ATLANTA—With so many people staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, access to telecommunication has become more crucial than ever.
Georgia Relay and the Georgia Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GCDHH) remind Georgia residents who have difficulty using a telephone – including those who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficultly speaking – to take advantage of free resources that remain available to make conversing by phone easier.
Georgia Relay is the free public service that enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking to place and receive telephone calls. Overseen by the Public Service Commission and provided by Hamilton Relay, Georgia Relay service remains available 24/7 by dialing 7-1-1. Features offered through Georgia Relay include TTY (text telephone), Captioned Telephone (CapTel®*), Hearing Carry-Over (HCO), Voice Carry-Over (VCO), Speech-to-Speech (STS), and Spanish Relay.
In addition, Georgia residents who have difficulty using a telephone may qualify for free specialized equipment through the Georgia Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program (GATEDP). Administered by GCDHH, GATEDP offers a variety of specialized solutions to fit the diverse needs of its applicants, including: amplified and CapTel®phones, hands-free phones, tablets, visual alerts, personal amplifiers, speech equipment and more.
To qualify, Georgia residents must submit an official application and required supporting documents, including a signed certificate of need form and proof of income, residency, and home phone/internet service.
To adhere to social distancing recommendations, GCDHH staff are working remotely to receive GATEDP applications and respond to emails and phone calls about the program. Equipment is being shipped directly to qualified applicants at home, and free training is being provided via phone to ensure recipients know how to use their new devices.
“We’ve had to change the way we operate, but as far as GATEDP goes, we are still serving our customers,” said Alexis Kennedy, GATEDP Coordinator, GCDHH. “We acknowledge that because of social distancing, people – especially seniors – need our equipment even more now to stay connected to work, family and friends. We encourage anyone who may benefit to contact us and apply.”
For more information about GATEDP, including full qualifying information and applications, please visit www.gcdhh.org/gatedp, or contact GCDHH at 1-888-297-9461, 404-381-8447 (VP) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Georgia Relay, visit www.garelay.orgor contact Customer Care at 1-866-694-