NJ Human Services Highlights Wireless Devices Pilot Program for Eligible Deaf and Hard of Hearing Residents

Devices Currently Available Are Tablets and Smartphones

January 14, 2022

(TRENTON) Noting the importance of expanding digital access for all, the New Jersey Department of Human Services is encouraging deaf and hard of hearing New Jersey residents to check their eligibility for a wireless devices pilot program that provides eligible residents with a free tablet or smartphone.

Since the pilot program launched this past August, residents have been supplied essential devices and are now able to access critical information, services and supports being delivered virtually through online platforms. This includes vital communication needs such as telehealth services, emergency information, telecommunications, and more.

Those interested may check their eligibility and apply here.

“We are pleased that we have been able to help close technology gaps and increase essential digital access for deaf and hard of hearing residents who applied for the program and were found eligible, but we want to help more individuals,” Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “I encourage everyone who may be eligible for this program to learn more and, if eligible, apply as soon as possible.”

The program is being administered by Human Services’ Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DDHH) and supplies a limited number of wireless devices to eligible deaf and hard of hearing residents. For eligible applicants, devices are free of charge. There is a limit of one device per eligible household. The supply of devices is subject to availability and funding.

“Communication access is critical in making informed choices and we have been working since August to ensure vulnerable individuals have essential devices that allow them this access,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “We encourage deaf and hard of hearing residents to check their eligibility and apply for this essential program so more lives can be enriched with improved access to key supports.”

“It is amazing to see the impact this pilot program has had thus far for the deaf and hard of hearing community. As communications and services continue to transition to online platforms, it is now more critical than ever for these devices to go into the hands of those in need,” said Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Executive Director Elizabeth Hill.

Individuals eligible for the pilot program must have an annual income of less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, meaning that for a family of two, the income limit is $69,680. For a family of three, the limit is $87,840, and for a family of four the new income limit is $106,000.

To qualify for the program, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a New Jersey resident.
  • Have a documented hearing loss verified through either an audiogram signed by a licensed audiologist; or a Certification of Disability attached to the application signed by a licensed audiologist, physician, or other professional verifying applicant’s hearing loss.
  • Information supplied on the application must be clearly printed. The form must be signed by the applicant.
  • Total combined household income must be less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is based on the number of members in the household.

Interested individuals with any questions about eligibility are encouraged to visit here and fill out the requested information. Residents may also call 609-588-2648 or 800-792-8339 toll free in New Jersey.

For additional information on the wireless devices pilot project, please visit here.