Loan Program Helps Montanans with Disabilities Afford Assistive Technology
June 16, 2021
Montanans with disabilities often face barriers to accessing the assistive technology that will help them live their best lives. From screen readers to wheelchair-accessible vehicles, these technologies are expensive and often not covered by insurance. When that is the case, the Montana Assistive Technology Loan program is there to help.
The Montana Assistive Technology Loan program (MATL) offers no-interest and low-interest loans to help Montanans buy assistive technology (AT). This technology includes aids for daily living like easy to grip silverware, walkers, and wheelchairs; home and vehicle modifications like wheelchair ramps and lifts; hearing and vision aids like screen readers and hearing aids; and medical equipment like hospital beds and CPAP devices. The loan program also covers devices unique to Montanans' way of life, including farm machinery adaptations and adaptive skis, cycles, boats, and gun mounts so Montanans with disabilities can continue to work and recreate in the beauty of Montana's great outdoors.
According to the World Health Organization, about one billion people globally would benefit from assistive technology, an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities. Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. Despite the great need for this technology and the benefits it brings to people, only 1 in 10 disabled people has access to this life-changing technology.
When insurance or Medicare won't cover the cost of AT and traditional financial institutions deny loans, MATL is there for Montanans, providing loans from $500 to $50,000. In partnership with Rural Dynamics, MATL provides a financial wellness program to build or repair credit, even helping one borrower reduce their debt, increase their credit score by 72 points, and find an accessible van for $20,000, a more affordable option than the $50,000 he had originally expected to pay for modifications.
If you or anyone you know would benefit from the assistive technology loan program, you can find out more on the MATL website at https://matl.ruraldynamics.org/.