1162
Independent Living Resource Center - Santa Maria
222 West Carmen Lane, Ste 106, Santa Maria, CA 93458
(805) 925-0015
Independent Living Resource Center - Ventura
702 County Square Drive, Ste 103, Ventura, CA 93003
(805) 650-5993
Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco (ILRCSF)
825 Howard Street,Third Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 543-6222
Independent Living Resource of Solano and Contra Costa Counties (ILRSCC)
1850 Gateway Blvd., Suite 120, Concord, CA 94520
(925) 363-7293
Independent Living Resources - Antioch
3727 Sunset Lane, Ste 103, Antioch, CA 94509
(925) 754-0539
Independent Living Resources - Fairfield
450 Chadbourne Road, Ste C, Fairfield, CA 94534
(707) 435-8174
Marin Center for Independent Living (MCIL)
710 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 459-6245
Mother Lode
67 Linoberg Street, Ste. A, Sonora, CA 95370
(209) 532-0963
Placer Independent Resource Services (PIRS)
11768 Atwood Road Ste 29, Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 885-6100
Resources for Independence Central Valley
1225 Gill Avenue, Madera, CA 93637
(559) 221-2330
Resources for Independence, Central Valley (RICV)
3636 N. First St., Ste 101, Fresno, CA 93726
(559) 221-2330
Resources for Independence, Central Valley - Merced
710 West 18th Street, Ste 5, Merced, CA 95340
(209) 383-1683
Resources for Independence, Central Valley - Visalia
425 E. Oak Ave., Ste 202, Visalia, CA 93291
(559) 622-9276
Resources for Independent Living (RIL)
420 I Street, Level B, Ste 3, Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 446-3074
Rolling Start, Inc. (RSI)
1955 South Hunts Lane, Ste 101, San Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 890-9516
Rolling Start, Inc. - Victorville
16519 Victor St, Ste 406, Victorville, CA 92395
(760) 949-7626
Service Center for Independent Life (SCIL)
107 South Spring Street, Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 621-6722
Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC)
25 North 14th Street, Ste 1000, San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 894-9041
Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC)
7881 Church Street, Ste C, Gilroy, CA 95020
(408) 843-9100
Southern CA Rehabilitation Services (Satellite)
11625 Clark St., Ste 101, Arcadia, CA 91006
(626) 239-6012
Southern California Resource Services For Independent Living
1950 S. Sunwest Ln., Ste 104, San Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 763-3499
Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living - Downey
7830 Quill Drive, Ste D, Downey, CA 90242
(562) 862-6531
Southern California Resource Services For Independent Living - Pasadena
2023 Lincoln Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 587-5010
The Center for Independent Living (Alameda)
2490 Mariner Square Loop, Suite 210, Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 841-4776
The Center for Independent Living (Berkeley)
3075 Adeline Street, Ste 100, Berkeley, CA 94703
(510) 841-4776
The Center for Independent Living (Oakland)
1470 Fruitvale Avenue, Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 841-4776
Tri County IL, Inc. (TILI)
139 5th Street, Eureka, CA 95501
(707) 445-8404

Medical equipment loan closets in the San Diego Area


Cecily’s Closet – San Diego

Cecily’s closet is partnered with The UCP organization of San Diego to make equipment available to families who need it. The equipment is for children with special needs.

Once equipment has been donated it is posted on their Facebook page, and you can see what is available there –


The text below is taken verbatim from the Cecily’s closet website –

“Cecily’s Closet encourages parents to make donated equipment available to families in need directly through the Cecily’s Closet website. The process is simple:

1) Send us a picture and a description of your item to info@cecilyscloset.org or post directly to the Cecily’s Closet page on Facebook.

2) Cecily’s Closet will post the item to FaceBook.

3) Once we find an interested party we ask the interested party to pick it up directly from the donor. This enables us to scale and recycle more equipment! “




Ramona Food & Clothes Closet

Here is the website page for the loan closet – https://www.foodandclothescloset.org/medical-equipment-loan-program/

The loan closet is part of the thrift store they own.



773 Main Street,

Ramona, CA 92065

Phone: 760 789 4458


The types of equipment that you can donate –

  • knee braces
  • ankle braces
  • wrist braces
  • Post-Op shoes
  • Crutches
  • compression socks
  • neck braces
  • back braces
  • boot braces
  • elbow braces
  • canes
  • shower chairs
  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • handicap toilets

Medical equipment loan closets in the Los Angeles Area


Helping Hands, Los Angeles Durable Medical Equipment Loan Closet


Website : https://www.helpinghandsla.org/how-we-help/care-coordination/medical-equipment/dme-loan-closet

Phone: 818 279 6580

The loan closets are a free community resource where seniors can borrow used medical equipment such as –

  • wheelchairs
  • power mobility equipment
  • crutches
  • canes walkers
  • beds
  • bathroom safety equipment


LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County and San Diego County are all served by the loan closet.

On the website, there are no listings, so you will need to give them a call to find a loan closet near you to borrow equipment.

“Depending on particular the loan closet, the equipment may be loaned out for a set period of time, for as long as the person needs it or, in some cases it may even be given away.”

The source of the text above is here –




Muscular Dystrophy Association


6167 Bristol PWKY Suite 325,

Culver City, CA 90230-6612

Phone: 310 390 6802

Website: https://www.mda.org/

This agency of the MDA in Culver City loans out wheelchairs, and helps with repairs, for individuals with one of forty neuromuscular diseases.



Simi Valley Seventh-Day Adventist Church Community Services Center & Medical Loan Closet


1636 Sinaloa Road,

Simi Valley, CA 93065

For any questions, call – 805 433 2384


Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/simivalleyadventistcommunityservices/

The loan closet accepts donations and carries items of used medical equipment such as –

  • Rollators
  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • crutches
  • bedside commodes
  • raised toilet seats
  • power wheelchairs
  • patient lifts
  • hospital beds
  • knee braces
  • ankle braces
  • arm braces
  • wrist braces

The loan closet also carries medical supplies such as incontinence pads

The loan closet is open on Wednesday mornings from 10 to 12 noon.

For any questions, call – 805 433 2384



The Camarillo Medical Supply Project


300 Mission Drive,

Camarillo, CA 93010

Phone: 805 491 1028


This is a loan closet which is run by the Camarillo United Methodist Church, and it is open to all members of the community and Ventura County.

Website: https://camarilloumc.org/medical-supply-project

At the bottom of the webpage above, there is an email form you can use to contact the loan closet if you don’t want to call.

You can donate all types of durable medical equipment and home health supplies –

  • walkers
  • wheelchairs
  • knee scooters
  • rollators
  • crutches
  • canes
  • bedside commodes
  • shower chairs



Medical equipment loan closets in the Santa Barbara Area


Buellton Senior Center Loan Closet 

This is a free loan closet which lends basic medical equipment to seniors.

They loan items such as –

  • crutches
  • canes
  • walkers
  • wheelchairs
  • bathroom safety equipment


The website is here.


Buellton Senior Center

164 West Hwy 246,

Buellton, CA 93427

Phone: 805 688 4571



The Wilshire Loan Closet or Riso Family Loan Closet  

The loan closet serves residents of San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara Counties, offering a free loans of durable medical equipment to those in need.

The items include medical devices such as –

  • crutches
  • canes
  • walkers
  • wheelchairs
  • bathroom safety equipment

The equipment is typically loaned for brief periods of time following injury, or surgery.

The information about inquiring can be found on the website here.



VNA Health Loan Closet, Santa Barbara 

The VNA Health Loan Closet in Santa Barbara offers free short-term loans of durable medical equipment.

The loan closet only has smaller items of DME, not larger items such as hospital beds or patient lifts.


VNA Health Loan Closet

360 Olive St,

Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Phone: 805 690 6235

Website : https://vna.health/services/loancloset/



Medical Equipment loan Closets in the Central Valley area


The Society for Disabilities Loan Closet 

The loan closet is a free resource lending seniors basic medical equipment.

The items accept equipment such as –

  • crutches
  • canes
  • walkers
  • wheelchairs
  • trapezes
  • hoyer lifts
  • slide boards
  • diapers
  • electric scooters
  • bath transfer benches
  • bathroom safety equipment


You can donate gently used medical equipment.

The information on donating can be found on the website here.


The Society For disABILITIES

1129 8th St, Suite 101

Modesto, CA 95354

Phone: 209 524 3536



Medical equipment loan closets in the San Jose Area


Avenidas Medical Equipment Loan Closet

Avenidas has a medical equipment loan closet for those who are ill, or have an injury in the community in Palo Alto.

The loan closet DME items such as –

  • walkers
  • shower chairs
  • canes
  • other equipment

The website page for the loan closet is here – https://www.avenidas.org/medical-equipment-loan-closet-now-open/

The program is part of the Health and Wellness Program.



450 Bryant St,

Palo Alto, CA 94301

Website: https://www.avenidas.org/

Phone: 650 289 5400



Medical equipment loan closets in the San Francisco Area


A Soldier’s Dove

This is a nonprofit organization in the SF Bay Area which gifts sanitized and repaired gently used medical equipment, to those without insurance, or who are under-insured etc.

The types of medical equipment which they gift include –

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • bedside commodes
  • shower chairs
  • wheelchair cushions
  • canes
  • quad canes
  • other bathroom safety equipment


To find out if you are eligible for their help, you can use the contact info below –

You can also email at – asoldiersdove@gmail.com


Phone: 650 590 9111



NorCal SCI (Northern California Spinal Injury)

Here you will find used medical equipment which includes –

  • power wheelchairs (no older than 3 yrs)
  • manual wheelchairs
  • walkers


NorCal SCI posts donated medical equipment in their online gallery of

free equipment here, and also gives equipment to individuals who have made a request for particular items, and are in need.

To request equipment, you need to go to this website page here.

You can contact NorCal SCI by email –  info@norcalsci.org .

Website: https://norcalsci.org/

Phone: 408 458 9863



Medical equipment loan closets in the Napa Valley Area


Share the Care

162 South Coombs St,

Napa, CA 94559

Phone: 707 492 3198


Website: http://napavalleysharethecare.com/



Medical equipment loan closets in the Sacramento Area



The loan closet is for equipment for children with special needs and accepts equipment donations.

The items such as –

  • wheelchairs
  • standers

You can donate gently used medical equipment.

The information on donating can be found on the website here.

To donate equipment, you drop it off at the warehouse, but they are specific times and dates on the website that you need to check at the link above.



AbleCloset Equipemnt Warehouse

670 Enterprise Dr, Unit C,

Diamond Springs, CA 95050

Website: https://www.ablecloset.com/contact




ALS Association Of Greater Sacramento Loan Closet


The ALS Assoc., in Sacramento, has a loan closet of durable medical equipment available to ALS patients only.

The loan closet has such items as –

  • walkers
  • electric wheelchairs
  • manual wheelchairs
  • voice amplification devices


To find out more, call –

Phone: 916 979 9265


American Lutheran Church Medical Equipment Closet


American Lutheran Church

1114 College St,

Woodland, CA 95695


The medical equipment closet loans at equipment for free, upon request.

The closet has items such as –

  • walkers
  • canes
  • crutches
  • bedside commodes
  • shower benches


To find out more, you can give them a call on –

Phone: 530 662 6338



Davis Senior Center Medical Equipment Closet


646 A St,

Davis, CA 95616

Phone: 530 757 5696


The loan closet is for adults in need, and you do not have to be a Davis resident to borrow equipment.

You will find the following types of equipment in their closet –

  • manual wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • canes
  • bedside commodes
  • toilet seat risers



Parkinson’s Association Sacramento Loan Closet


The loan closet is for Parkinson’s Assoc. members only.

You can borrow –

  • wheelchairs
  • scooters
  • hospital beds
  • shower equipment


To find out more, call –

Phone: 916 489 0026



St. Paul Catholic Church Medical Equipment Loan Program


8720 Florin Rd,

Sacramento, CA 95828

Phone: 916 381 5200


“The Health Ministry of St. Paul administers and manages a free medical loan program for parishioners.”


You will find the following types of medical equipment –


  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • crutches
  • canes
  • bedside commodes
  • shower equipment


Give them a call on the number above to find out more.



Winters Community Center Medical Equipment Loan Closet


201 Railroad Ave,

Winters, CA 95694

Phone: 530 795 4824

 The Winters Community Center lends out the medical equipment to adults in need.

Donations of the following types of medical equipment are accepted –


  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • toilet seat risers
  • canes
  • bedside commodes


To donate, give them a call on the number above.

Free medical equipment online near me in California


An easy way to find home medical equipment for free, and do it in your area, is with certain online platforms and apps.


A word to this wise about using online listings, and picking up free items –

1) I wouldn’t have anyone drop off an item at your home, especially if you are caring for an elderly, vulnerable person.

Arrange to pick up the item at a coffee shop, a mall or public venue and local – you don’t know if the person has other motives.

2) Don’t go alone to the meeting to pick up the free equipment, especially if you are a woman

4) Scamming – be aware that there are individuals who advertise items for free, and in fact are trying to pull you in to sell you something.

On platforms like Nextdoor, OfferUp and Facebook, you can take a look at a user’s profile.

You can find free home medical equipment on –


  • Craigslist.com
  • Freecycle.org
  • UsedHME.com
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Nextdoor.com
  • OfferUp

Free used medical equipment near me in California, on Craigslist

To search for free items on Craigslist, you do not have to join, you just contact the person with the listing.

Craigslist is available on mobile and desktop devices.

As wells as the listings for free stuff, Craigslist has a particular section for garage or yard sales.

You can check the photographs that are posted for the upcoming sales if you can’t find anything for free. Typically, during the week people having garage sales will post their listing with lots of photos, so you can go through them to see if anything you are looking for is going to be in the sale.

You can find my illustrated guide on how to find free used home medical equipment on Craigslist.com here – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Craigslist ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”


Screenshot of Craigslist listings page

Screenshot example of a  Craigslist garage sale page

Free Used Medical Equipment near me in California, on FreeCycle.org


Freecycle.org is a website where items of all kinds are given away for free – it is all over the world.

On the site  –

  • you can see what is available in your area
  • you will see groups of people who are giving items away
  • you can pick groups to join in your area
  • request to join the groups
  • become a member of different groups
  • see if the groups have any free used medical equipment you are looking for
  • you can also post requests of “wanted” equipment in the groups that you have joined


You can join as many groups as will approve you as a member, and put up as many “wanted” posts for the used medical equipment as you need to.

You can find my illustrated article on how to find free used home medical equipment near you on Freecycle.org, here – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Freecycle.org ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”

Screenshot of Freecyle.org page

Used medical equipment for sale or free, near me in California, on usedHME.com


Used Home Medical Equipment is a “free listing service where people can, buy, sell or donate.”

You do not have to join anything to use the service.

The tools can be used on mobile or on desktop.

The service works by zip code

You can find offers from people local to where you live, and you can set the distance from your zip code that you want for the search. If at first your search is unsuccessful you can increase the area searched

There is a lot of equipment which is free.

The website does not engage with any parties, it is entirely between you and the person offering the equipment.


You can find my illustrated guide on how to find free used home medical equipment on UsedHME.com here – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On UsedHME.com ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”


Free used medical equipment near me in California, on Facebook


You have to have a Facebook account to be able to find free items.

To open a Facebook account is easy and free – you just need an email address.

No app is required, and it is available on mobile and desktop.

With a Facebook account, you have the possibility of finding free items –

  • in buying and selling groups
  • on the Facebook Marketplace

Users have different tools, and ways, of selecting the areas within which they search for free items.


You can find my illustrated guide on how to find free used home medical equipment on Facebook, here – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Facebook ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”

Screenshot of Facebook Marketplace page

Free used medical equipment near me in California, on Nextdoor.com


Nextdoor.com is a social media platform, just like Facebook, except the members are not friends and family, they are your neighbors.

It is a neighborhood social media platform, which makes it an ideal for finding free items, very locally.

There is an app for mobile, and the website for desktop.

To use Nextdoor, you need to be a member, but it is free – you sign up with your email and your street address.

The platform needs your address, to slot you into the right neighborhood.

You can find my illustrated guide on how to find free used home medical equipment on Nextdoor.com, here – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Nextdoor.com ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”

Screenshot of Nextdoor.com “All Listings” page

Free used medical equipment near me in California, on OfferUp


OfferUp is a “mobile first” platform, with an app for mobile, for selling and buying used goods – it is available to use it on desktop as well.

There are plenty of free items on OfferUp – but do check that the profiles of the people offering equipment have photos etc. and were not set up yesterday.

Sellers on OfferUp can also have ratings to show they are trustworthy, and not scammers, so pay attention to that.

OfferUp is free to join and use.

You need to download the free app to set it up on mobile.

There are different options for setting up the area in which you search for free items

There is a very good video on using OfferUp, which you can see below, and it explains everything, so I have no need to write a guide this time. Just watch the video !

Getting free medical equipment with Medicaid in California


The Californian version of the federal Medicaid program is called Medi-Cal, and its purpose is to provide medical coverage to those with the lowest incomes.

For many individuals the coverage is free, and for some it is low-cost health coverage.

The lead agency for Medi-Cal is the Department of Health Care Services – here.

Everyone with Medi-Cal is covered for 10 “essential health benefits”, one of which is physical and occupational therapy and “devices” ie medical equipment.

You will be covered if  – 

  • the medical equipment or device is medically necessary
  • is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner
  • and the equipment meets your medical needs


For the purposes of Medi-Cal program Durable Medical Equipment includes items such as wheelchairs, canes, crutches, grab bars, walkers, hospital beds oxygen therapy equipment, augmentative communication devices and more. 

You can read more about that in “Obtaining Assistive Technology through Medi-Cal” here.

And in “An Advocate’s guide to Medi-Cal Service”, January 2020, here.

Medi-Cal Programs specifically targeting the elderly and the disabled


The Department of Health Care Services also  has programs called Medic-Cal waivers which are adapted to target specific groups in the population, or groups in particular areas of a state.

There are a number of  Medi-Cal waivers, which are of particular interest to us, and which provide home and community based services and typically will cover the purchase of a wider range  Durable Medical Equipment or Assistive Devices which are prescribed as “medically necessary” by the beneficiary’s medical provider and even some home modifications, for free.

These programs are also known as HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) programs or waivers, and are primarily designed to allow the participants to maintain their independence in their own home, and to not have to live in a nursing facility.

The programs all have a limited number of places, so it is not always possible to participate in a program straight away, and should this be the case, if a person is eligible they will be placed on a waiting list.

The waivers are the following –

Home and Community-Based Alternatives Waiver – you can read more about that here.

Self-Determination Program – you can find out more about this here.

The Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) Waiver – you can read more about that here.

All three waivers will allow for the purchase of equipment and devices which will allow the program participant to continue living in their own home.


Sources for this section on Medi-Cal –

Obtaining Assistive Technology Through Medi-Cal – https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/system/files/file-attachments/558301.pdf

Medi-Cal waivers – https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/Pages/Medi-CalWaivers.aspx

The California Department of Health Care Services – https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/

If your income is just too high for Medicaid, what can you do ?


The Spend Down and similar programs

Medicaid Spend Down, and other similar programs, are designed to assist a person in reducing their income and asset levels, so that they may become eligible for Medicaid, HCBS’s and waivers.

“Spend Down” has two models of program  –

  • Income Spend Down
  • Asset Spend Down

“Income Spend Down”model I will be looking at here.

If in your case your assets are too high, or both your assets and income are too high, then you need to look into “Asset Spend Down”, and luckily it is present in all states.

Income Spend Down

“Spend Down” programs are also be known as “Surplus Income”, “Share of Cost”, “Excess Income” and “Medically Needy”, in different states but are not present in all.

The programs help a person reduce their income by allowing them to deduct their medical costs from their income, and if as a result the income level drops below the Medicaid eligibility limit, the person qualifies for Medicaid and state run programs.

If you want to find out more about Income Spend Down, I have an article, “What Is Spend Down ?” where you can learn more about it, find out if you are eligible, and see some examples of how an Income Spend Down works. 

What medical equipment does Medicare cover ?


Original Medicare Part B will, with certain stipulations, cover some items of durable medical equipment for use in the home.

Durable medical equipment is medical equipment which can be used in the home, and which is able to withstand repeated use over a sustained period of time.

Medicare considers durable medical equipment to be items such as wheelchairs, bedside commodes, walkers, or hospital beds.

Medicare doesn’t, in general, cover supplies which are disposable.

When is Durable Medical Equipment covered by Medicare ?


Original Medicare is made up of parts A and B.

Medicare Part A covers treatment in skilled nursing facilities, and any equipment used in the facilities, including DME for short term stays.

Medicare Part B covers outpatient and home health services, including “durable medical equipment”.

Durable Medical Equipment is covered by Medicare Part B, for “use in the home”, only if-

  • it is prescribed as “medically necessary” by a Medicare-enrolled Physician “or treating provider (like a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or clinical nurse specialist)”
  • certain DME may demand extra documentation of the medical necessity of the equipment. Source : https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11045-Medicare-Coverage-of-DME.PDF
  • the equipment must also be acquired (purchased or rented), through a Medicare-enrolled supplier to qualify for coverage


Even when you have fulfilled these criteria, you can still slip up on the amount you pay for the equipment, and I will outline how not to fall foul of the system later.

Medicare’s basic criteria for DME

Medicare doesn’t just cover any DME.

DME  has to meet these criteria for it to be covered by Medicare:


  • durable (it must be able to withstand repeated use over a sustained period of time)
  • used for a medical reason, as opposed to for comfort
  • not usually useful to someone who isn’t sick or injured
  • used in your home
  • has an expected lifetime of at least 3 years


So if the equipment you are looking at doesn’t meet these criteria, you probably won’t be able to get it covered by Medicare.

Medicare does not cover items it considers “not medical in nature”, or “comfort items”, and this includes a lot of bathroom safety equipment such as –


  • grab bars
  • raised toilet seats
  • toilet safety frames

What you pay on DME for “use in the home” when you have Medicare Part B


Typically, if, as I wrote earlier, you have a prescription for your DME from a Medicare-enrolled doctor, stating that your DME is “medically necessary” according to the Medicare guidelines, Original Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the cost of your DME.

You will pay your 20% co-payment, and if it applies, you also pay your annual deductible.

It is very important to understand that Medicare Suppliers who are enrolled in the Medicare Program, don’t have to accept the Medicare-approved price, if they do not wish to.

In such cases, Medicare Part B will pay the Medicare-approved price for the equipment to the supplier for your equipment, but if the supplier’s price is higher, you will end up paying the 20% co-payment of the Medicare-approved price, and the difference between the Medicare-approved price and the suppliers price (which can be up to 15% more), and not just the 20% co-payment of the Medicare-approved price.

I will go into how to avoid such problems later.

How much can you potentially save with Medicare Part B ?


I do of course understand that Medicare is not free, but if you can get equipment covered to 80 % of the Medicare-approved price, that will make it a lot easier to afford it.

There is not much point doing this on smaller items, unless you have paid the annual deductible, as it is several hundred dollars.

If you have not paid your annual deductible, you have to figure that in as well, and it is less interesting, but if you want a large item such as a hospital bed, patient lift, or motorized wheelchair it may well be worth your while.

Let’s take a look at how much this can save you on your purchases with Medicare Part B.

Firstly, when you also have to pay your annual deductible, and secondly, when you have already paid it on another item, or treatment, and do not have to pay it again.

Medicare Part B’s deductible is only paid once a year, which is why I am saying that a purchase of equipment is financially more interesting if you don’t have to pay your Part B annual deductible, which is after all $203.00 as of 2021. 

So…let’s imagine you have been approved by Medicare for an $800.00 (Medicare-approved price) hospital bed (bought through a Medicare “Participating” Supplier), even if you have not yet paid your annual deductible for Medicare Part B, the bed will cost you –

Example 1 : – Note, this is if you have not yet paid your annual deductible –


20% of $800.00 (your co-insurance payment) = $160

Your annual deductible = $203.00 in 2021

This makes a total of  = $363.00

So you make a saving of  $437.00 


Example 2 : – Note, this is if you have already paid your deductible for Medicare Part B –

Again, if you have been approved by Medicare for an $800.00 (Medicare-approved price) hospital bed (bought through a Medicare “Participating” Supplier), but you have paid your annual deductible for Medicare Part B, the bed will cost you –


20% of $800.00 (your co-insurance payment) = $160


So you make a saving of $640.00

Note: on larger objects you will most likely be renting the equipment on a monthly basis, and this means that you will be paying smaller amounts as a monthly rental.

So how do you get the best deal on Medicare covered DME ?


Medicare-enrolled suppliers fall into two camps –

  • Medicare Suppliers
  • Medicare “Participating” Suppliers

The Medicare “Participating” Suppliers have accepted what is known as “assignment”.

This means that they have agreed to charge the Medicare-approved price only.

When you buy your DME from a Medicare “Participating Supplier” you will not be paying more than the 20% co-payment of the Medicare-approved price for the equipment.

If your supplier is a not a “participating” supplier, this means that they have agreed to take payment from Medicare, but that they don’t have to accept “assignment” if they don’t want to.

To get DME at the lowest price through Medicare, you must make sure that your supplier is Medicare-approved and that they accept “assignment”, prior to doing anything else.

How much will I pay ?


If your supplier is a “participating” supplier, meaning they accept assignment, you will  pay your co-insurance 20% of the medicare-approved price, and your annual deductible if that has not been paid in that year of coverage.

Prices may vary somewhat as Medicare rents, as well as buys, equipment from suppliers.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, you will need to check with your plan.

List of DME typically covered by Medicare


In addition to Durable Medical Equipment, there is Medicare Part B covers Prosthetics and Corrective Lenses for certain conditions. Those items here as well.


Air-Fluidized Bed
Alternating Pressure Pads and Mattresses
Audible/visible Signal Pacemaker Monitor
Pressure reducing beds, mattresses, and mattress overlays used to prevent bed sores
Bead Bed
Bed Side Rails
Bed Trapeze – covered if your loved one is confined to their bed and needs one to change position
Blood sugar monitors
Blood sugar (glucose) test strips
Canes (however, white canes for the blind aren’t covered)
Commode chairs
Continuous passive motion (CPM) machines
Continuous Positive Pressure Airway Devices, Accessories and Therapy
Cushion Lift Power Seat
Diabetic Strips
Digital Electronic Pacemaker
Electric Hospital beds
Gel Flotation Pads and Mattresses
Glucose Control Solutions

Heat Lamps
Hospital beds
Hydraulic Lift
Infusion pumps and supplies (when necessary to administer certain drugs)
IPPB Machines
Iron Lung
Lymphedema Pumps
Manual wheelchairs and power mobility devices (power wheelchairs or scooters needed for use inside the home)
Medical Oxygen
Mobile Geriatric Chair
Motorized Wheelchairs
Muscle Stimulators
Nebulizers and some nebulizer medications (if reasonable and necessary)
Oxygen equipment and accessories
Oxygen Tents
Patient Lifts (a medical device used to lift you from a bed or wheelchair)
Postural Drainage Boards
Rolling Chairs
Safety Roller
Seat Lift
Self-Contained Pacemaker Monitor
Sleep apnea and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices and accessories
Sitz Bath
Steam Packs
Suction pumps
Traction equipment
Ultraviolet Cabinet
Urinals (autoclavable hospital type)
Whirlpool Bath Equipment – if your loved one is home bound and the pool is medically needed. If your loved one isn’t home bound, Medicare will cover the cost of treatments in a hospital.

Prosthetic and Orthotic Items

Orthopedic shoes only when they’re a necessary part of a leg brace
Arm, leg, back, and neck braces (orthotics), as long as you go to a supplier that’s enrolled in Medicare
Artificial limbs and eyes
Breast prostheses (including a surgical bra) after a mastectomy
Ostomy bags and certain related supplies
Urological supplies
Therapeutic shoes or inserts for people with diabetes who have severe diabetic foot disease.


Corrective Lenses

Prosthetic Lenses
Cataract glasses (for Aphakia or absence of the lens of the eye)
Conventional glasses or contact lenses after surgery with insertion of an intraocular lens
Intraocular lenses

Important: Only standard frames are covered. Medicare will only pay for contact lenses or eyeglasses provided by a supplier enrolled in Medicare, no matter who submits the claim (you or your supplier).

Free medical equipment for veterans


If you are a veteran, or you are caring for a Veteran, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has many grants, programs and forms of financial assistance which are available to cover the cost of DME’s and also Home Care Supplies.

Veterans are entitled to receive their healthcare under the VA Medical Benefits Package.

By law, the VA has to provide hospital care, and outpatient care services, that are defined as “needed”, to eligible veterans.

The VA defines “needed” as a care, or a service, which promotes, preserves or restores health.

Veterans can find out about their local VA Medical Centers and different clinics and offices in each state here.


Here are just some of the different forms of assistance for veterans –


  • Tricare for life – a supplemental insurance policy which covers the 20% coinsurance payment on DME with Medicare
  • Tricare – if you have Tricare it will cover most DME for use in the home, so long as it is prescribed by a doctor as “medically necessary”, but like Medicare Part B it sticks to the most basic models and doesn’t cover items with lots of extra features
  • Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services – these programs are designed to help veterans to stay living in their own homes, and if the DME is deemed by a doctor to be “medically necessary” it will be covered. Veterans participating in these programs will also be directing the way their budget is spent, and they have somewhat more flexibility in choosing which patient lift or hospital bed they buy
  • ChampVA for Life – this program is for 65’s and over who are family members of veterans who died in the course of their duties, or who were permanently disabled – it covers the beneficiary’s Medicare co-pays and deductibles

Where to ask about free medical equipment in your neighborhood


If you are still having trouble finding any free medical equipment, you could try some of the following locations in your neighborhood –


  • Your local Area Agency on Aging
  • Lions Clubs
  • Rotary Clubs
  • Local church communities


Area Agencies on Aging

Area Agencies on Aging are private or public nonprofit agencies appointed by the state to provide services to help adults over the age of 60, their families and their caregivers.

The Agencies help people find the information, assistance and services that they need in the community – it is all geared towards helping the elderly to maintain their independence and to remain living in their own homes.

So, your local Area Agency on Aging is an excellent place to start asking questions about where you may be able to find free medical equipment, where there may be loan closets for DME, or cheap thrift stores selling gently used equipment.

There is a locator tool to help you find an agency near you on the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and can be found here.

Lions Clubs

The Lions run many charitable programs, and many run community loan closets for home medical equipment.

You can find a club near you, and ask if they have a loan closet, or if they know of other clubs in your area who have one.

I have an illustrated guide explaining how to very quickly find a Lions Club near you, which you can read here.


Rotary Clubs

The Rotary organization, just like the Lions organization, does a huge amount of charity work, and runs many programs through its clubs.

It’s a good idea to locate a club near you and ask if they know of clubs, or other organizations, in your area that have free loan closets for medical equipment.

To do so, you can use their club locator tool.

I have an illustrated guide on how to locate a Rotary Club near you, that you can read here – it’s a very quick and easy read.

The Catholic Charities  of California

The Catholic Charities of California provide a huge number of services to the poor.

A large part of their work is providing different programs –

  • helping low income families to enroll in healthcare plans
  • food programs
  • nutrition programs
  • legal assistance programs for illegal immigrants
  • disaster management programs
  • emergency preparedness,
  • an outreach program to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 through educating the communities who have been the hardest hit by the virus
  • a lot of work is done in outreach, to help poorer families find the services they need, so they are very many feet on the ground, and know what is available in your area.

If you are wondering where to find free medical equipment, or other services, you can always ask the Catholic Charities for information.

The Catholic Charities have centers all over California, which you can find all of them here – https://catholiccharitiesca.org/where-we-operate/

You can always call and ask a question.


Your local church or faith communities

Another great resource is going to be churches in your neighborhood, and the communities around those churches should have lots of information about where you may be able to find items for free.

Many churches have their own independent loan closets which offer DME loans for free, and are really only advertised in small news bulletins put out by those churches.


Where to get cheaper medical equipment in California ?


This section is all about where to get “cheaper” DME – I know that it’s not free, and it won’t be new, but it will cost a lot less than new equipment.

Goodwill stores selling used medical equipment in California


These stores are obviously not free, but they do sell “gently used” medical equipment, and the proceeds go to employing their staff who may have challenging conditions which make it difficult to find decent employment.

You can use the appropriate link below to a store locator for your area, and then contact the stores near you.


Goodwill store locations in Southern California

If you live in Southern California, the Goodwill Southern California Organization website locator can be used to find a store in your area, which you will find here –


You just enter your zip code and the distance from your zip code within you wish to search.


Goodwill store locations in Silicon Valley

Goodwill operates 18 stores in Santa Clara County and surrounding areas.
You can use their locator too here –


On this tool, you enter your address and press find – there is also a list of all the stores on the page as well.


Goodwill store locations in the San Francisco area

The site serves San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin County.

On the website at the page below there is a locator tool and, underneath that, there is a list of all the stores.

You can find that webpage here-


You can either enter your address into the locator search fields or look at the list below of the different stores – there are not that many – I found it quicker just to read the list.


Goodwill store locations in Northern California

Goodwill has 37 stores in the Sacramento, Northern California area.

The website page to locate a store near you is here – https://www.goodwillsacto.org/store-locations/

You have a choice of either –


  • scrolling through the list to the left of the grid map/ satellite photo
  • or, entering your address, or zip code, in the tiny “Search by Location” field (it is on the top of the list of shop locations and remarkably easy to miss)

and it will pull up the store nearest to you.


Salvation Army stores also sell used medical equipment in California


The Salvation Army has stores all over the US where you can buy used medical equipment  – in most stores.

To find a Salvation Army thrift store near you, go to the website page below –


You just have to enter your zip code and map view and list of stores in your area will load to your screen.


Thrift stores selling used home medical equipment in California


I have an article about used medical equipment in California which has lists of the thrift stores selling used medical equipment.

Do be warned, though, that there is no guarantee of the quality of used medical equipment that you buy from a lot of these thrift stores, and you are buying the items at your own risk.

Always check to see if the equipment has been professionally refurbished, or if you are buying it “as is”, and whether the thrift store accepts liabilities if it breaks during use.

You can find the article with the thrift stores selling used medical equipment here – The Ultimate Guide To Used Medical Equipment In California

In conclusion


There are many options here, and hopefully you will find something that will help you out.

If you don’t qualify for anything free, or have a loan closet near you, then I would start with the Goodwill thrift stores as they do, typically, refurbish equipment and don’t sell anything which is not safe to use.


I’m Gareth, the author and owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com

I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.

Gareth Williams

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