Icon of a person using a wheelchair in action Assistive Technology

Funding Your AT

How Can You Get the AT You Need?

It can be a very confusing and difficult task figuring out who can help you pay for the assistive technology you need. Sometimes the cost is covered through your health insurance policy, or by a governmental agency, or by a non-profit organization. Other times, you may have to pay, in part or in full, for the device yourself.

Your ability to receive grant money from a funding source may depend on a number of factors, including your type of disability, your age, when you acquired your disability, your income, where you live, the type of insurance you have, the AT device you need and the threshold guidelines of a particular program.

Here are some examples:

  • Health insurance (including Medical Assistance and Medicare) pays for Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Examples include hospital beds, wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, and Hoyer lifts.  
  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has developed Home and Community-Based Services waiver programs, called “waivers” for short, that include services that may pay for home modifications (accessibility modifications) such as ramps, stair glides, roll-in showers; vehicle adaptations, such as ramps, lowered floors, tie-downs and hand controls; environmental controls, such as switches for lights and automatic door openers; and, software and applications for computers and tablet technology. 
  • Schools will pay for adapted equipment if it’s necessary for the education of a student with a disability. To be eligible for payment, the equipment must be included in the student’s Individual Education Program (IEP).  
  • The Commonwealth’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) may pay for AT devices that help a person with a disability get or keep a job.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides benefits, including hearing aids and home modifications, to veterans.
  • Some non-profit organizations, including United Cerebral Palsy Association or the Multiple Sclerosis Society, may have small grant programs for people who have the type of disability their organization supports.

Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF)

If you’re unsure of your funding options, or if you learn you’re not eligible for any government funding, or if you just want to pay for the device(s) yourself without any hassle, try Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF). PATF is a statewide, non-profit organization that provides no-interest and low-interest loans to buy AT. PATF staff also provides information about other possible funding resources so that your loan is as small as possible. Many PATF borrowers would not qualify for loans from traditional banks or credit unions. PATF serves Pennsylvanians of all ages, all income levels, and all disabilities and health conditions.

PATF has two loan programs:

  • A Mini-Loan program for loans from $100 to $7,000 at 0% interest ($20/month minimum repayment). 
  • A Low-Interest Loan program (currently 3.75%) for loans between $7,001 to $60,000 with extended repayment terms. If you have poor credit, but are able to repay a loan, PATF may be able to guarantee your loan for up to $35,000.

There is no other program like PATF in Pennsylvania! For more information, call 888‑744‑1938; or go to the website, www.patf.us

Helpful Tip!

Taking out a PATF Mini-Loan is a great way to build credit! Every month, PATF reports repayments to the credit bureaus so that your FICO scores will increase when you pay your loan on time.

A Guide to Funding for AT

Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) published Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania. This guide covers a variety of topics in detail, with chapters that include:

  • What Is Assistive Technology?
  • Choosing My Assistive Technology
  • Developing a Successful Funding Strategy
  • Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Programs (including Community HealthChoices)
  • A Public and Private Funding Resource List
  • Saving for Assistive Technology: ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts

Download the funding guide or call 888-744-1938 to request a copy.