Programs of the California Utilities Commission
Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program
Free Specialized Phones Make It Easier to Hear, Dial, and Call.
If you’re like many seniors, you could use a new telephone that increases the volume of calls so you can hear them better, or one with big buttons so dialing is easier. More than 90 specialized phones and devices for people with diminished hearing, vision, mobility, and other common age-related conditions are available at no cost from the state’s California Telephone Access Program (CTAP), a program of the California Public Utilities Commission.
This free Program is a vital and wonderful service for California seniors because it keeps people connected with family, friends, caregivers, business associates, and others. Unfortunately, despite the easy process of applying for one of the many specialized California Phones, many people put off getting onboard with the Program.
“What happens, and this happens with most people who are hard of hearing and/or deaf, is you don’t want to tell people you have a problem, so you just act like you’re hearing,” says Lorraine Rosenblatt, a CTAP customer. “It just causes lots of problems later.”
Ms. Rosenblatt, like hundreds of thousands of California residents, took action and made the decision to get a free California Phone. She had her doctor certify her disability by signing a simple application form, then stopped by her local CTAP Service Center the same day to pick up her new amplified phone.
There are California Phones that light up when calls come in, amplify sound, allow you to dial by pressing a picture, and use a speakerphone for hands-free operation. These phones and others are from top manufacturers and have all been tested by CTAP’s advisory board.
You can learn more about the Program and obtain an application by calling 1-800-806-1191 or visiting www.californiaphones.org. If you need help getting certified just ask a customer service specialist. There is no cost, age, or income requirement for this state program, so there is no reason not to stay connected!