Free Special Phone Program

If you have trouble using a regular telephone, you might be able to get free special equipment.

Free Special Phones are for people who have difficulty hearing, talking, seeing, thinking or moving. Some people start having trouble as they get older or after an accident. Other people have always had a disability. Disabilities include deafness, hearing loss, speech impairment, blindness or have visual problems as well as physical or intellectual disabilities.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a Pennsylvania resident with a disability or disabilities that prevent you from making and/or receiving phone calls independently;
  • Be six years of age or older;
  • Have an individual gross income of 200% of the federal poverty level or less;
  • Have a current home or mobile telephone service (or the ability to get mobile phone service); and
  • Have the ability to learn how to use the requested device(s).

If you can answer YES to ALL of the above questions, you may be eligible for free equipment.

If you are eligible, you get to choose your equipment from our catalog. Before you choose equipment, learn about your choices.

In order to make the best decision, we STRONGLY suggest that you either borrow equipment from our lending library or meet with us and see all of the possible choices you have.

Once you choose your equipment, your decision is final and it cannot be exchanged.

Cost

Equipment is FREE for qualified people. Please contact us to find out if you are eligible for this service. This program is paid for by a small surcharge on everyone’s home phone bill through the public utilities commission.

Locations

  • UCPNE – United Cerebral Palsy of Northeastern PA
  • UCPCP – United Cerebral Palsy of Central PA
  • TRPIL – Transitional Paths to Independent Living
  • CLASS – Community Living and Support Services
  • PIAT – PA’s Initiative on Assistive Technology
  • LVCIL – Lehigh Valley CIL
  • CIL of NCPA – CIL of North Central PA
  • CRI – Community Resources for Independence
  • LIFT – Life and Independence for Today

Made Possible By…

The long name for this free program is Pennsylvania’s Telecommunication Device Distribution Program (TDDP). The program uses a small surcharge on traditional phone bills to give special phones to people in our state with disabilities.

Created through PA ACT 34-1995, the TDDP is implemented by Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT), a program of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, in conjunction with the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC).

Income Requirements

FINANCIAL ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES, AS OF JANUARY 12, 2024.
Gross Yearly Income (200% of federal poverty guidelines)

Size of Family Unit
1 – $30,120
2 – $40,880
3 – $51,640
4 – $62,400
5 – $73,160
6 – $83,920
7 – $94,680
8 – $105,440

For each additional person, add $10,760.

If You Don’t Qualify

Please contact your resource center and maybe we can work with you to find the phone you need.

Next Steps

Before you start the application please make sure to have all of this information.

1) Proof of Residence – ONE of the following: copy of current driver’s license, non-driver ID, utility bill, school report card or anything pre-printed with the applicant’s name and current street address.

2) Proof of Telephone Service – ONE page of your most recent telephone bill with your telephone number on it. If phone service is shared in a residential facility, please submit a statement about your access to phone service on facility letterhead and signed by a facility staff member.

3) Proof of applicant’s income. Your most recent information is required. Examples include: w-2, 1099, award letters from retirement and/or social security.)

4) Signed Certificate of Disability

5) Your equipment choice(s).

Learn more!

Please email TDDP@temple.edu or call us at 215-204-7428 if you have any questions about the Free Special Phone Program.


You can also email TDDP@temple.edu for an accessible, fillable PDF application.

To mail in your application and documents, please download ONE of the following:

  1. The application to be completed by hand
  2. The application that can be filled on the computer.

Please email TDDP@temple.edu if you need an application in any other language other than English