The national director for a program that offers free technology to people with combined vision and hearing loss spent two days in Montana meeting with stakeholders to determine ways to advertise the program to those who qualify.
National Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program national director Steven M. Rothstein said Montana has been allocated $71,000 in the program’s second year by the Federal Communication Commission.
Last year, the FCC allocated $70,000 to Montana residents, but most of that went unused, he said. “There weren’t as many people signing up (in Montana) for it, so we want to be sure that we can reach people,” Rothstein said. According to estimates of the program, about 3,000 Montanans may qualify for equipment through the program.
To be eligible, people must meet three requirements. They must have hearing and vision loss verified by a doctor or health care professional; they must be willing to learn to use adaptive technology; and they must not earn more than 400 percent of the poverty level. There are no age limitations. The program is open to children, adults and the elderly.
The program is completely free, so people who qualify will receive free equipment and free training.