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iCanConnect, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP), 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 Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), which authorizes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide funding for local programs to distribute equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind (who have hearing loss and vision loss).
For more information on the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP), please visit: www.icanconnect.org.
The Institute on Disabilities is the certifying entity in Pennsylvania, iCanConnectPA.
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.
To be eligible for iCanConnectPA, household income must be below 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. A chart is included in the instructions with the Application.
For purposes of determining income eligibility for NDBEDP, the FCC defines "income" and "household" as follows:
"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.
A "household" is any individual or group of individuals who are living together at the same address as one economic unit. A household may include related and unrelated persons. An "economic unit" consists of all adult individuals contributing to and sharing in the income and expenses of a household. An adult is any person eighteen years or older. If an adult has no or minimal income, and lives with someone who provides financial support to him/her, both people shall be considered part of the same household. Children under the age of eighteen living with their parents or guardians are considered to be part of the same household as their parents or guardians.
See Section 3 of the Application for the household income information that must be provided.
iCanConnectPA requires verification that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria as a deaf-blind individual in accordance with the following definition:
- 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 amplifications, or a progressive hearing loss having a prognosis leading to this condition; and
- For whom the combination of impairments described in 1 and 2 above cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining a vocation.
An applicant's disability eligibility for the program must be verified by a practicing professional who has direct knowledge of the person's vision and hearing loss, such as:
- Specialist in Deaf-Blindness
- Community-based service provider
- Speech pathologist
- Hearing professional
- Vision professional
- HKNC representative
- Medical/health professional
- School for the deaf and/or blind
- State equipment/assistive technology program
- Vocational rehabilitation counselor
The equipment available to eligible Pennsylvanians will help them make a phone call, send an email, access the Internet or use other communications technology to communicate with family, friends, community members, etc.
Eligible applicants will be scheduled for an equipment assessment. After the assessment, the appropriate equipment will be ordered.
Available equipment will be listed here in the future.
Download the iCanConnectPA application form (updated January 2015). This is a PDF document. You may complete the form on screen and print it, or you may print the form and complete with a pen.
Print the form.
Complete the form - be sure to include the signature.
Mail the form, along with copies of documents needed for proof of income, to the address on the last page of the application form.
Form available in alternate formats upon request.
iCanConnectPA is committed to ensuring that the applicant's privacy is protected. Information provided on the application form will only be used to determine eligibility for iCanConnectPA equipment and services. iCanConnectPA will not sell, distribute or lease personal information to third parties without expressed permission from the applicant, or if the iCanConnectPA program is required by law to do so. iCanConnectPA secures personal information; suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures are in place to safeguard the information iCanConnectPA collects.