The Akudi Program is not your typical loan program. It is a loan program specifically for assistive technology devices and services. Interest rates are well below typical market rates. Loans are available with no required down payment and longer terms which reduces the monthly payment. Akudi loans provide a unique funding alternative for individuals with disabilities who have no other options, who are seeking to establish credit, or who may be seeking to rebuild a negative credit history.
Akudi loans can be used to buy assistive technology devices and services. Assistive technology is often specialized to the needs of the individual. The Akudi Program can assist in directing folks to the right providers to help determine the right device. Assistive Technology devices and services may include:
- Hearing & Vision Aids
- Communication Devices
- Computers, computer software, and accessories • Accessible Vehicles & Vehicle Modifications
- Home Modifications to Increase Accessibility
- Prosthetics and Orthotics
- Assistive Technology Training & Device Repair • And More…
The Akudi Program also offers loans to individuals on Guam with disabilities who want to start their own businesses or expand an existing business and need funding for equipment, supplies, and inventory.
Special Education and the Public Schools
For children up to age 21, the public school’s special education system can be a primary funding source for AT. The rules governing special education are in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and in federal regulations. IDEA guarantees eligible children a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Since all special education services, including AT, must be free, a family’s income is not a factor. The child’s needs, the services to be provided, and identified assistive technology must appear in a written individualized education program (IEP). Special education law stipulates that consideration for assistive technology must be made for all students with a disability. Further, assistive technology is defined as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability.”Parents Services, Division of Special Education, Department of Education can be reached at 300-1321.
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Vocation rehabilitation agencies can fund a wide range of goods and services, including “rehabilitation technology,” that are connected to a person’s vocational goal. Congress has stated that VR services are to enable individuals to maximize employability, self-sufficiency, independence and integration into the work place and the community through comprehensive and coordinated state-of-the-art programs.Independent Living: The Rehab Act of 1973 and later amendments require every state to have an Independent Living (IL) Department. The IL Department can provide the funding of AT necessary for the client to have the ability to live an independent lifestyle.Division of Vocation Rehabilitation is located on the 6th floor of the DNA Building in Agana. They can be reached at 475-5735/8 or visit the DISID website.
Medicare, Medicaid, private health or disability insurance and Worker’s Compensation may pay for some assistive technology. In most cases, a demonstration of medical necessity for the product or equipment and a prescription from a doctor or other professional will be required.
Title 38 of the US code provides benefits for veterans of the military. The types of benefits for individuals with disabilities vary widely depending on whether the disability is “service related” or “non-service related.”For more information, contact a Veterans’ services organizations or check out the official VA website. Or you can call the local VA office at 475-8388 ~ 95.
An employer may purchase assistive technology as a means to provide reasonable accommodation in the workplace.For more information about how an employer may purchase assistive technology, see Disability.gov, A federal website containing disability-related resources, the Employing People with Disabilities section includes resources for employers on recruiting, hiring and retaining people with disabilities. Information is available on assistive technology and accommodations, tax incentives, occupational safety and success stories.
The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides national leadership on disability employment policy by developing and influencing the use of evidence-based disability policies and practices, building collaborative partnerships, and delivering authoritative and credible employment data.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN)
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is a service of the National Employer Technical Assistance Center (NETAC) based at Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute. NETAC is funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor. EARN’s vision is to increase employment and workplace inclusion for people with disabilities by engaging and empowering employers to be leaders in this effort.
Organizations, private corporations and manufacturers of assistive technology are also valuable sources of funding. They may be able to put you in contact with families who have been successful at locating funding and purchasing equipment. Some nonprofit groups and manufacturers sponsor guaranteed loan programs for the purchase of AT devices while others actually loan equipment or computer software.