By Brenda Henige, Michigan Assistive Technology Loan Fund (MATLF) Coordinator, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Michigan staff
Are you a Michigan resident with a disability or a senior with age-related functional limitations? Or are you a parent or guardian of someone with a disability? Or a family member or friend? Very often, people who have disabilities greatly benefit if they can use assistive technology, or AT, which is any item, equipment, or device that enables a person with a disability to improve individual independence and quality of life.
The cost of these items ranges from less than $100 to thousands of dollars, so you may or may not have the funds to make such a purchase. In addition, many people need multiple types of AT to more easily navigate through their daily lives, including the areas of employment, education, housing, transportation, and recreation. And although there are various grant funding opportunities and other programs that assist in making such purchases, people often must come up with their own funds to obtain needed items. So, you may be interested in the Michigan Assistive Technology Loan Fund (MATLF), which provides loans for assistive technology to the above mentioned individuals.
Besides assistive technology, a loan can be used to cover warranties, service agreements, and the cost of training to use the purchased equipment. A single loan may be used to purchase more than one AT item. Repayment terms are based on the expected useful life of the assistive technology device and on the borrower’s ability to make the monthly loan payments, and are as long as possible, up to a maximum of seven years, in order to give the applicant the lowest monthly payment possible.
Examples of items that Michigan residents have taken out loans to purchase are modified vehicles, accessible home modifications, telecommunication equipment, environmental control units, computer-related devices, hearing aids, wheelchairs, talking and Braille items, and modified recreational equipment…there are so many possible types of AT…that they cannot all be listed here. The potential borrower must have enough money in his or her monthly budget to repay a loan, be creditworthy, and have a reasonable debt to income ratio.
To learn more about the loan program, visit The UCP Michigan website and click on the link, Assistive Technology. You may also review MATP’s Funding Strategy for other possible options for obtaining assistive technology. Local application sites may be contacted throughout the state, or contact me at 1-800-828-2714, Ext. 303 for further details about the MATLFTweet