Georgians with hearing loss or speech-related disabilities may be eligible for free long-term equipment loans to make communication easier. The Georgia Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program (GA TEDP) is available to Georgia residents who are at least five years of age, have home phone service, meet income eligibility requirements, and are certified by a healthcare professional as deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or speech disabled.
“Helping people connect more easily to services and information, family members, and neighbors can improve health status, increase safety, and boost emotional well-being,” said Dr. James Bulot, Director of the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging Services.
GA TEDP, established in 2003 by the Georgia State Legislature, is managed by the Georgia Public Service Commission and funded by a surcharge on Georgia business and residential land-based phone lines. GACHI, a statewide nonprofit that serves Georgians who are deaf and hard of hearing, administers the program, distributes equipment, and provides training to users. Available equipment includes TTYs (text telephones); hands-free, amplified, and captioned telephones; visual alerts, and other devices to improve communications ability. GACHI’s trainers help eligible users select the right equipment for their abilities, needs, and preferences. To inquire about the GA TEDP, visit www.gachi.org or contact GACHI by voice/ TTY at 888-297-9461 (toll-free) or 404-297-9461 (Metro Atlanta). To contact GACHI by videophone, call 866-598-6940 or 866-971-8859. The Georgia DHS Division of Aging Services and Georgia’s 12 Area Agencies on Aging coordinate a range of services for older adults and their families. Learn more by visiting www.aging.ga.gov or by calling 866-55AGING (866-442-4464).