Before applying for grants for assistive devices, individuals with disabilities should avail themselves of services available in all states. The following agencies provide support, guidance, training, education and ownership of assistive devices that will go beyond the college experience:
Protection and Advocacy is an agency federally mandated to operate in every state. They provide legal services and assist clients with discrimination, accessibility and recommendations. The agency advocates for the legal rights of the disabled and mentally ill. Other agencies include Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies. The Social Security Administration usually approves work and education plans prepared by Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies that include materials and assistive technology for school.
Assistive technology that is considered medically necessary to read, hear, and communicate can be funded through Medicare. At the Medicare website you are directed to the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America for more information. All a disabled person needs is a prescription from their doctor to qualify for ownership because they are considered medically necessary. Some of the assistive technology includes telephones for those with visual impairments (large buttons, loud rings, etc) or for those with hearing impairments (TDD machines). A person who cannot hear can type his message to a hearing person or connect to a service that will relay the information to a hearing person who does not have a TDD machine on their end. These implements are simple enough to use and aid in communication while away to college.
A young adult of 18 years of age who has sustained a disability will be able to collect Social Security Disability Insurance and may be eligible for supplemental income under SSI and continue to receive Medicare benefits. The young adult's eligibility is no longer tied to his parent's income. Any type of assistive technology that is deemed to be "medically necessary" will typically be covered under the "durable medical equipment" section of benefits. The types of AT devices can include a chair lift, a power wheelchair and prosthetics.