Mission: to provide FREE adaptive telephone equipment to income-qualified Vermonters with a variety of disabilities
Toll Free: 888-254-3323 x549 (V/TTY)
Are you Deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired, visually impaired, or have a physical or cognitive disability that makes it hard for you to use a telephone? If you qualify, we will provide you with a FREE telephone system adapted to your specific needs, so you can once again communicate with friends and family. It is funded by the state of Vermont and completely free of charge to you, and none of our equipment requires monthly service fees or initial setup fees.
We have provided over 700 Vermonters with telephone equipment to date, and welcome you to be our next consumer! If you have any questions or are wondering if you might qualify, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you decide what will work best for your situation. If we can’t help you, we might be able to connect you to other programs that can.
“The phone you gave my mother has completely changed her life! She can now talk to all my siblings who live far away, as well as her sister. She was so isolated before, and she seems much happier now.” --EDP consumer’s daughter
“Thanks so much! Now my husband can make his own calls!” EDP consumer’s wife
“Wow, the computer you gave me is a life saver! I could never have purchased it myself, but now I can talk to my family again and also do my school work.” EDP consumer
The program may buy or repair the equipment you need including :
- TTY or Braille TTY
- CapTel phone (An amplified telephone with written captions of the conversation.)
- Amplified phone (You can choose the type: corded, cordless, large buttons, caller ID, etc.)
- Voice carry-over "VCO" telephone (A telephone that allows deaf people to read incoming messages from a relay service, but lets them use their voice to respond.)
- Hearing carry-over "HCO" telephone for people who can hear but cannot speak: (you type on a TTY keyboard and relay operators translate it to voice for you, and you hear the caller through speakers),
- Electrolarynx telephone
- Computer with speech creation software
- Personal computer (including used equipment) combined with text telephone software, or just the text telephone software for a computer
- In addition to one of the above, you can receive one or more flashing lights and/or loud ringer devices (to know that the phone is ringing)
- Other adaptive equipment you may need to use the phone.
If you were interested in a CapTel phone and do not qualify for our program, you can purchase one yourself for $99 from WCI. Please contact them at 1-800-233-9130, or get more information online at www.captionedtelephone.com. In addition, there is now a FREE web CapTel service if you have a computer with internet access. You don't need a CapTel phone at all to enjoy this. Check it out at http://www.captionedtelephone.com/webcaptel.php.
If you are approved, equipment worth up to $750* that has been approved by the program will be purchased and loaned to you, as listed in the application. See Program Guidelines below. *If the equipment you need is more than $750, a waiver of the spending limit may be available.
Download the Application form - (Word file)
Federal Grant Vermont Deaf Blind Equipment Program for Vermonters who are Deaf/Blind.
To view the VT-EDP Income Guidelines please click here
Senior Manager - Jorika Stockwell, Southern VT Office
802-258-9549 or toll free 888-254-3323 ext. 549 (V/TTY)
Vermont Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program Guidelines for Consumers
In order to apply for free equipment, you need to return a completed application with two documents: a proof of income and proof of disability. When we receive your application and proofs, we will determine if you meet the income and disability guidelines. If you are approved and know what type of equipment you would like, we can place the order within a week and have it delivered directly to you within 2-3 weeks. (Computers or special equipment can take several weeks longer.)
If you don't know what type of equipment would work best for you, we will contact you to discuss the different options available. We only provide equipment you might need to use the telephone, and do not provide assistive devices for other areas of your life.
If you are over the income limit, we will put you on our waiting list. People on the waiting list will receive equipment between June 15-30th ONLY IF there are funds left over at that time. If you are not approved for our program, we will send you a letter explaining why and include your options for filing a waiver or an appeal.
Any equipment you receive is the property of the State of Vermont, and is considered a loan to you. If you move out of Vermont or no longer need the equipment, you must return the equipment to this program.
Once you receive equipment from VTEDP, there is a four year waiting period before you can receive another piece of equipment from the program. If the equipment breaks, the program can pay to repair it during that four year period (or longer). You would need to send in another application for the repair. If your situation changes and you need equipment sooner than four years, you may apply for a waiver of the waiting period.
If you need equipment that exceeds $750.00 you may send a letter requesting a waiver of the $750 limit. In your letter, state the special circumstances that warrant the waiver.
The Commissioner may grant the waiver if no other funds exist to meet your need and, in the Commissioner's judgment, your disability requires equipment to connect to the publicly switched network that cannot be purchased within the $750 limit.
Types of Equipment currently available updated 10/15/08
For Deaf consumers:
- All varieties of TTYs (options include: printer, answering machine, ASCII, mobile tty's to plug into cell phones or for traveling, Braille, memory for storing phone numbers and/or standard greetings, etc.)
- A computer with text software for using the computer as your TTY.
- Just the computer software for using the computer like a TTY, if you already have a computer. Software (usually MyTTY) requires an internet connection and a computer with Pentium III processor or better.
- CapTel phone: This phone works for people who can speak for themselves. An amplified phone that also displays every word the other person says on the telephone itself, so you can read the other person's conversation. This works through a different relay system than the TTY, and the word processing is much faster (2-3 second delay).
- Any of the above can be ordered with light flashers to let you know when the phone is ringing, and you can have flashers in several different rooms in your home.
For consumers who can hear but cannot speak:
- TTY with Hearing Carry Over option. This works with the Vermont relay service, and allows you to hear the other person speaking through attached speakers. You type your response and the relay operator will voice your words for you.
- An electrolarynx phone for speaking on the phone through a special electrolarynx directly connected to the phone.
- A computer with external phone and text software that creates a voice for you from your typed words. We provide the computer, the phone, and the software.
For consumers who have a hard time hearing but can speak:
- CapTel phone: An amplified phone that also displays every word the other person says on the telephone itself, so if you miss part of the sentence, you can look down and read it instead. This is a new service, and very popular.
- Regular amplified phone: Increases the volume of the conversation so you can better hear the conversation. The amplified phones we order are generally better quality and better amplification than what you purchase at your local stores. You need to choose if it's cordless (helpful if someone has mobility issues), with or without an answering machine, with speakerphone, and with or without caller ID.
- A telecoilneckloop, to plug into amplified phones and use with your hearing aid (hearing aid must have "T Coil ability" (ask your audiologist if yours has this). The loop transmits sound directly into your hearing aid and reduces feedback.
- TTY/phone with voice carry over. You speak with your own voice, and read the responses that are typed back through the Vermont Relay Service.
- A computer with text software for using the computer as a TTY.
- Any of the above can be ordered with light flashers or loud ringers (or a combo of both) to let you know when the phone is ringing. They plug into a phone jack, and we will provide as many as you need to have one in several different rooms in your home.
For consumers with mobility disabilities:
- There are a variety of options, including large button phones, headsets, voice activated phones and/or computer programs, phones with one button to push that will control all functions of the telephone, etc. We will need to discuss your situation and help you decide what would work the best.
For consumers with other and/or multiple disabilities:
- We will need to discuss your situation and help you decide what would work the best. If you have trouble using a standard phone, we can probably find equipment to help you. For people with multiple disabilities or complicated needs, we can send a consultant to your home to help decide what equipment would work best for you.