Talking Again




Speech and Hearing Equipment Distribution Programs

November - 2017


Most states have at least a free telephone for speech and hearing disabilities. There are many models available depending on your need such as speaker phones, amplified phones, cordless, etc. Most also provide a TTY device where you can type in your messages and/or view incoming messages on a screen. Most do not provide ALDs for the speech impaired at this time. Many states also have income restrictions but don’t let that stop you from applying. The limits range anywhere from $22,000 to $70,000 a year and most use a sliding scale. There are some states that “might” provide an ALD even though they say they don’t. Basically they evaluate your requirements and in some cases may make an exception, but it’s a long shot.

A fairly new addition to the list is a WiFi enabled smart phone or tablet that is primarily used for texting or using a text to speech app but I have no other details regarding their function. It could mean a free phone for you that would serve as a text to speech backup if you need it. Check with your state for details.

Only 4 states and DC are listed as having no program. One or more could possibly have a program but I could not verify that information. There are other states with programs but I was unable to find out what they provide. Lots of answering machines, but no returned calls. Any updates or corrections you may be able to provide to this listing would be appreciated.

The tables below contain the best information available at this time on where to obtain free or discounted prices on equipment that you may require. Due to space limitations we are only providing the basic information that you may need; does your state have a program, what does it provide, contact information, and comments.

Thank you to Jack Henslee for putting this information together.

State TEDPA list

Another good source of information on state programs can be found at the following:

they are primarily focused on hearing but it does give you the information on each state program. You will need to contact your state to see what is provided for loss of speech.



Please take a few minutes to check on your State’s listed information, and actually contact the office that handles the Program. Ask all your questions and you may be surprised to find out that they offer more options than are listed in the chart.

This morning I called the Arizona office in Phoenix to ask if they had switched to a “Voucher” system as listed on the chart. There is more to the story. I was told "this is treated as a case by case situation".
An application must be filled out and signed by an SLP or ENT to start the process. The best news to my ear, is "this Program is based on NEED, not Financial/Income limits”.

If you need a “loaner” EL they usually have a variety of used and refurbished brands you can try out and use until you settle on the brand that works best for your needs, and you would like to eventually own one.
Then a “Voucher” is issued for that device brand and in 5 yrs. you own it. At that time you may then apply for another “Voucher” for a new EL; which means you may end up with a second EL, and if the first one is still in fair condition you have a back up.

The equipment the AZ Program offers include: a variety of EL’s, TTY, Speaker Phones, and SoniVox Plus amplifiers. When State Funding is given as an excuse for a State to not have a similar program, that does not wash because your monthly telephone bills include a fee of a few cents that is meant to fund such a program of equipment to assist all the disabilities (hearing, voice, vision, mobility and cognitive). Look for this item that looks like a “tax” or “fee” at the bottom of the charges. By contacting your State Equipment Program, and asking questions you raise the subject to a new level of interest with your inquiry. You may help more than you realize by taking these steps to get this matter included as a line item in next years State Budget. I’ve seen it happen.

Elizabeth A. Finchem
DOS: 10/2/78
Tucson, AZ



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