Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Deafread.com...HELP PLEASE!! I Need Some Info!

I have become the official Italian international go-between girl. One of the moderators of the Italian Deaf Forum online sent me a letter asking me a question. She wrote:

Ciao Jodi,
As you may have seen on the forum, we often discuss about laws that assist deaf people in Italy. Someone asked what the situation was in other countries, so I thought I'd ask you how it works in the USA.

I mean, do Deaf people have any economical advantages? If so, what are they based on? Age? Income? Degree of deafness? Language? etc. What exactly are the governmental benefits provided to Deaf individuals?

*I have no flippin' clue*

Could someone please give me a link or an answer?

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

None in New Zealand :(

Anonymous said...

Three I can think of off the top of my head:

1. Golden Access Passport (a permit to enter U.S. National Parks) is given to applicants with disabilities and access to the parks is sometimes FREE.

2. Real Estate Property taxes in the state of Hawaii are discounted for people with disabilities.

3. Long Distance Phone calls are FREE via the Relay Service.


J.J. said...

Hi Jodi,

Here are my thoughts one by one:

1.) I mean, do Deaf people have any economical advantages?

Yes, the advantages are in securing employment in deaf schools, human services (working with disabled people who are also deaf), working as a certified deaf interpreter (translating gestures to ASL/English), and the video relay service industry. However, on the other hand...we cannot get telemarketing jobs or secretarial jobs or any job involving heavy phone usage or interaction with hearing people.

2.) If so, what are they based on? Age? Income? Degree of deafness? Language? etc.

Not based on anything other than proficiency at using ASL. We do compete with hearing people that sign well too.

3.) What exactly are the governmental benefits provided to Deaf individuals?

Deaf people like all disabled people in America are entitled to disability benefits. It varies from case to case depending on degree of disability. Otherwise, no other governmental benefits other than the FCC paying for all of our relay calls.


This is just quick off the top of my head...do tell us how it is in Italy...am curious though...

MB said...

For kids the benefits vary by state, and are few if any. Adults can qualify for social security disability pay but it isn't easy. The basics are 90 db loss and 40% or less speech discrimination score in the better ear. But that's only the beginning; I hear it can be a battle.

More info here -

Anonymous said...

Economical Advantages would be Supplemental Security Income. One does not have to have work history and is for anyone who is disabled with limited income and assets. SSA site has all that information.

Then there is SSDI (Social Security Disability Income), which I would may not consider it to be "Economical Advantages" but, it's there should one find it difficult to work any longer or for whatever reasons. You have to have certain work credit to be eligible and there are critieras as to what is considered eligible disabilities. How much you get is based on work history and salary/hourly pay history.

Almost every major city public transit offer discounts to the disabled as well as deaf people. Amtrak also offers discounts for disabled, including deaf/hoh. Proof of disability is required.

Many states department of human services or whatever.. do offer free hearing aids to school aged children. I don't know if they still do that. Every state is different.

DVR (Dept of Vocational Rehabilitation) or DORS - The name itself varies in every state, do offer financial assistance for college and/or vocational training. But, over the years, less deaf people are covered 100% due to budget, I presume. There is no age requirement, except proof of disability and priority service based on type/number of disability one has.

Hmm..that's about all I can think of. California has the BEST services for deaf/disabled people. Again, I have no idea how it is these days.

Again, because many of these programs are run by the state (some with federal dollars), services varies by state.

Unknown said...

Thank you all SO much for taking the time to reply, it is greatly appreciated. If I can't ask you, who can I ask?
J.J. (thanks)
I need to inform myself better and as I go along I will be doing so, but for now I can only tell you about my son's benefits.
1. He will never pay for prescriptions or public healthcare in his lifetime.
2. He can ride public transportation free of charge and I get a companion ticket at half price (train) that I still have never done.
3. We have never paid for a minute of speech therapy in his lifetime. He used to go four times a week for a half an hour - an hour a session.
4. He receives a monthly stipend to cover extra costs. He will receive a monthly stipend the rest of his life- that amount will depend on whether he works. For example, he will receive a certain amount when he is 18 if he attends the university as opposed to whether he has a job.
5. The Italian National Healthcare System has paid for all cochlear implant expenses including our recent switch from the Esprit 3G to the Freedom. Based on a regional deliberation, we no longer pay for repairs or batteries.
6. He has a support teacher in the classroom for a total of 11 hours a week.
7. Based on the fact that our son is deaf, we have the right to the Law 104 which basically provides my husband with more job security-he can't be suddenly transferred from where we live and many other securities.
8. We would pay 4% sales tax on electronics and a new car instead of 20%.
9. My son does not have to pay for events organized by the Municipality where we live, for example, if he wanted to take swimming classes, he would not pay the 155 euros per three month session.
10. If the audiologist prescribes a vibrating watch or a device necessary for Jordan, we would not have to pay for that.
As I've said a million times, we are extremely fortunate and well taken care of here in Italy. I appreciate these services because I know that these do not exist in the USA, but oftentimes Italians take them for granted and expect them, because they don't know the reality elsewhere.
Btw. the moderator of the forum told me that if a person is diagnosed with hearing loss no matter the degree after 12 years of age, they have no right to these services.
Thanks again,

Anonymous said...

Hi Jodi, I believe most of this is state-specific (MA), but we have GREAT benefits for the little ones (pre-public school age):

1. MA comm for deaf & HOH advocate assigned to child from 0-18 yrs to make certain you are aware of all state-provided services, benefits, educational options -- and ours is a rock star, literally (Rosa Lee Gallimore)

2. 20 free 2-hr-long ASL classes (in the home) for entire family (and any friends invited)

3. Additional remote ASL classes provided free of charge via video relay

4. free video relay equipment, door flashers, alarms and service, etc. (and I think the video relay benefit extends to grandparents as well as immediate families)

5. early intervention program of speech and language therapy (in our case, EI has provided up to 4 SLP sessions a week for 2 years, focused on ASL pre-CI and speech/ASL post-CI -- although household earnings do factor in, so max fee is $500/year

6. twice weekly 2-hr long parent infant program/playgroup, and moderated weekly parent group with experts/speakers who advise on things like preparing for transition to pre-K, IEPs, how to manage your benefits and services, Deaf culture, how to keep those processors on active heads, how to find ASL classes, etc.

7. state provides interpreters for any education-related meetings, although scheduling can be a little hard

8. full tuition provided for Pre-K (this, along with the SLP therapy, is a BIG cost: worth a comparable ~$15-$20K): local school districts are required to provide appropriate pre-K services for special needs kids free of charge, so deaf kids receive either mainstream pre-K within their local school district or the district pays for private school tuition and transportation to/fro if not equipped

9. many MA hospitals sponsor hearing aid loaner programs

10. in this state, health insurance is required, so everyone is covered for medical care - 2 cochlear implants fully covered

Anonymous said...

That's interesting, Jodi.

Germany has wonderful health benefits.

Normay is the socialism that covers everything. However, prices are very, very pretty expensive down there.

Pretty interesting......

Thanks for letting us know about Italy's health benefits. Learning something new in Italy.


White Ghost

Anonymous said...

Wow! Italy has a GREAT benefit for Jordon! And, I thought Germany was the best. Jodi, is Italy a socialist country?