Maine’s Adaptive Equipment Loan Program is also known as the Kim Wallace Adaptive Equipment Loan Program (AELP) or mPower.
Kim Wallace became quadriplegic as a result of a spinal cord injury in 1979. This event launched his career as an advocate for disability rights. Kim was a pioneer and the driving force to start the loan program, after he saw the difficulties people faced in getting equipment and home modifications.
Kim partnered with two other leaders in the disability community (Steven Tremblay of Alpha One and Stan Provost of the Finance Authority of Maine) to put a bond measure on the Maine ballot in 1987 after a blue-ribbon commission highlighted equipment as a major barrier for Mainers with disabilities. Mainers voted to approve this fund twice to make loans for Maine residents with disabilities. This makes AELP the only citizen-funded type loan program in the country. Loans totaling more than $20 million have been made to individuals and businesses in the past 31 years.
Flexible Term Loans
AELP provides a 3.75% interest rate for all qualified borrowers. The program offers flexible term loans to individuals based in Maine with disabilities. AELP funds can be used to purchase equipment or technology that improves independence, safety and quality of life for a person with a disability.
Loans are available from $250 up to $100,000. Our objective is to enable individuals with disabilities to remain as independent as possible. Loans are not based on income; but rather, an individual’s ability to repay the loan. Loans can be taken by you, a friend, or a family member. Businesses may also apply to improve access for Mainers with a disability. For more information about Business loans, go to the Adaptive Equipment Business Loan Program page.
What Qualifies for an AELP loan?
Any kind of equipment or access-related modification that makes you, a friend, or a family member more independent.
Types of adaptive equipment MAY include:
- Home Modifications
- Adapted Vehicles
- TTY/Video Phones
- Hearing Aids
- Visual Fire Alarms
- Stair Lifts
- Recreational Equipment
- Computer Technology
How do I apply for a loan?
To apply, an interested borrower must fill out an application.
Please contact Alpha One at 800-640-7200 (v/tty) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In October, 2018, the AELP Board voted to delegate all loan decision making to Alpha One. This includes approving or denying loans based on the underwriting guidelines approved by the Board. This has improved the time it takes to close a loan through the program. Please contact Alpha One at any time for more information.
To see what is considered when deciding a loan, review the Underwriting Guidelines.
What is considered when deciding a loan?
- Per the approved underwriting guidelines, the three most important criteria for an AELP loan are credit history, debt-to-income ratio, and ability to repay
- An applicant must have a credit score of 0 (no credit history) or 569 and higher. If there are co- applicants, AELP will use the higher of the credit scores.
- AELP looks for a debt-to- income ratio of less than 50% and positive discretionary income.
- Alpha One will take into account all many of credit histories during the application process. If you have questions about whether you will qualify, please reach out to Henry.
Can we use this loan for hearing aids?
- Yes, absolutely. Please contact Henry at Alpha One for more information.
Can we use this loan for dentures or glasses?
- Technically, yes. There needs to be documented proof of a disability for this to qualify. Please contact Henry at Alpha One for more information.
What if the applicant has no credit or bad credit?
The underwriting guidelines state that a qualified applicant must have a credit score of 0 or 569 or higher. If your credit score falls below this, you can discuss steps to improve the score or have another person apply for the loan as a co-signer. The higher of the two credit scores will be used.
How old can a vehicle be to qualify?
- This is discussed on a case by case basis. Generally, the length of the loan and the age of the vehicle cannot be more than 14 years combined. However, we can discuss options in most scenarios.
Can I use this program for any vehicle?
- The vehicle must have some form of adaptation to qualify. This can include, but is not limited to: hand controls, ramp to get in/out, wheelchair or scooter lift on the back of the vehicle, or modified swivel seat.
- The Transportation Assistance Loan Program (AELP II) can be used to purchase a vehicle for Maine residents with a disability who need a vehicle as part of a qualifying individualized plan toward employment. For more information, go to the Transportation Assistance Loan Program page.
Can I use this to repair my roof, leaks in my house, or mold?
- The program can only be used for “adaptive equipment,” or any item that will improve independence for a borrower.