The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) and Virginia Relay recently announced that military veterans living with a hearing or speech loss are now automatically eligible for telecommunications equipment through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program (TAP).

Adaptive telecommunications equipment, including text telephones (TTY), captioned telephones (CapTel) and other devices are available to individuals who meet the following qualifications:

A veteran with a hearing or speech loss and proof of an Honorable Discharge

  • A veteran with a hearing or speech loss and documentation of a service-related disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • A surviving spouse or child of a veteran who was killed in the line of duty and has a hearing or speech loss
  • An active member of the Virginia National Guard who has completed the required initial active-duty service

“I am pleased to announce today that veterans living in Virginia with a hearing or speech loss are now automatically eligible for telecommunications equipment through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program. I urge all eligible Virginia veterans to learn more about this new program to help reduce communications barriers,” said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

“Our veterans have dedicated their lives to protecting our way of life, and now through our Technology Assistance Program, we are honoring their service by offering veterans with a hearing or speech loss adaptive telecommunications equipment,” said Ron Lanier, director of VDDHH. “Our goal is to make daily life easier for Virginia’s veterans living with a hearing or speech loss by helping them to stay connected with their family, friends, and employers as well as their grateful community.”

Paul Galanti, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, noted, “the US Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence estimates 60 percent of veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq have hearing loss as a result of their military service. This new benefit will help provide these men and women with the tools necessary to adapt to this loss.”

TAP provides telecommunications equipment to all qualified applicants whose disabilities prevent them from using a standard telephone. To qualify for the program, individuals must be deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled. Applicants must also be Virginia residents and meet income eligibility requirements that are based on household income and family size. There are no age restrictions; however applications from minors must be co-signed by a parent or legal guardian.

To learn more about VDDHH, Virginia Relay and TAP for veterans, call 1-800-552-7917 v/tty or visit www.vddhh.org.

Wireless Device now Available through TAP

  • Jan 23, 2012
  • |
  • publicrelationsdept

The Virginia Relay Technology Assistance Program (TAP) is now offering its first wireless device. The Jitterbug is an easy-to-use cell phone with a loud speaker and earpiece shaped to work with hearing aids.  The phone is extremely popular with seniors who do not want the programming and complicated features often associated with today’s Smartphones and wireless communication devices.

The Jitterbug will be available through the TAP L2O (Loan-to-Own) program beginning in December. Exclusive to the program, qualified applicants will receive a no-cost phone and free activation, a waived five-minute Operator service fee, no contract and no cancellation fees, a free car charger and case, and free LiveNurse application with all rate plans.

While the Jitterbug cell phone will be provided by TAP L2O, recipients will be responsible for the costs of the monthly service plan.  Plans will start at $14.99 for 50 minutes and include nationwide coverage. VDDHH also plans to add a captioning cell phone and smart phone to the TAP L2O equipment program in 2012.

To find out if you qualify for a Jitterbug cell phone, contact the VDDHH outreach office nearest you. For a list of office locations visit http://www.vddhh.org/orproviders.aspx or call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/text).

Virginia Relay wants to remind everyone that the latest models of CapTel phones, CapTel 800 and CapTel 800i, are available to people who have a hearing loss or speech disability and qualify financially through the Technology Assistance Program (TAP). Developed by Ultratec®, CapTel allows people who are hard of hearing to read a captioned version of their conversations on the phone’s display window while listening to the voice of the person they are speaking to at the same time. CapTel is ideal for late-deafened adults, people who are deaf and can speak clearly, Voice-Carry-Over (VCO) and amplified phone users and people with cochlear implants.

The Captel 800 works just like a traditional telephone with a standard analog telephone line, but also shows the written captions of the conversation on a brightly lit screen. People who also use high-speed Internet access may consider the Captel 800i, which connects to the Internet to relay the written captions during telephone conversations.

Offered by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH), TAP provides telecommunication equipment to those whose disabilities prevent them from using a standard telephone. To qualify, you must be a Virginia resident who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deafblind, or speech disabled and meet income eligibility requirements (based on household income and family size). Those who qualify will be provided equipment on a Loan-to-Own (L2O) basis. After a 30 day trial period, recipients can retain ownership of the device if they decide that it has provided a positive impact on their telecommunication needs.

In addition to CapTel 800 and CapTel 800i phones, other assistive devices available through the TAP L2O include:

  • TTYs (text telephones)
  • Amplified telephones
  • Voice Carry Over (VCO) phones
  • Outgoing speech amplifier phones
  • Signalers for the phone and door
  • Hearing Carry Over (HCO) phones
  • Other devices available by special request

All devices distributed through TAP carry a one-year manufacturer’s warranty and training is available for the equipment. TAP participants can apply for new equipment every four years.

To apply for a device through TAP, contact the VDDHH outreach office nearest you.  For a list of office locations, visit http://www.vddhh.org/orproviders.aspx or call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/text).

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