State Rehabilitation Services earns federal grant to fund equipment for Oklahomans who are deaf and blind
OKLAHOMA CITY –The Federal Communications Commission announced Monday, July 2, that the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Service is certified to distribute equipment and technology through the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP).
DRS will receive $132,322 in annual funding for the program to purchase and distribute equipment and technology needed by low-income individuals who are deaf and blind to use the telephone and Internet.
The FCC will reimburse DRS for the cost of equipment purchases, local outreach, individual assessments, individual training, and equipment installation and maintenance.
DRS’ Visual Services Division will have primary oversight and responsibility for compliance with the FCC’s program requirements.
“Visual Services has a great opportunity to help Oklahomans with vision and hearing loss to communicate more effectively using the latest technology,” Visual Services Administrator Michael Jones, Ph. D., said. “The program will begin distributing vital communication equipment in the late fall of 2012 and will have fully distributed the first year of grant funds by the summer of 2013.”
The FCC established the NDBEDP in response to the federal Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act using funding from the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund.
The pilot program will run for two years. FCC has the an option to extend the program for an additional year.
For more information about DRS or services for people who are deaf-blind, please contact 800-845-8476 or visit http://www.okrehab.org/indep/il_deaf-blind.htm.