What is iCanConnect?
iCanConnect is another name for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP), a federal program designed to help the many thousands of Americans with combined hearing and vision loss to connect with family, friends and community.
It was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an effort to comply with the 21st Century Video and Communications Accessibility Act, a federal law that requires people with disabilities to have access to modern communications technology that enables distance communication.
What does iCanConnect provide?
If you meet income requirements, you can receive free communications technology designed for people with combined vision and hearing loss. Installation, training and technical support are also available.
What is the goal?
The goal of iCanConnect is to provide distance communications technology and training for people with combined hearing and vision disabilities, and to increase opportunities for independence for this underserved population to stay connected with family, friends, service providers, and their communities.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible, the individual must:
- Have combined vision and hearing loss verified by a doctor or professional service provider
- Be able to be trained to use the equipment the program provides, including telephones, computers and other communication equipment
- Meet the program’s household income guidelines
How is deaf-blind defined?
For this program, “deaf-blind” is defined as any individual with a combination of the disabilities described below for whom it is extremely difficult to attain independence in daily life activities, achieve psychosocial adjustment or obtain a vocation.
Must meet at least one of these sight guidelines:
- Visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses
- A field defect such that the peripheral diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees
- Progressive visual loss with a prognosis leading to one or both of above conditions
Must meet at least one of these hearing guidelines:
- Chronic hearing disabilities so severe that most speech cannot be understood with optimum amplification
- Progressive hearing loss having a prognosis leading to above condition
What kind of equipment is available?
There is a wide range of equipment available depending on your needs. Some examples include:
- Braille devices
- Mobile devices
To learn more about the equipment available through iCanConnect, visit the equipment page.
How do I find out which equipment is the right fit?
The iCanConnect program provides a qualified specialist in your area to help identify and install equipment that will meet your/your family member’s needs.
I am/my family member is not tech savvy. Who will I contact for training?
Contact your state iCanConnect program to discuss your options. A list of state contacts is available on the How to Participate page. You can also call us at 1-800-825-4595 for additional information.
How do I apply?
Contact iCanConnect at 1-800-825-4595 to learn more about the program, make a referral or to apply for eligibility or an assessment of your needs. Find the iCanConnect contact for your state.