New tablet program for low-income Marylanders with disabilities

Posted at 8:50 AM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 10:45:55-04

Maryland Relay, a state-run public service that assists people who are unable to use a standard telephone, is now accepting applications for no-cost tablets.

Governor Larry Hogan announced that the tablets will be available for qualifying, low-income Marylanders with disabilities through the Maryland Accessible Telecommunications program.

“Our administration is focused on finding ways to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens,” said Hogan. “The tablet program is just the latest example of how we are working to ensure that all Marylanders, regardless of disability, are able to communicate with ease — an ability that many of us take for granted.”

The tablets come pre-loaded with software including video chat or captioned telephone program. 

“For a child or adult who is deaf, deaf and blind, hard of hearing, or has difficulty speaking - access to a tablet computer can make a significant difference in their ability to communicate successfully,” said Brenda Kelly-Frey, director of Telecommunications Access of Maryland. “A person using a tablet is no longer tethered to a landline, and can make calls from anywhere at any time using WiFi."

Hogan's announcement coincided with the start of “Telecommunications for All Week” in Maryland, which lasts from Sunday, Sept. 11 through Saturday, Sept. 17.

Those who are unable to use a standard phone because of their hearing status, speaking difficulties, cognitive abilities or motor function can visit the Maryland Relay website for more information on how to apply for a no-cost tablet. Once approved, applicants will be evaluated to ensure the equipment suits their needs.

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