What does the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP)
The goal of the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) is to ensure that every person with combined hearing and vision loss has access to modern telecommunication tools and the training necessary to use them, granting every individual the opportunity to interact with the world as an involved, contributing member of society. The program — administered by ATLA for the state of Alaska and funded through the FCC — provides outreach, assessments, telecommunications technology and training free of charge to those who meet federal eligibility guidelines.
To qualify for this program
Deaf-Blind Definition Eligibility
Have combined vision and hearing loss to be considered “deaf-blind” as that term is defined by the Helen Keller National Center Act. A practicing professional who has direct knowledge of your vision and hearing loss, such as vision- or hearing-related professionals, educators, medical professionals or community-based service providers, must verify that you are “deaf-blind.”
Federal definition of an individual who is deaf-blind is any person:
- Who has a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses,
- or a field defect such that the peripheral diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees,
- or a progressive visual loss having a prognosis leading to one or both these conditions;
- Who has a chronic hearing impairment so severe that most speech cannot be understood with optimum amplification,
- or a progressive hearing loss having a prognosis leading to this condition; and
- For whom the combination of impairments described above cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining a vocation.
The definition in this paragraph also includes any individual who, despite the inability to be measured accurately for hearing and vision loss due to cognitive or behavioral constraints, or both, can be determined through functional and performance assessment to have severe hearing and visual disabilities that cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining vocational objectives. An applicant’s functional abilities with respect to using telecommunications, Internet access, and advanced communications services in various environments shall be considered when determining whether the individual is deaf-blind under the federal definition.
Verification of disability
Individuals claiming eligibility under the NDBEDP must provide verification of disability from a professional. Existing documentation that a person is deaf-blind, such as an individualized education program (IEP) or a statement from a public or private agency, such as a Social Security determination letter, may serve as verification of disability.
To be eligible, your family/household income must be below 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, as shown in the current Federal Guideline Poverty Table.
Download the akCanConnect application to see the current Federal Guideline Poverty Table and if you qualify: 1 – AKCC Application 2016 (PDF)
“Income” is all income actually received by all members of a household. This includes salary before deductions for taxes, public assistance benefits, social security payments,pensions, unemployment compensation, veteran’s benefits, inheritances, alimony, child support payments, worker’s compensation benefits, gifts, lottery winnings, and the like.The only exceptions are student financial aid, military housing and cost-of-living allowances, irregular income from occasional small jobs such as baby-sitting or lawn mowing, and the like.