Funding for Assistive Technology for Individuals
Who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Paying for assistive technology can be challenging! Here is a list of common funding options! This list is provided for informational purposes only. Washington Access Fund does not endorse any particular assistive technology device, vendor or manufacturer. Please send updates, suggestions or information about other vision related funding resources to email@example.com.
Low Interest Loans
Washington Access Fund
- Low interest loans for assistive technology and home and vehicle modifications.
- Low interest loans for business equipment for employees and entrepreneurs with disabilities.
- Matched savings accounts (IDAs) for assistive technology and business equipment (allowing you to earn up to $4000 to fund AT for any purpose or business equipment needed for employment and self employment.)
- Closed Circuit TV rentals. firstname.lastname@example.org (206) 328-5116; 1-800-214-8731 Voice; 1-888-808-8942 TTY www.washingtonaccessfund.org.
National Federation of the Blind: NFB provides low interest loans up to $3000 for purchases of assistive technology for individuals with vision loss. The interest rate is 3%. For more information and to request an application, contact Clara Vangerven 410-659-9315 or email@example.com.
Washington Council of the Blind: WCB provides zero interest loans to individuals who have been members in good standing for six months or more. For more information, visit WCB's website at: www.wcbinfo.org. To apply, contact the Washington Access Fund.
American Association of People with Disabilities/Digital Federal Credit Union Access Loans: The American Association of People with Disabilities is partnering with the Federal Digital Credit Union to provide access loans for assistive technology and home and vehicle modifications. Membership in AAPD affordable and automatically entitles you to join the DCU. For more information, check out the AAPD website at: www.aadp.com or Digital Federal Credit Union at: http://www.dcu.org/infodesk/membrshp/eligibil.html.
Grants - General
- Washington Access Fund Matched Savings Accounts (IDAs) - see above...
- Northwest Lions Foundation & Lions Club Chapters: The Northwest Lions Patient Care Program and local Lions Club Chapters work together to fund special equipment and medical procedures for low income individuals with vision and hearing loss. To apply for this program, contact Northwest Lions Foundation at
1-800-847-5786 and ask for the Patient Care Program Coordinator.
Association of Blind Citizens Assistive Technology Fund
: The Association of Blind Citizens Assistive Technology Fund (ATF) provides funding to cover 50% of the retail price of adaptive devices or software. The products covered by this program must retail for a minimum of $200 with a maximum retail price of $6,000. Eligibility is limited to individuals with cash assets of less than $20,000 and family incomes of less than $50,000. Applications must be submitted by June 30th and December 31st for each grant period (two per year) via email. All applications must be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. [Contact Washington Access Fund if you do not have email.]
For Employment &Education
For Vets: Veterans may be eligible for rehabilitation services and equipment depending upon a variety of circumstances. To determine eligibility, contact your local Veterans Administration service provider or the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs American Lake Blind Rehabilitation Center for a referral at: 253-583-1299 or 1-800-329-8387.
- Department of Services for the Blind: Provides rehabilitation technology identified as needed in an Individual Plan for Employment. Rules regarding IPEs can be found at: www.dsb.wa.gov/
- Department of Services for the Blind John Moffitt Awards: Grant funding for AT needed by graduating seniors for education, independent living, or employment post High School. Information & Applications sent out every Spring. Contact DSB at: 1-800-552-7103.
- Pacific Foundation for Blind Children: Formerly named the Washington State School for the Blind Foundation. Technology grants for High School seniors with vision loss to futher their education or enter the work force. Applicants must not have other sources of funding. Applications are available by calling the PFBC at (360) 696-6321, Extension 177 or by downloading them from the website.
- Washington Council of the Blind: WCB provides scholarships to blind and visually impaired students for higher education and related expenses. For more information, visit http://www.wcbinfo.org/
- NFBW: The Washington Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind provides scholarships to recognize outstanding blind scholars who are enrolled in or planning to enroll in post-secondary education. Information about the scholarships is released annually in late Spring. Check the NFB website beginning in April or May [www.nfbw] or email them at: email@example.com.
Work Incentive Options
- Plan to Achieve Self-Support: A PASS plan lets you set aside money from earned income or SSDI for employment, self-employment or educational purposes. For more information about PASS plans, contact the Department of Services of the Blind or a Benefit Planning, Assistance, and Outreach (BPAO) Program. If you live in King County, call Positive Solutions at 206-322-8181. For all other counties, contact Plan to Work toll-free at 1-866-497-9443 or TTY 1-877-846-0775 statewide or in Spokane at 509-444-3087 or TTY 509-777-0776.
- Blind Work Expenses/ Impairment Related Work Expenses: You many deduct expenses needed to engage in employment from your earned income in determining eligibility for, and the amount of SSI (use Blind Work Expense Calculation) and/or SSDI (use Impairment Related Expense Calculation). For more information see the Social Security Red Book or contact a benefits planner: http://www.ssa.gov/redbook/eng/blindrules.htm#2
Tax Credits and Deductions
- Impairment Related Work Expenses: You may deduct the cost or impariment related work expenses incurred in order to earn imcome including assistive technology you need for work or to get to work (as long as it is only incidentally used for personal non-work purposes).
- Medical Expenses: You may deduct the cost of AT as a medical expense if it pertains to the "diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and the costs for treatment affecting any part or function of the body. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, diagnostic devices, and transportation for needed medical care and payments for medical insurance." You can deduct the amount of your medical and dental expenses that is more than 7.5% or your adjusted gross income.
- Earned Income Tax Credits: If you have any earned income or you receive (non-SSDI) disability benefits, you may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit - even if your total earnings fall below the amount that would require you to file a tax return. The EITC is available to households with and without children! A great way to finance assistive technology purchases and other needs! Credits range from $457 (no children) to $5,666 (3+ children). See http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96406,00.html
Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP)
1-800-214-8731 1-866-866-0162 TTY
National Eye Institute: Part of the federal government's National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute conducts & supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, an dthe special health problems and requirement of the blind. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/financialaid.asp
- Information & Referral
- Device Demo’s
- Short Term Loans for Trial Purposes (small administrative fee)
Vision USA: American Optometry Association sponsored service provides basic eye health and vision care services free of charge to uninsured, low-income people and their families. VISION USA was established in 1991 by AOA doctors or optometry who donate their services. http://www.aoa.org/visionusa.xml
Did we miss a resource? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 328-5116.