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What is Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF)?

Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation is a statewide non-profit organization. We help people with disabilities and older adults get assistive technology. PATF provides information and assistance about funding resources, financial education, and low-interest loans to purchase assistive technology devices and services.


What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology is any device that helps a person with a disability or older adult have a more independent and productive life.

Examples include hand-controls, lowered floors, and other adaptations for cars and vans; ramps, grab bars, widened doorways, and other modifications for homes; hearing and vision aids; scooters; lift chairs; stair glides; smart home technology; tablets and computers with special software and/or hardware; and adaptive sports equipment.

NOTE: PATF does not reimburse or refinance items or services that have already been purchased.


What is an assistive technology service?

An assistive technology service is any service that helps a person select, install, and/or learn to use an assistive technology device.


Why should I consider a PATF loan for my assistive technology device/service?

PATF is much more than a loan program. Our knowledgeable, caring staff will help you identify possible funding resources for your assistive technology and provide assistance and advocacy as you navigate those resources. We work with each loan applicant to understand your full financial situation and develop manageable repayment terms. Our loans do not have any fees and our interest rates are typically lower than those available from a bank or credit union. Our loan eligibility guidelines are more flexible than those of a traditional lender: as long as the applicant can demonstrate the ability and willingness to repay the loan, we can accept lower credit scores (including no credit) and higher debt-to-income ratios than a typical bank or credit union. And, with each on-time repayment of your loan, you can build good credit. Good credit is important for securing a job, an apartment, a mortgage, financing for a car, and other loans with low interest rates.


Who is eligible for a PATF loan?

PATF helps people of all disabilities and health conditions, all income levels, and all ages. Any Pennsylvanian with a disability or older person who needs assistive technology is eligible to apply for a loan. Family members, advocates, guardians, and authorized representatives may apply on behalf of children or other individuals with a disability if the device or service is for the use of the person with a disability. The applicant(s) must be age 18 or older.


What is the interest rate on PATF loans?

The interest rate offered by PATF is typically lower than rates offered by a bank or credit union.
PATF has two loan programs:
Mini-Loan Pilot Program (2021): The interest rate for loans between $100 and $7,000 is 0%. (Previously the Mini-Loan maximum was $2,000. In response to the pandemic, we are introducing a one-year pilot program beginning January 18, 2021 that increases this maximum to $7,000.)
Low-Interest Loan Program: The interest rate for loans above $7,000 is 3.75%.
(PATF can extend a non-guaranteed Low-Interest Loan up to $60,000. However, if the loan requires a guarantee – see below – PATF can extend a Low-Interest Loan only up to $35,000.)


If I already have a PATF Low-Interest Loan for an amount that falls within the new Mini-Loan Pilot Program (between $2,000 and $7,000), can I convert my Low-Interest Loan to a 0%-interest Mini-Loan?

No. You cannot convert, refinance, or change your loan terms after your loan has been booked.


If I have a PATF loan (either Low-Interest or Mini) can I apply for a second loan (either Low-Interest or Mini)?

No. You must pay off your current PATF loan before you can apply for another PATF loan.


If I receive a loan for more than $7,000, will the first $7,000 have an interest rate of 0% and the remainder have an interest rate of 3.75%?

No. If your loan is for an amount above $7,000, the entire loan will be processed as a Low-Interest Loan at an interest rate of 3.75%.


How does PATF make decisions about my application? And what is a “loan guarantee”?

When PATF receives a new application with supporting documents, we will first review it to make sure it is complete.

For Low-Interest Loans (3.75% interest), the application will then be processed by one of our partner banks. If the bank is confident that you can repay the loan, your application will typically be approved within a week and the loan documents will be sent to you within several days of approval.

If the bank is concerned about your ability to repay the loan, it will ask PATF to guarantee your loan, which will take longer. When the bank requests a guarantee, PATF’s Board of Directors review your application. The decision to extend a guaranteed loan is based on several factors including credit history, debt-to-income ratio, and how the requested device or service is assistive technology. If the Board of Directors approves the guarantee, you will receive the loan.

For Mini-Loans (0% interest), the loan application is reviewed and processed by PATF’s staff committee. If the committee is confident you can repay the loan, your application will typically be approved within a day or two and closing documents will be prepared for your signature.

If the staff committee has concerns about your ability to repay the Mini-Loan, more time will be needed for PATF’s Board of Directors to review the loan request and make a decision. The same criteria is used as mentioned above for guaranteed loans.


How long do I have to submit all my supporting documents after sending in my application?

You have 30 days from when we receive your loan application to submit all of the required supporting documents. We cannot consider your application complete until we have received all necessary supporting documents (see the list of required supporting documents on the cover page of our loan application, or visit https://patf.us/apply-for-a-loan/).


How long will it take to process my loan?

A decision will typically be made within one week of receiving all supporting documents and a full and complete application. If a guarantee is required, it will take additional time for a decision.


If approved, how will I get the loan closing documents and the money?

The loan closing documents will be mailed to you for your notarized signature. Docu-Sign may also be offered as an option to sign electronically. Typically, you will receive the loan check within a week after your signed and notarized documents are returned. The check will be issued for the amount of the loan.


How much can I borrow? Can I get pre-approved for a loan before I have a quote?

We cannot pre-approve an applicant for a loan – you must submit a quote from your chosen vendor for the device or service you plan to purchase for us to process your application. You can apply for a loan for any amount up to the total cost of the assistive technology device/service you plan to purchase. PATF’s Mini-Loans are available up to $7,000. PATF’s Low-Interest Loans are available up to $35,000 for loans that require a guarantee, and up to $60,000 for loans that do not.


How much time will I have to pay off a loan?

Repayment terms are based on the expected useful life of the assistive technology device. For example, loans for most computers and related devices have a two-year term, while larger loans for home modifications must be repaid within a maximum term of ten years. For most other types of assistive technology, a three to seven-year repayment schedule is typical.


What if I need a loan for an adapted vehicle?

Loans can be made for the purchase of a new or pre-owned vehicle that has been modified for use by a person with a disability. Pre-owned vehicles can be no older than five years and must have fewer than 50,000 miles. The loan term for pre-owned vehicles can be extended six years.

The loan term for new vehicles can be extended seven years. PATF does not consider car maintenance an assistive technology service.

Mini-Loans cannot be made for the purchase of a new or pre-owned vehicle. Mini-Loans can be used for modifications to a vehicle. Please contact our office with specific questions regarding adapted vehicles.


Do you report my loan repayments to all three credit bureaus?

Yes, we report every loan repayment to the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.


What happens if I have trouble repaying my loan?

PATF wants to help you maintain good credit while you repay your loan. If you have unexpected financial difficulties because of a sudden illness, job loss, or other hardship, contact PATF staff to discuss your options as soon as you are able.


What happens if I default (do not repay my loan)?

If you default (do not repay your loan) it will have a negative effect on your credit. Your non-payment will be listed on your credit report for at least seven years and will make it difficult for you to qualify for other loans. In addition, your loan may be sent to a collection agency.


Do you offer grants?

We do not offer grants only. When funds are available, all Mini-Loan applications are reviewed for eligibility for a partial Mini-Grant to lower the cost of the Mini-Loan. Mini-Loan applicants will be notified if they qualify.


How secure is my information?

Your privacy matters to us and maintaining your trust is one of our highest priorities. Confidentiality and security of your sensitive personal information is of paramount importance. PATF follows procedural safeguards in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations to guard your personal information from unauthorized access, alteration, and destruction. We restrict access to your personal information to those employees and other parties who must use the information to provide services to you.


How do I get an application or more information?

Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation is here to help you get the assistive technology devices and services you want. Contact us for help with questions about our loan programs and help identifying other possible funding resources. Our loan application is available and accessible on our website, or you may contact us to receive a paper copy by mail (also available in large print and braille). Reach us at our toll free number 888-744-1938, by email at patf@patf.us , or on our website www.patf.us. Find us on social media @PennsylvaniaATF.