As Vernon saw it, a Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) loan was the clear choice to pay for his new hearing aids, with a low interest rate, no fees, and affordable monthly payments. But sometimes finding the right funding isn’t so straightforward.
In 2018, when Vernon’s hearing had declined enough that he was missing large chunks of conversation due to background noise at work and at home, he knew he needed new hearing aids. Vernon has worked in upper management for York Water Company for 21 years. After speaking with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Vernon was referred to PATF. He found the PATF interest rate was significantly lower than that of a traditional consumer loan and it was cheaper than charging the hearing aids on his credit card. He also described the monthly payments as very manageable. In Vernon’s case, with few other funding options for hearing aids, a low-interest loan made the most sense. Now, Vernon is grateful to have his hearing aids, and says that they have significantly improved his quality of life and made a drastic difference for him both at work and in his personal relationships.
But finding funding is not always so simple. In fact, one of the leading obstacles for many people in obtaining assistive technology (AT) is finding the money to pay for it. And, there are many factors to take into account when developing a funding solution. A person’s diagnosis, age, whether or not they are a student, where they live, whether or not they work, their financial situation, and their wants and needs all come into play when determining what funding options are available.
While PATF provides loans for the purchase of AT to Pennsylvanians of all ages, all income levels, and all disabilities and health conditions, we also provide free information and assistance services with the goal of helping people navigate the complex process of finding funding. Our recent publication, Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania, includes the information we cover most frequently with callers. Chapters include topics such as what is assistive technology, tips and considerations when choosing your AT, how to develop a funding strategy, a list of funding resources, specifics on how to access AT through waivers including Community HealthChoices, and how to save safely for assistive technology using an ABLE account and a Special Needs Trust.
“This comprehensive guide is an easy-to-use resource for Pennsylvanians with disabilities, seniors, their families, service providers, and legislators. It empowers Pennsylvanians with the knowledge to gain access to devices and services that make independence and autonomy possible,” says Nancy Murray, President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA and incoming Board President at PATF.