[NFBOK-Talk] Telecommunications Equipment for Deaf-Blind Persons

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Sat Oct 26 01:16:19 UTC 2013

I have been asked to distribute the following.

>Dear David,
>I have been charged with the outreach program for :I Can Connect" in 
>Changing what it means to be blind,
>Marcus Simmons, President,
>Wayne County chapter NFBMI
>28179 Brentwood
>Southfield, MI 48076-3069
><mailto:president at map-n.org>president at map-n.org
>(248) 552-8928

Consumer Guide
National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act 
of 2010 (CVAA) authorizes the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide funding for local 
programs to distribute
equipment to low-income individuals who are "deaf-blind" (see 
definition below.) The FCC may use up
to $10 million annually from the interstate Telecommunications Relay 
Service fund for this purpose.
Pilot Program
In 2011, the FCC established the National Deaf-Blind Equipment 
Distribution Program (NDBEDP) as a
pilot program. The pilot program has been in effect since July 1, 
2012, and the FCC may extend the
program another year. The pilot program provides valuable information 
that the FCC will use to help
develop and implement an effective and efficient permanent deaf-blind 
equipment distribution program.
How does the pilot program operate?
The FCC selected and certified one entity in each of the 50 states, 
plus the District of Columbia, Puerto
Rico, and the Virgin Islands, to receive FCC support to distribute 
equipment to low-income individuals
who are deaf-blind. The FCC allocated a minimum of $50,000 to each of 
the 53 certified programs,
plus additional funding based on the size of each state's population. 
As a result, states with large
populations were allocated larger amounts of funding than states with 
small populations.
The FCC also set aside $500,000 each year for the Perkins School for 
the Blind to coordinate outreach
to promote this new equipment distribution program nationwide.
Who is eligible to receive equipment?
Under the CVAA, only low-income individuals who are deaf-blind are 
eligible to receive equipment.
Applicants must provide verification of their status as low-income 
and deaf-blind.
The CVAA requires that the term "deaf-blind" has the same meaning 
given in the Helen Keller National
Center Act. In general, the individual must have a certain vision 
loss and a hearing loss that,
combined, cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily 
life activities, achieving
psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining a vocation (working).
The FCC defines "low income" to mean not more than 400% of the 
Federal Poverty Guidelines, as
indicated in the following chart:

table with 4 columns and 11 rows
2013 Federal Poverty Guidelines
Number of persons in family/household
400% for everywhere, except Alaska and Hawaii
400% for Alaska
400% for Hawaii
For each additional person, add
table end

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
What kind of equipment can be distributed?
The equipment distributed must be designed to make telecommunications 
(such as wireline and
wireless telephone communication), advanced communications (such as 
Internet-based voice
communication, e-mail, instant messaging and interoperable video 
conferencing services), and access
to the Internet (including information services) accessible. The 
equipment distributed may be
hardware, software or applications, separate or in combination, 
mainstream or specialized. The
equipment must meet the needs of the deaf-blind individual to achieve 
access. Certified programs may
also provide equipment warranties, maintenance, and repairs for such 
equipment depending on
available funding.
Besides distributing equipment, what will the NDBEDP certified programs do?
Certified programs will inform their communities about this new 
program to distribute equipment to low-
income residents in their states who are deaf-blind. They will verify 
that applicants are eligible to
receive equipment. They will assess each applicant's communications 
equipment needs to select
appropriate equipment to meet those needs. They may also help install 
and provide training for the
equipment distributed.
How do I find the certified program that serves my state?
Information about how to find the NDBEDP certified program in your 
state is available during the on the
FCC website at
by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC 
(1-888-835-5322) TTY, or by
sending an email to
dro at fcc.gov.
How can I help the NDBEDP be successful?
list of 4 items
Tell people about the program.
Tell the FCC how the NDBEDP helped you or someone you know.
Tell the FCC how the program can be improved.
Tell the FCC about new types of technologies that should be included 
for distribution.
list end
You may also file an informal complaint with the FCC if you think 
someone has violated the NDBEDP
rules. Informal complaints may be filed by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC 
(1-888-225-5322) voice or
1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232, or by writing to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554
For More Information
For inf
ormation about other communications issues, visit the FCC's Consumer
website at
or contact the FCC's Consumer Center by
calling 1-888-CALL-FCC voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC TTY; faxing 
1-866-418-0232; or writing to the
address listed above.
For this or any other consumer publication in an accessible format 
(electronic ASCII text, Braille, large print
or audio), please write or call us at the address or phone number 
below, or send an email to
FCC504 at fcc.gov.
This document is for consumer education purposes only and is not 
intended to affect any proceedings or
cases involving this subject matter or related issues.
Last Reviewed 5/2/13
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