One of the leading obstacles in obtaining assistive technology is finding the money to pay for it. There are a wide variety of public and private entities that can assist with the purchase of equipment, but because the field of assistive technology is always changing, policies and procedures for its funding are constantly changing. It is difficult, not only to identify the appropriate resources, but also to find the most direct route to successful funding for these devices.
The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Inc. (FAAST) was developed to make assistive technology and related services more easily accessible to all Floridians with disabilities.
As a direct lender, FAAST makes loans to qualified individuals with disabilities and their families for assistive technology devices and services. FAAST also offers a telework and self-employment loan, which can assist with the funding of assistive technology and equipment for individuals who have disabilities for work or seeking self-employment opportunities. FAAST works with individuals who have low credit scores and fixed income.
#FAASTFact: In 2020, 53 borrowers obtained financial loans totaling $456,230 to buy 56 devices. The vast majority (89%) of recipients indicated that if the state financing activity they used was not available they would not have been able to purchase/obtain the AT due to cost or availability, potentially resulting in individuals who are unable to successfully work, learn or live in the community.
The FAAST New Horizon Loan Program is an alternative financing program. The program offers consumers the opportunity to apply for a financial loan with the proceeds used for assistive technology. Assistive Technology is often expensive or financially out of reach without assistance and many times the device that a consumer needs or wants is not a part of a medical benefit plan. The New Horizon Loan Program uses preferred interest rates and credit criteria more flexible than a typical bank loan to help more individuals gain access to the technology they need for more independent daily living. Applications or more information is on the website or call the state
headquarters – 850-487-3278, ext 104.
#FAASTFact: In 2020, FAAST reached the milestone of funding over $1 MILLION in funded loans since the program began in June 2015.
What type of devices can I finance?
You can finance any type of assistive technology, including modified vehicles, accessible home modifications, and technology needed for employment.
What is the difference between a device loan and the New Horizon Loan Program?
The device loan program is a service that allows you to borrow a device for a short period to help decide if this is the right device for you, while waiting for funding or repair, and to help you increase your knowledge of AT. The New Horizon Loan Program is a financial loan program with flexible terms and lower interest rates that provide funding to purchase AT.
Are there credit and debt-to-income requirements?
Our program, while more flexible than traditional bank loans, still has some credit and debt-to-income limitations. The target guidelines are a credit score of 600, and a maximum debt-to-income is 50%; however, the entire credit history is reviewed, and FAAST works with each borrower to understand reasons and causes of scores that might not fit into these guidelines.
I’m on a fixed income. Can I receive a loan?
Our program does not have income requirements and has been able to benefit individuals on a fixed income. The debt to income ratio will analyze your income amount compared to your housing and debt payments to determine if you meet the underwriting criteria guidelines.
What is the maximum amount I can finance?
The maximum loan amount for most secured loans is $25,000 and up to $40,000 for vehicle purchases based on additional underwriting criteria. For unsecured loans, there are also additional underwriting criteria for loans over $12,000.
Do I qualify for a loan?
We evaluate each client’s ability to pay back a loan in manageable monthly payments. We review your credit, debt to income and analyze other criteria to make a loan decision. Any Florida resident who is an individual with a disability (or your family member, friend, or caregiver who is a Florida resident) may apply for a loan for consideration of approval.
How long does the process take?
Every application and situation is different; however, it is reasonable to expect a loan decision to be made within 10 days – 2 weeks from the application date.
What is my monthly payment?
We try to work with our applicants to find manageable monthly payments. The monthly payments vary from client to client and are based on the amount financed, interest rate, and term length.
How long are the loan terms?
Loan terms may be as long as 60 months depending on the loan amount, type of AT, and payments need of the borrower. For most vehicle loans, the term can be extended out to 84 months.
What are the interest rates?
FAAST’s goal is to provide competitive and in most cases, lower, interest rates than a traditional bank would offer for similar loans. FAAST keeps the rates as low as possible to help borrowers avoid predatory lenders and keep monthly payments and terms within the borrower’s capacity.
How Can You Get Services From FAAST? Contact the Regional Demonstration Center that services your county. That’s it… No formal referral is necessary. Anyone may utilize services. Services provided at no cost.