For those who don’t know, the Federal definition of assistive technology is “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” Through MI-UCP, technology can be provided to address needs in the areas of mobility, communication, learning, transportation, independent living and more.
A powerful example of how Assistive Technology (AT) is advancing is Jack’s Story. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 months, Jack uses Wearable Therapy® from our partner, Axiobionics, on both his arm and foot. Axiobionics noted, “In just 3 months of using the BioSleeve, his right arm-strength improved, the hand is now opened and relaxed, and his arm usage increased from 25% to 50%.”
Michigan Assistive Technology Fund
This fund supports the purchase of needed technology through low interest rates and loan guarantees. It is supported through Michigan’s Assistive Technology Program.
The MATL provides the following services:
Information and Referral to all parties who inquire about loans. The MATL may recommend sources for identifying alternative equipment and funding, refer individuals to other agencies that may assist them to secure assistive technology equipment and services, and offer other related assistance as needed. While the MATL offers information and referral to all potential loan applicants and community partners, it does not require anyone to accept this service.
Application Assistance. The MATL offers assistance with applying for loans. Staff will assist borrowers in applying for alternative financial aid and loans. Financial partners will assist with loan payout and related services or resolving payment problems. Application is an optional service. Applicants may complete the application online at: https://www.msufcu.org/UCPloan.
Applicants are encouraged to contact MATL staff at 517-203-1200 - Option 2 to learn about how to apply.
Or contact: MATLFund@mi-ucp.org
Loan Guarantees. The MATL may guarantee loans for applicants who are declined for loans by participating lenders based on the lenders’ standard underwriting criteria. To be eligible for a loan guarantee, an applicant must demonstrate an ability to repay the loan, must be creditworthy and must meet the MATL criteria.
Michigan Employment Loan Fund
The purpose of this fund is to reduce or eliminate barriers to employment through low-interest loans. Financial loans can be used to buy equipment for self-employment or to work for an employer from home or at a telework center.
MI-UCP works in partnership with Michigan State University Federal Credit Union to provide loans. They are funded through public and private donations and started with grants from the United States Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration.
For information about either of our assistive technology loan funds, or see how you might qualify, please email MI-UCP at MELoanFund@mi-ucp.org
Assistive Technology Resources:
Let’s Close the Divide – Michigan AT Conference
For more than a decade, MI-UCP has hosted an annual, statewide Assistive Technology Conference. The goal of the AT conference is to provide access to current information and resources to families and individuals with disabilities, as well as to related professionals.
Please note, we postponed the MI-UCP AT Conference for 2020 and will reschedule when we can assure a safe and healthy event. For updates, please visit mi-ucp.org/atconference
Or contact: email@example.com
The Elsie S. Bellows Fund was established in 1995 to help increase the independence of people with disabilities through assistive technology (AT). The goal is to provide specific assistive products to low-income people with disabilities.
Examples of eligible assistive technology products through the Bellows Fund can include:
To find out more information about the Bellows Fund through MI-UCP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Michigan Employment Loan Fund FAQs
• Who is eligible to apply?
Michigan residents with disabilities, seniors, and their family members or guardians.
• What can I purchase with a loan through this program?
Allowable equipment includes but is not limited to, hearing aids, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, voice simulation systems, Braille equipment, telecommunications equipment, augmentative communication systems, environmental control units, computers, adapted recreational equipment, accessible home modifications, and modified vehicles. Training to use the equipment can also be included with the loan.
• Where can I find the equipment I need?
Information on AT equipment can be found through the MATP program at Michigan Disability Rights Coalition. Please visit: https://www.copower.org/assistive-tech. One place to look for used equipment: https://atxchange.org
• How much can I borrow?
There is no minimum amount. The maximum is $30,000. Your ability to repay the amount requested will determine the approval of your loan.
• What makes this loan fund special? Why not go to my regular bank?
The amount of money people need to borrow for AT is often less than the minimum amount a bank will loan, and often AT is not a “collateral” item that has an established resale value. This is a lower-interest option than the unsecured loans or credit card purchases that people frequently resort to. A grant held by MI-UCP underwrites these loans.
• What is the interest rate on these loans?
Interest rates are determined by Michigan State University Federal Credit Union and are subject to change. Please contact MI-UCP for current rates. Once your loan is granted, the interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan.
• How much time will I have to pay off the loan?
Repayment terms are based on the expected useful life of the assistive technology device. The maximum loan term is seven years. The MATL committee attempts to balance length of loan to allow for the lowest monthly payment possible using the applicant's monthly budget.
• How can I apply for a loan?
or by contacting one of our local application sites and requesting an application from them.
For more information about Michigan Assistive Technology Loan, please contact MI-UCP at MATLFund@mi-ucp.org