The Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program:
Independence is Priceless: We help make it more affordable.
What is the Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program?
The MA AT Loan Program, operated by Easter Seals Massachusetts, provides low-interest loans to Massachusetts residents with disabilities and their families. This program helps people better afford the devices and services they need to increase their independence.
What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology is any device that helps an older person or a person with a disability live more independently. These devices include electric wheelchairs, modified vehicles, grab bars for the home, hearing aids, adapted computer equipment, vision aids and ramps, to name a few.
Who is eligible for the program?
Any Massachusetts resident who has a disability or is an elder and needs assistive technology is eligible for the program. Family members or friends may apply on behalf of someone else (including underage children), as long as the requested device is for use by the elder or person with a disability.
How much can I borrow?
Most loans are between $500 and $25,000. Under some circumstances, even larger amounts can be borrowed. Your ability to repay the loan amount will be a factor in how much you can borrow.
What is the interest rate on these loans?
The interest rate is lower than you would get at any bank. Rates change from time to time, so you should ask for the current rate when you decide to apply through the program.
How much time will I have to repay the loan?
Repayment terms usually are decided by the bank and are based on the expected life of the device being purchased. Most computer purchases are repaid over three years, while some home modifications can be repaid over 10 years. Ask about the expected repayment length at the time of your application.
How do you decide if I get a loan?
The MA AT Loan program does not make the final decision whether to make the loan. Once you fill out the application, we will go over it to make sure it is complete and will send it to our partner bank for financial review and a credit check.
If the bank approves your application, you will hear directly from the bank — the same as if you were applying for any kind of loan. This could take about a week.
However, if the bank is concerned about your ability to repay the requested loan, it will send the application back to the MA AT Loan Program for a loan guarantee. The loan guarantee is a promise by the program to pay off the loan if you default.
If a guarantee is requested, our Loan Review Committee will review your application and credit history. The committee members will discuss your credit problems as well as the total amount of the requested loan and decide whether to provide a guarantee. If the committee decides to provide a guarantee, you will be given the loan through the bank.
Remember — the committee reviews all information in a completely confidential manner. This means that your name is never presented to the committee, only your background information.
How long before I will hear a decision?
If the bank does not request a guarantee, you should know whether you will get a loan within a week of submitting your application. If a guarantee is requested, it may take up to four to six weeks until you hear the decision.
What happens if I have trouble paying back the loan?
You can always contact the MA AT Loan Program if you start having trouble paying back your loan. We can refer you to credit counseling services to help you create a repayment plan that not only protects your credit, but also pays back the money you owe.
What if I just don’t pay back the loan?
If you default on your loan, it will have a negative impact on your credit rating. This means you most likely would not qualify for any other loans for up to seven years. In addition, you may lose the device you purchased or have your case sent to a collection agency.
How do I get an application or more information?
You can apply to the program in several different ways. You can call us directly at Easter Seals Massachusetts toll free at 800-244-2756 ext. 428 or 431 (voice) or 800-564-9700 (tty). Our e-mail address is MassATLoan@eastersealsma.org.
You also can contact any of our access sites across the state, which can assist you with the application process or answer your questions.
To download an application form, click here.
A low-vision form of the application can be downloaded by clicking here.