Virginia Veterans Now Eligible for Hearing and Speech Telecommunications Equipment

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

The Technology Assistance Program provides telecommunication equipment to qualified applicants whose disabilities prevent them from using a standard telephone.  To qualify for the program, you must be deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-blind, or speech disabled. You must also be a Virginia resident and meet income eligibility requirements that are based on household income and family size. While there are no age restrictions, all applications from minors must be co-signed by a parent or legal guardian.

How does the program work?
Equipment is provided to qualified individuals on a Loan-to-Own (L2O) basis. This gives qualified recipients up to 30 days to decide whether to keep, exchange, or return the equipment. If following the 30-day period, the recipient feels the device enables him or her to successfully communicate over the phone, he or she retains ownership of the device.

Assistive devices available through TAP L2O include:

  • TTY’s (text telephones)
  • Amplified telephones
  • Voice Carry Over (VCO) phones
  • CapTel®, captioning telephones
  • Outgoing speech amplifier phones
  • Hearing Carry Over (HCO) phones
  • Other devices available by special request

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

Adaptive telecommunications equipment is 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.

To find out if you qualify, call 1-800-552-7917 

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