All states have multiple assistance programs for children and adults with hearing loss. There are the usual vocational rehabilitation, Medicaid and children’s insurance programs, assistive technology loan programs and possibly others.
In many cases, your state may have a Commission (for) (on) the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. If the state has such a thing, your State Government will be able to connect you. Generally, they will be under the Human Services umbrella. They MAY have a comprehensive listing of programs that assist people with hearing loss in your state. They may not. If they don’t request that they develop one.
For an idea of what services may be offered in your state, these are some things the State of Minnesota offers. You can ask if your state has such help. Not all states will have all this, and some may have other services not offered in Minnesota. Persistence and multiple inquiries of different sources are needed to get the help you need.
State of Minnesota
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
8 regional offices throughout Minnesota.
Description: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD) is a division within the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Staff at DHHSD can provide people with additional information about financial resources for hearing aids (including local hearing aid banks) and assistive listening devices.
ATMn Micro Loan Program
Assistive Technology of Minnesota
P.O. Box 310; Maple Plain, MN 55359-0310; 1-866-535-8239 (Voice); 1-800-627-3529 or 7-1-1 (Minn. Relay for TTY users)
Mission: Assistive Technology of Minnesota provides a statewide, comprehensive, consumer responsive system of Assistive Technology for Minnesotans of all ages with disabilities.
Program: The micro loan Program was one of the first services offered by ATMN. This program provides low-interest loans to disabled individuals who do not have the money to pay for the Assistive Technology devices and services they need. After receipt of the loan the individual is able to make payments with an installment plan that fits their budget. They work with partner banks.
Eligibility: Must be a resident of the State of Minnesota and have a diagnosis of some disability. The loan must be used to purchase assistive technology.
To apply: There are three steps to apply for a micro-loan:
1. Complete the application form & return to ATMn. You can call and request a form if you don’t have computer access. Call 763-479-8239 for an application, or email ATMN at email@example.com.
2. ATMn sends the application to the Review Committee for processing and a recommendation.
3. When appropriate, ATMn works with the applicant and partnering Bank to complete the process.
Some sample loans:
1. Computer software and hardware. This could include using computers for video communications.
2. Items for work or school. This could include hearing aids, assistsive listening devices.
3. Home modifications. This could include devices to alert deaf and HOH people to phones ringing, doorbells, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, loop systems and other safety and communications modifications.
4. Communication devices. This could include TTYs, CapTels, video relay setups.
5. Unique Assistive Technology devices. This could include devices for deaf/blind people, equipment so that deaf parents can know when their infants are in need of them, or anything else that meets a need.
Minnesota Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services: http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/idcplg?IdcService=GET DYNAMIC CONVERSION&RevisionSelectionMethod=LatestReleased&dDocName=id 002701
Adaptive communication equipment available for deaf and hard of hearing employees: Your nearest Deaf and Hard of Hearing Regional office can help employers identify adaptive communication equipment which can help overcome on-the-job communication barriers between deaf or hard of hearing employees and their co-workers or supervisors. Equipment includes the Ubi-Duo (twin keyboards with digital read-out displays) and phone amplification systems. And, you can borrow the equipment to test its effectiveness. Apply for assistance at http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/groups/disabilities/documents/pub/dhs16_139102.pdf
While this is aimed at employers, a hearing impaired employee could refer the employer to this resource. The ability to test the technology before purchase can be very helpful in selecting a workable solution for workplace communication challenges as economically as possible.
50 Sherburne Avenue, Room 309
Saint Paul, MN 55155
or toll free: 1-888-234-1267
MN Relay at 711 or toll free 1-800-627-3529
What it is: A System of Technology to Achieve Results (STAR) is located within the Minnesota Department of Administration. STAR's mission is to help ALL MINNESOTANS with disabilities gain access to and acquire the assistive technology they need to live, learn, work and play. The Minnesota STAR Program is federally funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration in accordance with the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended (P.L. 108-364).
Directory of Funding Resources for Assistive Technology in Minnesota - Sixth Edition (2006)
Online version of our Directory of Funding Resources: http://www.starprogram.state.mn.us/funding_directory.htm
Includes deciding on strategies for funding what you need, locating assistive technology that meets your needs, and sources of new and used assistive technology and opportunities to donate your used assistive technology or exchange it for something else.
Northeast Hearing Aid Bank
820 N. 9th Street, Suite 250; Virginia MN 55792; (218) 748-2253 (v); (218) 748-2252 (tty); http://accessnorth.net
Mission: The Hearing Aid Bank serves hard of hearing individuals in financial need who do no qualify for other assistance programs. When needed, we will arrange for a hearing evaluation and/or hearing aid through volunteer audiologists and hearing aid dispensers in the area.
Eligibility: Residents of Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Pine, St. Louis, Cass and Crow Wing Counties in Minnesota. Income must be less than:
Annual Income Household Size
$20,000 Married or single and have a child under 18 who lives with you. (Add $4,500 for each additional minor child.). And assets less than $10,000 (Add $4,500 for each additional person.)
The Hearing Aid Bank will purchase one hearing aid through a state contact vendor. Purchase of a second hearing aid is possible at the client’s expense or with private donations made to the Hearing Aid Bank. Applicant may be asked to contribute a co-payment fee.
Comprehensive listing of sources of assistive technology in Minnesota: http://assistivetechmn.net/hear/resources.html
Comprehensive listing of sources of assistive technology in Minnesota, including a complete listing of sources to fund hearing aids. Includes insurance requirements, telephone equipment and service, and rehabilitation services.