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 is no age requirement or income limits. However, one must be a resident of Pennsylvania.
The program considers the following:
- Credit history
- Debt-to-income ratio
- Ability to repay the loan
- The needed technology device or service and its purpose
Eligibility for grants is more restrictive. The candidate’s income is considered, and applicants must have income under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In 2023, that equates to a maximum of $2,430 a month in income for an individual.
Grants are only available to individuals who are also receiving a loan. The grant cannot exceed 50% of the loan.
Benefits and Services
Through the PATF loan program, two types of loans are available:
Mini-Loans allow eligible applicants to borrow between $100 and $7,000 at 0% interest. This loan requires a monthly payment of at least $20, with a maximum of 4 years to pay off the loan.
With a Mini-Loan, it is possible to receive a one-time partial grant of up to $1,000. However, the grant cannot exceed 50% of the amount of the loan. And the individual must have first exhausted all other financial options and have income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to receive a grant.
Low-Interest Loans are available for amounts over $7,000, 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.
Assistive Technology & Home Modifications
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:
- Wheelchair or motorized scooter
- Mobility and daily living aids – walker, hearing aids, etc.
- Home modifications – stair lift, lift chair, wheelchair ramp, walk-in bathtub, roll in showers, lowered counter tops, widening of doorways, etc.
- Vehicle modifications – hand controls, ramp, etc.
- Personal emergency response system – LifeAlert, Medical Guardian, etc.
- Automatic lighting / Door openers
Make note, these loans cannot be used to reimburse oneself for an assisted device that has already been purchased.
How to Apply / Learn More
The PATF loan program is available throughout the state of Pennsylvania. It is not required that the individual needing the assistive technology apply him- 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.
One can learn more about PATF here.