Minnesotans who have a hearing, speech, or mobility impairment that affects their ability to use the telephone can get a variety of assistive equipment at no charge through a special state program known as the Equipment Distribution Program (EDP) .
Minnesotans eligible for the program, which has been in place since 1988, can get their equipment through seven regional service centers. The centers provide amplified telephones, hands-free speakerphones, loud ringers, flashing and tactile signalers, devices for people who are deaf and blind, and telecommunications devices for the deaf, or TTYs keyboard devices that send and receive typed telephone messages. EDP staff determine the appropriate devices, provide training in hookup and use, and arrange for equipment repair.
EDP is administered by the Department of Human Services’ Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division and funded by a surcharge on all local telephone bills. In addition to meeting the functional eligibility guidelines mentioned above, applicants also must already have telephone service (or have applied for service) and meet income guidelines.
Information about EDP is available by calling (800) 657-8663 (voice) or 1-800-657-3513 (TTY). The regional service centers are in St. Paul, Duluth, Bemidji, St. Peter, Rochester, St. Cloud and Fergus Falls.