Medical costs and mobility costs can really take a bite out of your budget. That’s especially true if you’re on a fixed income. A lot of our clients ask us, “Is a chair lift tax deductible?” The answer is yes, but only if you meet some requirements.
According to the IRS, you can deduct a number of qualified medical expenses. On the IRS link, a chair lift falls under capital expenses. The expense of a chair lift is tax deductible if you have a prescription from a health care provider saying you need one due to health reasons. So before you install a stair lift, you may want to visit your doctor. See if they will write a prescription for one. You may need to undergo testing of your health and mobility.
A Tax Professional Can Help Determine if Your Chair Lift Is Tax Deductible
You may want to consult with a tax professional to determine if a chair lift is tax deductible in your case. According to Intuit/TurboTax, the cost of a home improvement that increases the value of your home can be deducted as a medical expense. But the amount you can deduct will be reduced by the property value increase from the installation.
2019 Changes to Medicare Advantage May Help Pay for a Chair Lift
Traditional Medicare does not pay for a chair lift, and for now, neither do Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. But according to the nonprofit website PayingFor SeniorCare.com, help may be on the horizon. From their website:
“In April of 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released good news when it comes to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. Starting in 2019, MA plans can include supplemental healthcare benefits. This is in addition to the already available supplemental benefits, such as vision, dental, and hearing. Previous to this new ruling, services and items that were primary intended for “daily maintenance” were not allowable benefits.
That said, while CMS does not clearly define the term “healthcare benefits”, items and / or services must be medically necessary for the senior in question and advised by a licensed healthcare professional. An item that assists with a functional need due to an injury or health issue, or reduces probable need for emergency care, may fit the bill for an allowable supplemental healthcare benefit. Therefore, it is our interpretation that some 2019 Medicare Advantage plans will pay for stair lifts. More clarity will be gained as the new MA plans roll out.”
Bottom Line: A Chair Lift is Tax Deductible
So for now, a chair lift is tax deductible. But that’s only if your doctor deems it medically necessary. It will be interesting to see whether any of the new Medicare Advantage plans that roll out later this year will include coverage for stair lifts. That could help a lot of seniors stay in their homes much longer, and prevent thousands of falls.