In Big Win for ALS Community, ALS Association and Advocates Instrumental in Medicare Decision to Cover Seat Elevation Systems


Medicare is in the final stage of adding power seat elevation systems in power wheelchairs as a new benefit for disabled individuals including people living with ALS. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently released a proposal to deem the equipment medically necessary to preform weight-bearing transfers – a huge win for ALS advocates who have been fighting for years for coverage.

“In order to make ALS livable for everyone, everywhere, we need to make sure that people living with the disease have access to medically necessary equipment that enhances their quality of life and assist them with their activities of daily living,” said Melanie Lendnal, senior vice president of policy and advocacy at The ALS Association.

The ALS Association and hundreds of ALS advocates filed comments in support of providing Medicare coverage for power seat elevation in September, when the rule was first proposed. Our comments support power seat elevation systems integrated into power wheelchair systems as a medically necessary safety feature. These systems are designed to assist wheelchair users in the performance of non-level transfers and decrease fall risks, reduce physical injuries, and would enable people living with ALS greater freedoms.

Kathleen Sheehan, vice president of public policy at The ALS Association talked about the importance of ensuring Medicare coverage of power seat elevation on a recent episode of Connecting ALS.

“Seat elevation is one of those very important things that Medicare should cover, because it really is medically necessary, and of course, it's critically important to people being independent and being able to safely transfer from their wheelchairs and complete activities of daily living, such as eating, reaching the refrigerator, the stove, things like that,” she said.

Even though power seat elevation is medically necessary, results from an ALS Focus survey indicated that while 53 percent of respondents needed power wheelchairs, only 4 percent said that their insurance covered part of the cost.

CMS is initiating another 30-day public comment period for individuals and organizations to express their support. The agency will issue its final coverage decision in May 2023. The ALS Association and ALS advocates will once again submit comments to celebrate this decision and big win for our community.


On March 17, we filed comments with CMS fully supporting their proposed policy to provide Medicare coverage for power seat elevation systems as a medically necessary safety feature. Read our full comments here. We also submitted comments on behalf of 540 advocates from 47 states – people living with ALS and caregivers – explaining why seat elevation systems are important to their daily life. You can read those comments here.