The Massachusetts Alternative Finance Program improves the independence and quality of life of residents with disabilities through loan opportunities for acquiring assistive technology devices and services. Individuals with disabilities and family members are encouraged to apply.
What is the Massachusetts Alternative Finance Program?
Assistive technology is any device that helps a 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, etc.
What is assistive technology?
Any Massachusetts resident who has a disability or a family member who is acting on behalf of a person with a disability is eligible for the program.
Who is eligible for the program?
How much can I borrow?
Loans can range up to $60,000. 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.
How much time will I have to repay the loan?
Repayment terms are based on the expected life of the device being purchased. Most computer purchases are repaid over three years, while vehicle modification loans can be repaid over 6, 7, or 8 years. Ask about the expected repayment length at the time of your application.
The decision process is slightly different for each Massachusetts Alternative Finance Loan Program.
For the Financial Loan Program, loan approval is decided by our lending partner, Santander Bank. If approved, one of our Alternative Finance Program staff will contact you regarding the next steps of the loan process.
For the Mini-Loan Program, loan approval is decided by the Alternative Finance Program staff. If approved, one of our Alternative Finance Program staff will contact you regarding the next steps of the loan process.
For the Long Term Device Loan Program, loan approval is decided by the Alternative Finance Program staff. If approved, one of our Alternative Finance Program staff will contact you to confirm your mailing address and ship the device directly to you.
How do you decide if I get a loan?
How long before I will hear a decision?
Assuming the application is complete, decisions on loans take 3 to 5 business days.
You can always contact the Massachusetts Alternative Finance 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 happens if I have trouble paying 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.
What if I just don’t pay back the loan?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Our fax number is 508.751.6444.
You also can contact any of our access site across the state, which can assist you with the application process or answer your questions.
How do I get an application or more information?
Does the website have any ADA accessibility features?
Yes, you will notice a blue circular wheelchair icon located at the top right corner of the website. Once clicked, you will be greeted with a variety of accessibility features. These features include font size changers, high contrast options, page readers, etc.
Access Sites are our community partners who assist with the completion of your application and help market our program.
What are access sites?
Long Term Device Loan
Is there any technical or set-up support for devices received in this program?
No. Unfortunately, there is no installation, set-up, or technical support provided for any devices or equipment received through the Long-Term Device Loan Program.
Where will the device be mailed?
The applicant or person acting on behalf of the applicant must provide a safe mailing address to ship the device. If a safe shipping address is the applicant’s home, the device will be mailed to that address. If the shipment is not received due to an improperly provided mailing address or if the device is lost due to theft, another device will not be mailed to the applicant.
What if I don’t like the device. Can I return it?
No. There are no returns for devices that don’t meet the applicant’s needs. Only devices with manufacturer’s defects will be accepted as a return. Ideally, the applicant will have used the requested device in the past. If not, the device or equipment must be recommended by a medical professional, social worker, case manager, or other professional assisting the applicant. Devices can be loaned out for up to 4 weeks at one of the three Assistive Technology Regional Centers (ATRC) across the state. A link to the ATRC website can be found here.
How do I know if I am approved for the Long-Term Device Loan program?
An Alternative Finance Program staff member will call you or send you a letter of approval or denial.
How often can I apply for the Long-Term Device Loan Program?
If an applicant is approved for a device, the applicant must wait an additional 12 months from the approval date before reapplying for the program.
If approved for the program, how long does it take to receive a device?
The timing to receive a device depends on the vendor. It could take up to 14 business days before receiving a device.
Do I own the device?
No. Easterseals of MA purchases and owns the device. The device is on loan to you.
Can I use a co-signer?
Yes. Sometimes using a co-signer will improve your chances of being approved for a loan. If using a co-signer, please complete all sections available for a co-signer.
Most assistive technology devices/services are covered under the financial loan program. Some exceptions do apply. For example, home modifications that require permanent structural changes/alterations are not covered under this program.
What types of devices and/or assistive technology is covered under the financial loan program?
Loan terms vary based on the device. It’s best to contact the Alternative Finance Program staff for the loan terms to specific devices.
What are the loan terms for the program? How long will it take to pay back a loan?
The current interest rate for the Financial Loan Program is 3.75%. This interest rate may change so contact the Alternative Finance Program staff for interest rate confirmation.
What is the interest rate for the Financial Loan Program?
After receiving the completed financial loan application, the typical time to receive an answer is 3 to 5 business days. If the application is denied, it could take up to 30 days for the Review Committee to determine eligibility.
How long does the loan process take?
What is the Review Committee?
If a loan is denied by our lending partner, the Massachusetts Alternative Finance Program Review Committee will review the application to determine if the loan is to be approved as a guaranteed loan.
What is the assistive technology Mini Loan Program?
The assistive technology Mini Loan Program is a new loan program offered by Easterseals – Massachusetts for MA residents with disabilities. The Mini Loan program serves two purposes: 1) it offers 0% interest loans to purchase assistive technology devices from $100 to $2000 and 2) provides an opportunity for applicants to build, rebuild, or repair their credit.
Who is eligible for the Mini Loan program?
If you are a Massachusetts resident with a disability or are acting on behalf of a relative with a disability, you may participate in the program. Applicants from young transition age students (18-22) to older adults/seniors with poor, little, or no credit history are encouraged to participate in the Mini Loan program.
To apply for the Mini Loan program, complete the online application or print the PDF version found on the Massachusetts Alternative Finance Program website at www.massalternativefinance.org. Alternatively, contact the Massachusetts Alternative Finance Program at 1-800-244-2756 ext. 428 or 431 (voice)/1-800-564-9700 (tty) or email@example.com and we’ll mail you an application.
How do I apply for the Mini Loan program?
Do I need good credit to get approved for a Mini Loan?
No. If you have a poor credit history, a low credit score, and/or a higher than average debt to income ratio, you are encouraged to apply for a Mini Loan. Adults and seniors who have been unable to access credit and financing to obtain assistive technology equipment will have a supportive way to do so.
After submitting a Mini Loan application, the application will be reviewed by the Massachusetts Alternative Finance Program staff and contact you with a decision. If you are approved for a loan, you will be guided by the Massachusetts Alternative Finance Program staff with specific instructions regarding the next steps to complete the loan process. If you are not approved, you may reapply at a later date once your specific situation has changed or improved.
How will I know if I am approved for a Mini Loan?
How long does it take to process a Mini Loan?
Each Mini Loan application is unique and the process will vary for each application. Generally speaking, a Mini Loan will be processed within 2-4 weeks of the application date.
Is the Mini Loan interest rate really 0% or is this just a promotional period rate?
The Mini Loan interest of 0% is a fixed rate for the life of the loan. There is no “promotional period” or prepayment penalty. No matter what the term length is for the loan, the interest rate will not change.