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Loans FAQ

Who can apply for Washington Access Fund’s low interest loans?

Washington residents of all ages with disabilities of all types — including seniors with age-related hearing, vision, mobility and cognitive limitations. We also consider applications from family members, employers and other representatives – as long as the item is purchased for – and owned by – a person with a disability. For Business Equipment loans, applicants also must show that they plan to use the equipment for work related activities.

What can Washington Access Fund’s Assistive Technology loans be used for?

Assistive Technology loans can be used to purchase any device that helps to improve the functioning of a person with a disability. Examples include: Hearing Aids, Closed Circuit TV magnifiers, wheelchairs, vehicle hand controls and wheelchair lifts, computers with Braille or speech output, and computers with specialized software for individuals with learning disabilities. Loans also can be used to pay for home accessibility modifications (e.g., ramps, bathroom modifications, etc.) and to purchase assistive technology services such as evaluations, training, extended warranties, insurance, maintenance and repair.

What can Washington Access Fund’s Business Equipment loans be used for?

Business Equipment loans can be used to purchase any type of equipment needed by entrepreneurs and employees with disabilities. Examples include computers, fax machines, copiers, printers and other work-related equipment including adaptive technology. Our Business Equipment loans also can also be used for equipment-related services such as Telecommunications and Internet services, training, maintenance and repair.

How much can I borrow?

As little as $250 and as much as $10,000. (Business Equipment applications can be considered for higher amounts in certain situations.

Email kathy@washingtonaccessfund.org to find out if you pre-qualify for a higher amount.)

What are the loan terms?

The interest rate is 5.0%. There is no cost to apply. Terms are from one to five years depending upon what you buy and income available to repay the loan.

How do I apply?

To apply with our simple online application or to download the application and mail it in visit our “Apply for Loans” page.

What happens after I submit my application?

Your application will be reviewed by staff to see if it is complete. We also will obtain a credit report and may call you or request an interview. Once the application is complete, it will be submitted to the Loan Review Committee. The Committee meets twice a month. If the Committee approves your application, we will send you a Promissory Note and other “closing” documents. Once these are signed and returned to us, we will send the vendor a check to cover your purchase. If the loan is not approved, we will tell you why and try to help you identify other resources.

What criteria will be used to decide if I get a loan?

Both eligibility and ability to repay must be shown. Eligibility is established when you show that (a) you have a disability and (b) the item you want to buy qualifies as “assistive technology” or business equipment. Ability to repay is evaluated on the basis of income, expenses, current debt levels, availability of other resources and your credit history. For business equipment, we also look at your employment or business plan and work history.

My credit is not great. Will that disqualify me?

If you have poor credit or a history of bankruptcy, your circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. You will not be automatically disqualified. Our typical borrower has one or more weaknesses that prevent them from accessing loans from a traditional bank. Washington Access Fund is designed to be more flexible than traditional banks with a focus on the particular needs of borrowers with disabilities. Staff will also help you identify steps you can take to improve your chances of qualifying (e.g., participating in financial counseling, taking care of past due accounts or items in collections).

I want to apply for a Business Equipment loan, but I don’t have a Business Plan; I also need funding for items other than equipment. What should I do?

We would be delighted to give you some help getting started on a business plan and refer you to other resources should you need more assistance. We also will try to help you identify other funding sources to support your employment goals.

My income is very limited and I’ve never taken out a loan before? Can I still apply?

Absolutely, we look at each case individually. In some cases, we may ask for a guarantor. In others, we can offer extended payments and/or a smaller loan.

Do you have more questions?

Give us a call at (206) 328-5116 or send an email to kathy@washingtonaccessfund.org.