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Summer 2018

Financial Loans for Assistive Technology

OkAT and Financial Loan Program logoOklahoma ABLE Tech, in partnership with Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation and BancFirst of Stillwater, has been providing financial loans to purchase assistive technology (AT) since 2001. These loans have been primarily managed through our banking partner, BancFirst of Stillwater. Beginning July 1, 2018, we will process all non-collateralized loans directly from our office. We believe this will ultimately make our program more sustainable, and still benefit the consumer in purchasing needed AT. We will be reaching out to our customer’s service providers in the next few months to provide new marketing materials, information fact sheets, and a streamlined application. You can access the application HERE. Instructions on where and how to submit an application are included in the application packet, but if you have any questions or concerns about the process, you can contact us directly at 405-744-4254 or 800-257-1705. If you would like marketing materials to place in your office, please feel free to request those and we will supply you with them.

Learn More graphicWant more Information about the Financial Loan Program?

Contact us to schedule an in-service or orientation to the program! We are available Monday – Friday to provide 1:1 or group information to you and your service organization. If appropriate, it can be in person, remote conference, or webinar style in-service so you can learn everything you need to know and pass along to your consumer, family members, or staff.

Contact Shelley Gladden at 405-744-4254 or shelley.gladden@okstate.edu

Financial Tip:
Charged Off Accounts... if a debt is charged off, am I responsible for paying off the debt?

The answer is YES! This is a common misconception and many people might have questioned this. You are definitely not alone. After all, if it’s charged off, it sure sounds like it went away, right? And it did — just not away from you. When a debt or any asset is charged off, it is taken off a balance sheet. A debt that has been charged off is normally more than 180 days past due. If no payment has been made in that period of time, the accounting rule is that, because it is unlikely it will be paid in the near future, it can’t be carried on the books as a current asset. Therefore, the debt is charged off. But the accounting move by the creditor to charge off the balance due in no way affects your obligation to pay what is owed. In the most basic terms, a debt is owed until it is paid. However, state laws provide a statute of limitations for collecting a debt using the courts. The laws vary, but most states do not allow creditors to sue in court to collect on an open-ended account, such as a credit card account, after three to six years. Be aware that some collectors will still attempt to collect by phone and mail, even if they don’t have the option of suing in court. Besides damaging your credit score, an unpaid charge-off can really harm you when you want to make a major purchase using credit, rent an apartment or apply for a job. Most businesses are wary of someone with any long-term, unpaid credit accounts. Your charged-off accounts will stay on your credit report for seven years and then must be removed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. So, if you choose not to pay, you will have to wait that long for the charge-offs to no longer affect you. If the debt is older than the statute of limitations in your state, you may not have to worry about being taken to court. However, keep in mind it will still be reported on your credit report and may affect your ability to get credit, jobs, promotions, insurance and apartments for seven years from when the account became delinquent.

What can you do? If someone is applying for a loan for assistive technology, but have a charged off account on their credit report, we often advise our applicants to work out a payment plan to pay what you owe in as little time as possible. Some agencies may negotiate a payoff amount. Once you know how much you need to repay, a workable plan might be to set aside a budgeted amount of money each month to pay that towards your charged off account. If you have more than one charged off account, create a plan starting with the one with the lowest amount owed, pay it off and then move on to the next. You will see improvements with your credit score! You made a mistake and hopefully learned some things that will keep you from making the same mistake in the future. OkAT Foundation offers Financial Education to its borrowers and any consumer with a disability across the state. Let us know if you would like more information about financial education services!

Take a look magnifying glass graphicHighlight on Success:

Recently two of our financial loan borrowers paid their obligated loan in full. They made their monthly payments on time, as agreed, and paid the full amount until the balance was zero. Guess what? Their credit score improved! There are many factors that go into how your credit score is impacted, such as paying your bills on time, keeping balances low, applying for credit only as needed, and paying debt. But the most important factor that affects your credit score is your payment history. Brooke A. took out a Financial Loan to purchase a Braille Display. The Braille Display was a game changer for her independence. When she applied for the loan, her credit score was 574 with key factors impacting her credit related to no recent lines of credit and too many inquiries in the past 12 months. After paying on this loan for twelve months, we did a soft credit check to learn that her credit score had improved to 703. This is monumental change to her credit that is partly due to paying her monthly payment on time. She did other things to improve her score, such as not applying for new credit, and keeping all of her other bills paid and paid on time.

Another customer, Tina K. used the financial loan program to purchase hearing aids. When she applied, her credit score was 688. After she made her final payment, we checked her score and it had improved to 784. In general, any credit score over 700 is considered to be GOOD, and puts the consumer in the position to receive better interest rates, better insurance premiums, home rental, and much more. We are excited to not only help these individuals gain access to assistive technology to make them more independent in their lives, but enriching their lives financially.

Click here to see more Financial Loan success stories


Oklahoma ABLE Tech is the statewide Assistive Technology Act Program proudly located at Oklahoma State University in the Department of Wellness. ABLE Tech's mission is to improve access to and acquisition of assistive technology (AT) for individuals with disabilities of all ages. We offer AT demonstrations, short term loans of AT, financial loans to purchase AT, and recycling AT programs.


Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Oklahoma State University | Department of Wellness
1514 W. Hall of Fame | Stillwater, OK 74078
800.257.1705 (V/TTY)

 

 

Past issues of OkAT's Financial eNews

Spring 2018
November 2017
July 2017
April 2017
January 2017

Words from our borrowers:

Jeffrey L, Norman, OK
AT purchased: 
Hand controls for vehicle
Purpose: Community Living
“This was the only way I would be able to get the equipment and be able to pay it out over time and not all up front. This equipment gets me mobile again. I don’t have to rely on my aging mother to take me everywhere from doctor appointments, to the store, or over to other people’s homes and social activities.

Jacfus P., Tulsa, OK
AT purchased: 
Wheelchair lift for vehicle
Purpose: Community Living
“I chose to use this loan program because everyone was so helpful in helping me get the loan…. The device was very helpful to me to get around, continue to go to church, go to the store, shop, go to the doctor’s office and more. Thank you for being so helpful.”

Chris C., Shawnee, OK
AT purchased:
 Hearing aids
Purpose:
 Employment
"I have insurance and they paid a portion of the hearing aids, but this was the only reasonable option to pay for non-insurance covered portion of the hearing aids. It was a simple application and credit check, all very timely… I can now hear people talking in big crowds again, I can hear my co-workers better at my work, which is very loud. The hearing aids are also helping address my tinnitus in both ears.”

Peggy B., Sulphur, OK
AT purchased: 
Hearing aids
Purpose: Community Living
“I didn’t qualify for the program. If I did qualify, they only give one hearing aid and I needed two. I can now hear – Thank you!”

Juanita H., Shawnee, OK
AT purchased: Hearing aids
Purpose: 
Community Living
“We are in our 80’s and live on a fixed income. Low interest means payments will be low…. I was unable to hear conversations, but I just got my new hearing aids and I am hearing better. AS I become accustomed to them I know it will improve my quality of life.”

Julia F., Shawnee, OK
AT purchased: Hearing aids
Purpose: Employment
“I could not afford to pay for the hearing aids on my own… my audiologist told me about the financial loan program… The hearing aids have allowed me to hear the speakers more clearly during meetings at school. I can also carry on a more normal conversation without having to ask the person to repeat themselves.

James H., Sapulpa, OK
AT purchased: Hearing aids
Purpose: 
Community Living
“I could not get a hearing aid any other way. I am now able to talk to people again, instead of being withdrawn. I can hear and understand people now, where as before, I didn’t talk much and couldn’t understand people.”