Communication is Essential to Life!
Communication is essential for staying healthy, holding a job, managing a household and participating in the community.
Modern technology has vastly expanded the way most people communicate through voice, data and video services. But for people who have combined vision and hearing loss, special equipment may be necessary to make a phone call, send an email or access the Internet. The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program will ensure that low-income individuals who have combined hearing and vision loss can access telephone, advanced communications and information services. This program was mandated by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 and established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
How does this equipment distribution program work?
This program provides communications technology free of charge to low-income people of all ages who have combined vision and hearing loss. The FCC has set aside funding to support one program in each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These participating programs will distribute this communications equipment to qualified individuals and provide equipment installation, training and support to help recipients make the most of this technology.
What kind of equipment will be distributed?
This program provides a wide range of hardware, software and applications to suit the varying communications technology needs of people who have hearing and vision loss. Examples include products that are available to the general public and may be accessible to people with hearing and vision loss or products that are adaptable through the use of specialized equipment, such as screen enlargement software, screen readers or braille displays.
Is this program for me?
You may be eligible for this program if you are a person who:
- has both a vision and hearing loss
- meets the low income criteria (400% of the Federal Poverty Guideline)
- and are in need of technology that would enable you to use a telephone, send an email, access the Internet, or use other communications technology.
How do I choose the best equipment to suit my needs?
A qualified program specialist will contact you after receiving your application. They will be able to help you identify equipment that will meet your needs.
How do I learn how to use the equipment?
Program specialists are also available to train you to use the equipment. The National website, iCanConnect has a list of example equipment that you or your loved one may be eligible to receive through this program.