From the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)
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Internet and Phone Service Resources for Clients and Families
During the pandemic, clients may need support accessing technology to communicate with friends and family, and avoid isolation. We encourage providers and families to assist individuals accessing technology. This can be done by signing up for free cell phones and low cost internet service, and other assistive technology resources available.
Need a cell phone or cell phone plan? Lifeline Assistance is the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) program designed to provide individuals with low-income access to free cell phones and inexpensive cell phone plans. The program provides those eligible to wireless or internet service for up to $9.25/month.
To participate in the Lifeline program, consumers must either have an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in certain federal assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Medicaid. Individuals with coverage by an MCO for Medicaid can contact their MCO directly about Lifeline.
Need Home Internet Service? The FCC issued a consumer alert that provides tips to help consumers optimize their home networks during the pandemic.
- Visit EveryoneOn to search low-cost internet service offers from providers responding to the COVID-19 crisis. EveryoneOn is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating social and economic opportunity by connecting low-income families to affordable internet service and computers, and providing digital skills training.
- The Lifeline program also provides support to lower the service costs for qualified households.
- For more information about the FCC’s efforts to connect Americans to broadband, visit the Bridging the Digital Divide for All Americans webpage.
Other Devices and Apps to Stay Connected? Telecommunication Equipment Distribution (TED) program helps people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have a speech impairment, to get the assistance they need to communicate. Visit the TED website to learn more and download an application.
- Types of telecommunication provided by TED:
- Picture phones
- TTY phones
- iPad Air/iPad Mini (Wi-Fi only, 16GB, w/black Otter Box case)
- iPhones (data plans not included)
- Eligibility: Anyone who lives in Washington state (over age 4) and is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or has difficulty with speech is eligible. Individuals with autism, strokes, Cerebral Palsy, and more may be eligible. A diagnosis is not necessary to qualify.
- How to get started? Download and print the application from the TED website. Complete as much of the application as you can. If you do not have the answers to every question (such as the type of equipment needed) leave them blank. Send application to:
PO Box 45301
If the application is for someone with speech and/or physical access needs, and additional questions arise, please email PROVAIL.
Need More Information?
- Visit the DSHS DDA COVID-19 webpage for more information on resources and updates.
- Visit the Informing Families COVID-19 webpage for more information on resources.
- Plan and Resources for Staying Connected and Engaged during COVID-19