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Access for all !!! - National Equipment Distribution Program
What is the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, or the iCanConnect Program, and who qualifies?
The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, also known as iCanConnect, is a program administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide individuals who have a combination of significant vision and hearing loss with equipment and training for distance communication. The FCC certifies one entity per state to lead the program. Equipment provided by the program includes a variety of technologies that can be used for emails, phone calls, video calls, text messaging, instant messaging, and the like. For someone to qualify, he or she must have a professional, who has direct knowledge of an individual’s hearing and vision impairment, provide an attestation that their combined hearing and vision loss meets the program’s definition of deaf-blind. Additionally, applicants must have a household income below 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, excluding Hawaii and Alaska, or participate in a qualifying low-income program
The current income eligibility per number of residents in a home is as follows:
2018 Federal Povery Guidelines
Household 400% 400% Alaska 400% Hawaii
1 $48,560 $60,720 $55,840
2 $65,840 $82,320 $75,720
3 $83,120 $103,920 $95,600
4 $100,400 $125,520 $115,480
5 $117,680 $147,120 $135,360
6 $134,960 $168,720 $155,240
7 $152,240 $190,320 $175,120
8 $169,520 $211,920 $195,000
*For each additional person add $17, 280, or add $21,600 in Alaska, and $195,880 in Hawaii
For a list of examples of the equipment currently being provided by the iCanConnect Program and to find the entity that provides services in your state, click on the following link http://www.icanconnect.org/ . The website also includes success stories and applications that can be downloaded.
Definition of Deaf-Blind
For this program, the definition of "deaf-blind" follows the definition provided in the Helen Keller National Center Act. Applicants must have a vision and hearing loss that results in difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities.
The definition of Deaf-Blind as per the HKNC Act is:
(1) Any individual:
(i) 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;
(ii) 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
(iii) For whom the combination of impairments described in . . . (i) and (ii) of this section cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining a vocation.
(2) An individual’s functional abilities with respect to using Telecommunications service, Internet access service, and advanced communications services, including interexchange services and advanced telecommunications and information services in various environments shall be considered when determining whether the individual is deaf-blind under . . . (ii) and (iii) of this section.
(3) The definition in this paragraph (c) 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.
Where else can you learn about the NDBEDP/ iCC?
Well, you don’t have to go far! In addition to the accessible iCanConnect website, NCDB has a previously recorded webinar hosted by Marcia Brooks, the Director of the Perkins School for the Blind iCanConnect programs, and Carly Fredericks, who is the Program Coordinator for the iCanConnect Program in New Jersey. Here’s the link: https://hknc.adobeconnect.com/_a772371855/p9janyua2ons/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal
Also reference the FCC’s website for the NDBEDP: https://www.fcc.gov/general/national-deaf-blind-equipment-distribution-program
However, I’ll gladly respond to any additional questions you may have regarding the program (with Marcia Brooks on backup, of course :-) ). And, as someone who’s working collaboratively with the Perkins team to coordinate the iCanConnect Program in Texas, I’d love to learn how programs are designed in your state! Looking forward to our further dialogue.
Molly Sinanan, M.S.
HKNC, Region 6 Representative