What is iCanConnect?
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iCanConnect, or NDBEDP, is the Georgia National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program that provides communications technology free of charge to low-income people of all ages who have combined vision and hearing loss. The FCC has set aside funding to support one program in each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These participating programs will distribute this communications equipment to qualified individuals and provide equipment installation, training and support to help recipients make the most of this technology.
The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) supports local programs that distribute equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind (have combined hearing and vision loss) to enable access to telephone, advanced communications, and information services. This support was mandated by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) and is provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). For more information about the NDBEDP, please visit iCanConnect.org or fcc.gov/ndbedp.
The goal of the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) is to ensure that every person with combined hearing and vision loss has access to modern telecommunication tools and the training necessary to use them, granting every individual the opportunity to interact with the world as an involved, contributing member of society.
The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) enables low- income individuals who are deaf-blind to access 21st Century communications services. This program will help ensure that qualified individuals have access to the Internet, and advanced communications, including interexchange services and advanced telecommunications and information services.
Who is eligible for iCanConnect?
(Click here for an ASL Version)
Under the CVAA, only low-income individuals who are deaf-blind are eligible to receive equipment provided through the NDBEDP. Applicants must provide verification of their status as low-income and deaf-blind.
To be eligible, your total family/household income must be below 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, as shown in the following table:
For purposes of determining income eligibility for the 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.
The family/household income information that must be provided with this application is either 1) proof of your current participation in a federal low-income program whose income limit is below 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or 2) proof of household income.
For this program, the CVAA requires that the term “deaf-blind” has the same meaning given by the Helen Keller National Center Act.
In general, the individual must have a certain vision loss and a hearing loss that, combined, cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining a vocation (working).
Specifically, the FCC’s NDBEDP rule 64.6203(c) states that an individual who is “deaf-blind” is:
(1) Any individual:
(i)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;
(ii) Who has a chronic hearing impairment so severe that most speech cannot be understood with optimum amplification, or a progressive hearing loss having a prognosis leading to this condition; and
(iii) For whom the combination of impairments described in . . . (i) and (ii) of this section cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining a vocation.
(2) An individual’s functional abilities with respect to using Telecommunications service, Internet access service, and advanced communications services, including interexchange services and advanced telecommunications and information services in various environments shall be considered when determining whether the individual is deaf-blind under . . . (ii) and (iii) of this section.
(3) The definition in this paragraph (c) also includes any individual who, despite the inability to be measured accurately for hearing and vision loss due to cognitive or behavioral constraints, or both, can be determined through functional and performance assessment to have severe hearing and visual disabilities that cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining vocational objectives.
A practicing professional who has direct knowledge of the person’s vision and hearing loss may attest to the individual's disability, examples include:
Community-based service provider
School for the deaf and/or blind
Specialist in Deaf-Blindness
State equipment/assistive technology program
Vocational rehabilitation counselor
Such professionals may also include, in the attestation, information about the individual’s functional abilities to use telecommunications, Internet access, and advanced communications services in various settings.
Existing documentation that a person is deaf-blind, such as an individualized education program (IEP) or a Social Security determination letter, may serve as verification of disability.
iCanConnect is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Information provided on this application form will only be used to determine eligibility for iCanConnect products and services. iCanConnect will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless you give permission, or if the iCanConnect program is required by law to do so. iCanConnect is committed to ensuring that personal information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure, suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures are in place to safeguard and secure the information iCanConnect collects.