Saturday, July 31, 2021

Play

Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.

Play

Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

Loan Program Helps Montanans with Disabilities Afford Assistive Tech

Play

Friday, April 30, 2021   

HELENA, Mont. - People with disabilities face a number of barriers to getting the equipment they need in daily life. A program in Montana is helping change that.

The Montana Assistive Technology Loan program offers low- and no-interest loans for devices like hearing aids, screen-readers and even wheelchair-accessible vehicles, which usually aren't covered by private insurance or Medicare and can be costly.

Julie Williams, outreach coordinator for the program, said assistive technology is vital to people's lives.

"It can span a variety of different types of technology," said Williams. "But all of them are allowing people to live their best life, to be participating in society in ways that they might not otherwise be able to do."

The program is a partnership between the financial nonprofit Rural Dynamics and the Rural Institute at the University of Montana's assistive technology program MonTECH. It was able to expand through a federal grant last fall.

According to World Health Organization, about one billion people globally would benefit from assistive technology, but only about one in ten has access.

Ann-Margaret Periman, the disability resource coordinator for Rural Dynamics, said people with disabilities often have a hard time getting loans from traditional banks for these types of technologies.

"People feel stuck in the fact that some of this equipment and some of their needs are very expensive, and they don't have any means of getting that," said Periman. "Usually people are on Social Security, Social Security Disability, and their income is limited."

Williams said Rural Dynamics also has a financial wellness program.

One quadriplegic client applied for a $50,000 loan for a wheelchair-accessible van, but was denied. Over the course of a year, Williams said the organization helped the client get his finances in order to get a loan approved.

"We also helped him cut in half the amount of loan that he needed to take out to get the vehicle that met his needs," said Williams.

She said the program helped him find a van in the $20,000 range.


get more stories like this via email
In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


Environment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …


Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021