[nfb-talk] Telecommunications Equipment for Deaf-Blind Persons
dandrews at visi.com
Sat Oct 26 01:16:19 UTC 2013
I have been asked to distribute the following.
>I have been charged with the outreach program for :I Can Connect" in
>5 states, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA,
>OKLAHOMA, WASHINGTON and WISCONSIN
>Changing what it means to be blind,
>Marcus Simmons, President,
>Wayne County chapter NFBMI
>Southfield, MI 48076-3069
><mailto:president at map-n.org>president at map-n.org
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
ormation about other communications issues, visit the FCC's Consumer
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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