DC FUNDS - Frequently Asked Questions
What is DC FUNDS?
DC FUNDS is a federally funded alternative financing program designed to provide low-interest loans to people with disabilities and seniors in the District of Columbia. DC FUNDS is a means to purchase the assistive technology devices and services which are NOT covered through other funding sources.
Pre-loan support services, flexible repayment terms, below market low interest rate, and no prepayment penalties are unique features of this consumer responsive program which is not often found through more traditional lenders.
DC FUNDS is one of the programs offered by the Assistive Technology Program for the District of Columbia, which is administered and funded by the Administration for Community Living at the Department of Health and Human Services. And it is implemented by the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the District of Columbia Department on Disability Services and University Legal Services
Who is eligible for a DC FUNDS loan?
Any DC resident with a disability or senior who needs assistive technology is eligible to apply for a loan. DC FUNDS can help people of all income levels and all ages. Family members may apply on behalf of children or other family members with a disability, as well as advocates, guardians, or authorized representatives, as long as the device or service is for the use of the person with the disability.
In addition applicants must:
Have the legal capacity and/or ability to enter into a contractual relationship for a loan.
Demonstrate that the loan will be used to purchase assistive technology for a person with a disability.
Demonstrate ability to repay the loan, through sufficient monthly income and credit worthiness
What is the interest rate on DC FUNDS loans and how much can I borrow?
The current interest rate is 4%, lower than what is available from a bank. Loan amounts range from $500 to $10,000.
How much time will I have to pay off a loan?
The monthly payment will be individually determined based on the amount of money borrowed, interest rate of 4% and the length of repayment. Length of repayment can range from 6 – 60 months. There is no prepayment penalty for loans that are paid off early.
In order to make a repayment more affordable for the borrower’s monthly budget, a longer repayment schedule may be arranged. Re-payment terms are also based on the expected useful life of the assistive technology device.
Is taking out a loan my only option?
It is possible that funding for your assistive technology device may be available through other sources such as Medicare, Medicaid, state agencies, private insurance companies, school districts or other private organizations. DC FUNDS does not want consumers to take out loans unnecessarily and we will work with you to explore other funding options.
What devices and services are covered through DC FUNDS?
Computers and Tablets
Braille production equipment and software
Notetakers for the Visually Impaired
Screen Reading / Magnification Software
Assistive Listening Devices for Hearing Loss
Telecommunication Equipment for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices and Systems
Power or Manual Wheelchairs and Scooters
Durable Medical Equipment
Kitchens and Bathroom Modification for Safety and Accessibility
Stair Glides, Lifts and Ramps
Specialty and Hospital Beds
Environmental Control Units or Systems
Equipment for Monitoring Sleep Disturbances
Breathing Equipment and Accessories
Personal Emergency Systems
Social Connectedness Technology
Fall Prevention/Management devices
Medication Management Systems
Therapy and Rehab Technology
Any service to support the AT device, such as assessments, training on the device, repairs and extended warranties
How does DC FUNDS make decisions about my application?
A Loan Review Committee consisting of up to 6 members will make loan decisions based on information gathered from the loan application form, credit report and other relevant data.
Fifty percent of the members of the committee must have a disability or be the family member or guardian of someone with a disability.
DC FUNDS program staff can provide assistance to applicants who feel they need help completing the application form. If you would like help to complete the application, please contact us.
Will DC FUNDS give loans to reimburse applicants for assistive technology previously purchased?
No. Loans are only extended for items that have not yet been purchased.
How does my credit history affect my chances of receiving a loan?
Credit history alone does not disqualify you for a loan. If you are lacking a credit history or have a poor credit history, we will evaluate your situation on a case by case basis. A credit evaluation and debt to income check will be made, so if issues present themselves, we may seek an additional signer to strengthen your application.
How can I get an application or more information?
You can download the loan application directly from our website or you can contact Alicia Johns for more information.
For more information please contact:
Assistive Technology Alternative Financing Program (DC FUNDS)
Assistive Technology Program for the District of Columbia
220 I Street, NE, Suite 130
Washington, DC 20002
Voice: 202-547-0198, Extension 134
220 I St. NE, Suite 130
Washington DC 20002