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Policies and Procedures for AzLAT

  1. Purpose:
    1. The Arizona Loan Assistance Program (AzLAT) is designed to assist Arizonans with Disabilities to secure the assistive technology they need to become more independent and productive members of the community with an improved quality of life. The Program provides loan guarantees, interest rate subsidies, and fund raising to help people with disabilities and their families qualify for loans to purchase assistive technology. The policies and procedures contained in this document shall establish the guidelines for operating the Program. The AzLAT Oversight Board (Board) duly authorizes these procedures and may update them as necessary.
  2. Program Administration:
    1. The Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP) will administer the AzLAT program. The duties of AzTAP will includes the following:
      1. Print and distribute promotional materials in alternative formats;
      2. Distribute loan applications to various agencies and applicants statewide;
      3. Provide information and referral for Assistive Technology and assessments;
      4. Receive all loan applications;
      5. Maintain and store copies of completed applications;
      6. Transfer original completed application to lending institution(s);
      7. Receive, record, and file lending institutions documents relating to loan disposition;
      8. Prepare all loan applications for board review and consideration;
      9. Monitor individual loans;
      10. Notify lending institution regarding instances of default, and
      11. Assist and facilitate board meetings.

    2. Financial Manager:
      1. An Arizona community focused [501 (C) (3)] philanthropic foundation will serve as the administrator and investment manager of the funds that will facilitate the guarantee and interest-rate subsidy elements of the Program. Under the direction of the financial manager the loan program will be able to:
        1. Solicit, receive, and disburse funding to guarantee and buy down interest;
        2. Minimize the costs of administration;
        3. Benefit from the expertise of professional money management, and
        4. Establish an endowment fund.

      2. The Arizona Community Foundation is the Program’s current fiscal manager.
      3. At its discretion, the Program may include additional financial institutions to act as financial manager.
  3. Composition of Board:
    1. The AzLAT Oversight Board shall consist of nine members. A majority of the Board members shall consist of persons with disabilities, parents or guardians of persons with disabilities. One member shall have a financial background, one member shall be a vendor of assistive technology or a health care provider, one member shall be an AzTAP staff person, and one member shall be either a school or state agency personnel who work in the disability field or anyone who demonstrates a knowledge of disability issues.
    2. The Board will strive to ensure that the membership of the Board is reflective of the diversity of the Arizona disability community. The Board shall elect a Chairperson who shall be a member of the Board. The responsibility of the Chairperson will include preparing the agenda, conducting the meetings, and voting only in instances of a tie vote of the Board members.
    3. Board Meetings: The Board shall hold a meeting on the first (1st) Tuesday of every month to review the Loan Review Committee's recommendations in Executive Session and conduct other business as necessary. A meeting must constitute a quorum of the Board and the Committee. A quorum of the Board and Committee shall be a simple majority of its respective members. Meetings may be held by conference telephone or similar communications equipment by means of which all persons participating in the meeting can effectively communicate with each other. The Director or Chairperson may call additional meetings necessary to transact business of AzLAT. All AzLAT members may submit requests to add agenda items to the AzTAP Director or Chairperson at least twenty-one (21) days in advance of the next planned meeting. AzLAT meetings will set aside time for public comment.
    4. A member of the Board may be removed with the approval of the Board if:
      1. The member misses three (3) consecutive meetings without good cause.
      2. A member may not be removed if he or she is participating in the activities of the Board even though the member missed three (3) consecutive meetings.

    5. Loan Review Committee:
      1. The Board shall form a subcommittee known as the Loan Review Committee (Committee).
        1. The Committee shall comprise of three members of the Board, which will rotate membership from the Board on a quarterly basis.
        2. The Committee may also include a representative from a participating lending institution.
        3. The duties of the Committee will consist of reviewing loan applications that are rejected by the participating lending institutions and making recommendations for approval or disapproval to the Board.

      2. The Committee will meet on the Second (2nd) Tuesday to review loan applications and make recommendations to the Board. The Committee may meet more frequently if extenuating circumstances warrant.
    6. Duties of the Board:
      1. Based upon the recommendations of the review Committee, the Board may approve or deny a loan application. At its discretion, the Board may also request additional information from the consumer. In addition, the Board’s duties shall also comprise of the following:
      2. Establish or amend lending criteria and application process;
      3. Review all applications and exercise discretion for guarantee and interest buy-down eligibility;
      4. Formulate subcommittees;
      5. Develop community outreach initiatives;
      6. Strategic planning; and
      7. Fund raising.

    7. The Board must submit a report to AzTAP.
    8. The Board may amend these policies and procedures upon a majority vote of its members:
    9. Vote on membership;
    10. Vote on approval of minutes;
    11. Vote to designate a member to represent AzLAT at various meetings, gatherings, etc. that may relate to assistive technology or other disability related issues.
    12. Vote to establish sub-committees and their membership as deemed appropriate by AzLAT in consultation and approval of the Director of AzTAP.
    13. Vote on commenting to or responding to individuals or organizations concerns.
    14. A member may abstain from voting on any occasion requiring a vote.

  4. Voting
    1. The method of voting will utilize the following guideline:
    2. A member makes a motion.
    3. Another member seconds the motion.
    4. The Chairperson restates the motion verbatim to the membership.
    5. The members debate or discuss the motion.
    6. The Chairperson calls for a vote and asks for affirmative and negative votes.
    7. Chairperson announces the results of the vote.
    8. All motions and voting results will be reflected in the minutes of the meeting.
    9. Any vote, which requires the expenditure of money, must be with consultation and have the approval of the AzTAP Director.

  5. Records
    1. Minutes of AzLAT Board meetings will be distributed to all members and kept at the AzTAP administration office, Northern Arizona University, and will be available for public record consistant with Arizona and Federal law. Minutes of the Executive Session will not be available for public inspection.
    2. Past minutes of AzLAT meetings shall be distributed to the entire board and approved by simple majority of the Board and shall be reflected in the minutes.

  6. Conflict of Interest
    1. Procedure:
      1. Any Board member who has, or whose relative has, a substantial interest in any contract, sale, purchase or service of the Board shall make known that interest to the Board. Upon disclosure, the Board may vote to recuse the member.

  7. Reimbursement
    1. Expenses
      1. Reimbursement of AzLAT member expenses for doing AzLAT business will be according to Northern Arizona University’s policies and procedures.
  8. Services
    1. AzLAT will provide the following services:
      1. Information and Referral: AzLAT with the assistance of the Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP) will provide information and referral to all parties who inquire about the loan program. The Program may recommend sources for identifying alternative devices and funding, refer individuals to other agencies that may assist them to secure assistive technology devices and services, and offer other related assistance as needed. The Program will not require anyone to accept this service.
      2. Interest Rate Subsidies: When funding permits, the Program may "buy down" interest rates on loans to provide affordable monthly payments for borrowers.
      3. Loan Guarantees: The Program may guarantee loans for applicants who are denied by the Board based on the Board’s 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 Program criteria detailed Section 5.
      4. Consumer Support Services: The Program may offer consumer support services as needed. Pre-loan support services may consist of assisting borrowers to select devices and vendors, apply for alternative financial aid, apply for loans, and purchase assistive technology and related services. Post-loan support services may involve credit counseling or assistance in resolving payment problems. Consumer Support Services is an optional service, but may be strongly suggested for borrowers who fall behind on their loan payments.
    2. Application Process:
      1. Initial Contact: The Program will respond to all requests of persons who inquire about the loan program and offer information and referral (i.e. recommend sources for identifying alternative devices and funding, refer individuals to a list of other agencies that may assist them to secure assistive technology devices and services, and offer other related assistance as needed).
    3. Application: The Program application will include the following information and required attachments:
      1. Applicant's legal name, address, telephone and social security numbers;
      2. Nature of the applicant's disability;
      3. Nature of relationship to the person with a disability who will use the assistive technology;
      4. Description of assistive technology being requested and how it will increase the functions of a disability and improve the independence and/or quality of life of a person with a disability (examples: facilitate employment, education, independent living);
      5. Amount of loan request including costs of device purchase, extended warranty, service agreement, insurance training, maintenance and repair of existing equipment; and assistive technology services (examples: evaluation and training);
      6. Itemized price quotes for all devices and related services to be purchased with the loan;
      7. Home modifications in excess of one thousand dollars ($1000) require submission of two written quotes from licensed contractors who (a) have demonstrated experience providing the type of modification requested, (b) provide a firm, fixed price quote and (c) provide a turnkey service;
      8. Total monthly gross income including earned income and unearned income and a description of income sources;
      9. Total monthly installment payments including rent or mortgage, credit card payments and unsecured loans;
      10. Total assets, including motor vehicles, homes, and other real or personal property that require licensing and title;
      11. Must have a relationship with a financial institution or be willing to establish a relationship with a financial institution;
      12. Signed statement verifying truthfulness and accuracy of all information submitted;
      13. Sign statement-authorizing release of information about the applicant between the Program and participating lender(s).
      14. The lender application will be the lender's standard consumer loan application form.

    4. Application Completion: The Program will offer any needed assistance to complete the application forms. The applicant may receive help from Program staff or may elect to receive consumer support services.
    5. Initial Application Review: Upon receipt of an application, the Program will assign a case number to the application (for reasons of confidentiality) and will perform an initial review to verify that the applicant is seeking a loan for assistive technology for an individual with a disability. At its discretion, if the Board needs additional information to verify the need for and appropriateness of the equipment; it may require evaluation reports, physician's orders, or other documentation.
    6. The Program will transfer the lender application to the participating lender chosen by the applicant. The Board will approve or deny the application, and report the decision to the applicant (in writing or appropriate alternative format) and to the Program. For approved loans, the lender will direct the borrower to the appropriate branch office (or instruct him/her to follow an alternative procedure) to close the loan.
  9. Criteria for Loan Guarantees:
    1. The Program may provide loan guarantees for borrowers who:
      1. Are current Arizona residents;
      2. Have the legal capacity and/or ability to enter into a contractual relationship with the lending institution;
      3. Demonstrate they will use loans to purchase assistive technology for one or more Arizona residents with disabilities;
      4. Are able to repay their loans and demonstrate sufficient credit worthiness; and
      5. Have an existing relationship with a financial institution or be willing to establish a relationship with a financial institution.

    2. The Board will use the following specific standards to determine whether to approve of loan guarantees:
      1. Standard
        1. Borrower who owns or rents his or her own residence and demonstrates that payments have been on time for at least the past year or can demonstrate a stable living environment;
        2. Generally, a borrower who has little discretionary income and is living in government or family subsidized housing should assure that the living arrangements would not change in the near future. Should income increase due to the assistive technology purchase (e.g. the individual will start a job), the Board will generally waive this requirement.
    3. Length of time at residence:
      1. Generally, the applicant should have a minimum of one year's length of stay, unless:
        1. A recent move was necessitated by a job change or promotion, or
        2. The individual's disability necessitated a recent move (examples: need for a more accessible living situation, need for public transportation, lower income required less expensive residence, etc.)
    4. Length of time at present job:
      1. Applicants should generally have a minimum of one year's continuous employment, unless:
        1. Change is related to recent promotion or career advancement, or
        2. Change of employment is related to the disability.
    5. Unemployment:
      1. The Board may consider approving guarantees for unemployed applicants who have the ability to repay loans, are creditworthy, have stable living arrangements and a current relationship with a financial institution.
    6. Gross Income:
      1. The Program has no specific income requirements for a guaranteed loan.
    7. Deposit relationships:
      1. In order to demonstrate stability, the applicant should generally have an existing relationship with a financial institution or be willing to establish a relationship with a financial institution.
    8. Credit History:
      1. Applicants with a questionable credit history will require additional information and verification. The Board will carefully consider credit records and may deny loan guarantees for applicants with unjustified poor credit. Credit history priorities are as follows:
        1. No adverse credit history;
        2. Good credit within the past year. Previous credit problems have been worked out with the creditors, and/or debt load and other expenses have been reduced. Additional documentation may be required;
        3. Poor credit history, including bankruptcy, may be excused if related to the individual's disability, provided the individual has taken appropriate steps to resolve the credit problems (e.g., negotiating repayment schedules with current creditors, reducing debt load and living expenses, securing employment). Certain slow pay situations will also be considered (e.g. over 30 days past due);
        4. Poor credit history is generally unacceptable if not related to the individual's disability;
        5. An applicant who lacks acceptable credit may provide a qualified co-signer.
    9. Debt to income ratio:
      1. The Program will generally consider a 50% debt to income ratio if the borrower can adequately document sufficient cash flow to make loan payments.
      2. Individuals with subsidized living arrangements may qualify for a guaranteed loan even if their debt to income ratio exceeds 50% if they have sufficient income to pay for all living expenses, monthly loan payment, and all other debt.
      3. The Board will consider as income increased Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments secured through SSI work incentives (i.e. Plans for Achieving Self Support (PASS), Blind Work Expenses (BWE)).
      4. The Board may approve loans to individuals who have additional future income, which is readily verifiable.

  10. Criteria for Interest Subsidies:
      1. Maintaining Affordable Monthly Payments. If funding permits, the Board seeks to ensure that borrowers retain 50% discretionary income after all debt payments, including assistive technology loan payments. The Board will consider interest subsidies for borrowers who may have difficulty affording loan payments with out subsidies. The Board seeks to ensure that borrowers retain 50% discretionary income after all debt payments, including assistive technology loan payments.
      2. If an assistive technology loan at the standard interest rate would cause the borrower's discretionary income to fall below 50%, the Board will consider the following options:

    1. Extend the loan term. The Program may consult with the borrower and the lender to lengthen the loan term, provided the term does not exceed the useful life expectancy of the equipment to be purchased.
    2. Provide an interest subsidy. If funding permits, the Board may provide an interest subsidy to enable the borrower to retain more discretionary income. The Board will attempt to provide a subsidy sufficient to keep the loan payment low enough for the borrower to retain 50% discretionary income. The Board will choose the more cost-effective option (i.e. interest buy-down subsidy) after comparing the cost of each.
    3. Limits on Interest Subsidies: The Board will not generally provide an interest subsidy that exceeds the following limits:
      1. Interest Subsidies may not generally exceed the lesser of:
        1. The amount needed to provide an interest rate of 0%
        2. 35% of the principal amount of the loan, or
        3. $3,000

    4. The Board may, at its discretion, approve interest subsidies that exceed these limits if such exceptions are substantially justified and would serve the purposes of the Program.

  11. General Loan Requirements:
    1. Loan Amounts: Loan amounts will be from $500 to $3000 depending on the agreement with the lender. The Board and participating lenders may, at their joint discretion, approve loans that exceed the maximum amount if such exceptions are justified and would serve the purposes of the Program.
    2. Loan Period: Loan periods will be from twelve (12) months to sixty (60) months. The Board and Participating lenders may, at their joint discretion, approve loans that exceed the maximum period if such exceptions are justified and would serve the purposes of the Program. Agreements with participating lenders may specify additional conditions that determine the length of the loan period.
    3. The period of a loan may not exceed the amortization schedule or the useful life expectancy of the equipment to be purchased.
    4. Allowable Devices: The Program will facilitate loans to purchase a broad array of assistive devices, including but not limited to:
      1. Wheelchairs
      2. Motorized Scooters
      3. Braille equipment
      4. Voice simulation systems
      5. Scanners
      6. Assistive listening devices
      7. Telecommunications devices for the deaf
      8. Augmentative Communication Systems
      9. Environmental control units
      10. Computers and adaptive peripherals
      11. Building modifications for accessibility
      12. Vehicle modifications

    5. The list will be annually updated to reflect current trends in technology and shall be sent to participating lenders for informational purposes.
    6. Computers, and building modifications are subject to restrictions.
    7. Computers and similar items are allowed if they meet the following criteria:
      1. The user needs the device specifically because of his/her disability (e.g., a computer needed to perform a job which non-disabled workers do without a computer, a vehicle needed for medical appointments and rehabilitative services);

    8. The Board will consider loans for home modifications on a case-by-case basis. The Program will not support loans for home modifications to rental units except under the following conditions:
      1. A written statement from the landlord/rental property manager that the modifications can be installed in the rental unit.
      2. The term of the loan shall not exceed the term of the rental lease or the remaining term of the rental lease.

    9. Titles and Liens: The assistive technology device will be titled in the name of the qualifying borrower with the Board or its agent as lien holder. If the Program is supplying secondary funding, the Board or its agent will become the holder of a secondary encumbrance.
    10. Insurance: The Board or the participating lender may require a qualifying borrower to insure the equipment for remaining value of the loan. The cost of insurance may be included in the loan (or a second additional loan).
    11. Maintenance and Repairs: The qualifying borrower will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance of the equipment. The loan (or a second additional loan) may be used to finance repairs, maintenance, extended warranties or maintenance agreements.
    12. Joint Check Issuance: The Board will require the participating lender to issue the check jointly to the qualifying borrower and the vendor of the equipment or service.
    13. Deadline for Loan Closures: When the Board approves a loan guarantee and/or interest subsidy, the applicant must close the loan with the participating lender within forty-five (45) calendar days of the date of approval. Applicants who have not closed their loan within the ninety-day period may be required to re-apply to the Program for approval.

  12. Consumer Counseling
    1. The Program may offer optional consumer counseling to all borrowers. The Program may refer consumers to a list of counselors having personal and professional experience in assistive technology or credit. Counselors may assist applicants to select devices and vendors, identify other available resources, complete loan applications, purchase assistive technology, and resolve payment problems for both guaranteed and non-guaranteed loans.
    2. If a borrower has not elected to receive consumer counseling but later fails to make loan payments in a timely fashion, the Board may strongly encourage the borrower to receive consumer counseling to resolve payment problems.
  13. Late Payments and Defaults
    1. Monthly Reports: Each participating lender will provide a monthly report to the Board documenting the following data for all loans approved through the Program, with separate sections for guaranteed and non-guaranteed loans.
    2. Collection Procedures: Each participating lender will follow its normal collection procedures for all delinquent loans. Upon notification (through monthly reports) of any past due loans, the Program will attempt to resolve late payment issues. The Program may contact the borrower directly or, with the borrower's consent, refer a list of consumer counselors to provide assistance.
    3. The Program and/or consumer counselor will attempt to help the borrower resume timely payments. If necessary, the Program may:
      1. Assist the borrower to apply for financial aid from appropriate agencies,
      2. Refer the borrower to Consumer Credit Counseling Service or other financial counseling,
      3. Negotiate with the lender to reschedule payment terms (e.g., add additional payment(s) onto the end of the loan term),
      4. Arrange a refinance to provide lower payments,
      5. Make one or more monthly payments from Program funds to avert default.

    4. Defaults: The Program will purchase from lenders at Par value (principal, interest, fees and other charges due) any guaranteed loan that becomes more than 90 days delinquent. The Program will complete the purchase before the loan becomes 120 days delinquent. Upon purchase, the lender will assign the loan, without recourse, to the Program.
    5. Purchase of the loan by the Program does not relieve the borrower’s liability on the loan.

  14. Grievance Process
    1. An applicant who is aggrieved by a decision of the Board may petition the Board for reconsideration, in writing or in an appropriate alternative format, and provide additional documentation that addresses the state reasons for denial.
    2. The Board will:
      1. Consider the new information;
      2. Provide the applicant an opportunity to be heard;
      3. Inform the applicant of its decision at the meeting or in writing or appropriate alternative format within seven (7) days if the applicant is not present at the meeting; and
      4. The decision of the Board will be final.
  15. Marketing
    1. The Program, the participating lenders, along with other community organizations will actively work together to market the loan Program.
    2. Participation by the Program: Upon request, the Program will offer the following resources to market the loan program, jointly with participating lenders, to the targeted community:
      1. Program staff will be available to make presentations to lenders' staff and to consult with them by telephone regarding the Program.
      2. Program staff will promote the Program to disability agencies and organizations through surveys, presentations, and attendance at conferences, newsletters, press releases and other promotional activities.
      3. The Program will participate in cooperative direct mail marketing to the targeted population.
      4. The Program will enclose a lender's promotional information in application packages sent to prospective applicants who choose that lender.
      5. The Program will add references to participating lenders on the Arizona Technology Assistance Program's web site and will make links to lenders' web sites.

    3. Participation by lenders: Upon request, participating lenders will offer the following resources to market the Program, jointly with the Program, to the targeted community:
      1. Each lender's marketing staff will develop and produce a promotional brochure for joint use by the lender and the Program.
      2. Each lender will proactively communicate and build awareness of the Program in its Arizona branch offices, including stocking of brochures and preparing branch associates to refer interested consumers to the Program.
      3. Each lender will add a reference to the Assistive Technology Guaranteed Loan Program on its web site.
  16. Mediation:
    1. In the event that a dispute arises between a lending institution and the Program, the parties agree to submit the dispute for mediation for resolution. A neutral third party mutually agreeable by the parties shall facilitate the mediation.
  17. Compliance with State and Federal laws:
  18. The Program will comply with all state and federal laws. The Program will not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.

  19. AzLAT Networks
    1. AzLAT Network will be composed of five Centers for Independent Living, five Assistive Technology Regional Resource Centers and the Arizona Center for Disability Law to provide consumer support
      1. The primary responsibilities of the AzLAT Network will be as follows:
        1. Serve as multiple points of contact for AzLAT information/referral
        2. Utilize Consumer support mechanisms such as:
          1. Providing assistance with application completion
          2. Reviewing of funding options with consumer
          3. Provide assistance with advocacy
          4. Train consumers regarding budgeting and money management
          5. Provide assistance with AT device selection and vendor identification
          6. Refer consumers to credit counseling organizations


1700 North Moore Street, Suite 1540
Arlington, VA 22209-1903
Phone: 703/524-6686  Fax: 703/524-6630  TTY: 703/524-6639

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