Telework

What is Telework?
The Wisconsin Telework Program is a statewide, alternative loan program that allows Wisconsin residents with disabilities to purchase computers and other equipment needed to work from home or from other remote sites away from the office, such as work on the road or at a telework center. 

Examples

What can I purchase with a Telework loan?
Loan funds can be used to purchase equipment, training to use equipment, extended warranties, and cost of maintenance and repairs. This may include, but is not limited to : 
Computers, printers and software
Scanners, fax and office machines 
Tools and equipment
Telecommunication devices 
Office furniture 
Home modifications to create accessible home office 
Assistive technology that enables an individual with a disability to work at home

Are there conditions for approval of Telework loans?
A telework loan will generally be considered favorable if the equipment to be purchased with the loan will assist you to do at least one of the following:
Begin telework for an employer when you were previously unemployed 
Increase income in an existing job through telework
Remain employed at your current level, and prevent job loss or a reduction in earnings, through telework 
Begin working at home to accommodate your disability
Initiate or expand home based self-employment with an approved business plan 

How much can I borrow and at what interest rate and terms?
You can apply for the amount you need, but actual loan amounts will depend on the item purchased and your ability to repay the loan. The interest rate is 2% points above prime. For example, if the prime rate is 4.75%, the interest rate for a Telework loan would be 6.75%. Term lengths depend on the amount of the loan and the item purchased.

What if my credit bad?
If you have bad credit, including bankruptcy, your application will still be considered. The focus is on your ability to make the monthly payments to pay back the loan. 

How do I apply?
Staff at the Center for Independent Living of Western Wisconsin can answer your questions and take applications. Call: (715) 233-1070 or 800-228-3287.
The program is made possible through a grant from Rehabilitative Services Administration and authorized by section 303(b) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended and implemented by subsequent program regulation 34 CFR Part 373. The Department of Workforce Development - Division of Rehabilitation received the grant and provides programmatic and fiscal oversight. IndependenceFirst, a community based and consumer-controlled Independent Living Center based in Milwaukee, administers the program in partnership with M & I Marshall & Ilsley Bank and seven Independent Living Centers.

Examples of Telework Loans

Lawn Care/Snow Removal Business (Options) - Individual with multiple sclerosis was approved for $4,610 in telework loan funds to purchase a Sportsman 4-wheeler with plow and trailer to expand his seasonal lawn care business by doing snow removal. This individual paid off his loan within one month and reapplied for another loan in the amount of $1,470 to purchase a computer for his business. He has paid the second loan off as well.

Computer Repair and Technical Consulting Business (IF) - Individual with a mental health disability was approved for $15,500 in telework loan funds to purchase a vehicle needed for her computer business. She was also approved for a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) through SSA so she is able to pay her telework loan with monies from her PASS.

Stained Glass Business (MILC) - Individual who had a stroke was approved for $23,000 in telework loan funds to purchase equipment needed to produce specialty stained glass windows. One piece of equipment was a glass cutter to assist him because he has limited use of one of his arms due to the stroke.

Mortgage Broker (IF) - Individual with a mental health disability was approved for $3,000 in telework loan funds to purchase office equipment needed to work out of her home.

Holistic Health Care Provider (MILC) - Individual with back injury was approved for $7,000 in telework loan funds to purchase furnishings, equipment and a vehicle to start his own alternative holistic health care business in which he incorporates Native American beliefs. Some of the services he provides include: Reiki, Lakota Rain Drop Therapy and spiritual counseling.

Cleaning Business (Options) - Individual with a mental health disability and a learning disability was approved for $3,000 in telework loan funds to purchase a vehicle needed to transport equipment and supplies for her cleaning business.

IRS Customer Service (IF) - Individual with rheumatoid arthritis was approved for $1,330 in telework loan funds to purchase office equipment needed to work out of her home.

Stained Glass Studio (Options) - Individual with a brain disorder and damage was approved for $25,000 in telework loan funds to purchase equipment and build a stained glass studio in her basement. This individual rents out studio space because there are places for people to take stained glass classes but there are no studios for people to continue making stain glass once they complete classes.

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