Page Reviewed / Updated - Apr. 2019
The Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), a non-profit organization, provides supportive assistance to elderly and / or disabled Pennsylvania residents in the form of zero interest loans or very low-interest loans. Through this program, financial assistance in obtaining assistive technology, such as wheelchairs and hearing aids, and making home modifications, such as widening doorways and adding grab bars to improve access are available. Partial grants of up to 50% of the loan amounts are also available via the PATF program, as is financial education.
The eligibility guidelines for this loan program are not very restrictive. In fact, there are no age requirements, no income limitations, nor restrictions on functional ability. However, one must be a resident of Pennsylvania, include a statement as to how the desired assistive technology is indeed, assistive technology, and must have the means to be able to pay back the loan. One's credit history and debt-to-income ratio are also considered.
Eligibility for grants is more restrictive. The candidate’s income is considered, and persons must have income under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The FPL changes annually.
Applicants are not required to own the home in which a modification will be made, but permission may be required from a landlord if significant changes will be made to the property.
Through the PATF loan program, two types of loans are available:
Mini-Loans allow eligible applicants to borrow between $100 and $2,000 at 0% interest. This loan requires a monthly payment of at least $20, with a maximum of 3 years to pay off the loan. With a Mini-Loan, it is possible to receive a grant of up to 50% of the amount of the loan. However, the individual must have exhausted all other financial options and have income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to receive a grant. As of 2019, this amount is equivalent to $24,980 / year or $2,082 / month for a single (widowed, divorced or otherwise unmarried) applicant. For a married couple, this amount is higher at $33,820 / year or $2,818 / month.
Low-Interest Loans are available for amounts over $2,000, with a maximum borrowed amount of $60,000 at an interest rate of 3.75%. The period of time allowed to repay the loan varies, based on how long the assisted device is expected to last. Unfortunately, there are no grants available for this type of loan.
The PATF loan program offers flexibility in deciding what assistive technology the loan should be used for, as well as to what vendor to use. The following are examples of how an elderly individual might choose to spend an approved loan:
Make note, these loans cannot be used to reimburse oneself for an assisted device that has already been purchased.
The PATF loan program is available throughout the state of Pennsylvania. It is not required that the individual needing the assistive technology apply himself or herself. Rather, a family member may apply on behalf of that individual.
To apply for a loan, call the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation at 484-674-0506 or 888-744-1938 for an application, or print one here. One may also apply online here. Some documentation is required with the application, such as two forms of identification, proof of income, and a vendor quote for the desired assistive technology.