NJ Human Services Announces Increased Hearing Aid Assistance & Enhanced Deaf and Hard of Hearing Equipment Distribution
New State Budget Boosts Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing New Jerseyans
July 12, 2021
(TRENTON) – Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced that the Department under the new state budget signed by Governor Murphy increases hearing aid assistance and enhances the equipment distribution program for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
The new investments make it possible to boost the Hearing Aid Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (HAAAD) program and the Equipment Distribution Program, both of which are offered by Human Services’ Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DDHH).
“These enhanced services provide critical supports to deaf and hard of hearing individuals,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “The new state budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Murphy continues to strengthen services and programs to deaf and hard hearing New Jerseyans by expanding access to services and increasing supports for individuals with hearing loss.”
“The new state budget enhances two critical deaf and hard of hearing services that will make a meaningful impact in the lives of New Jerseyans living with hearing loss,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “Increasing hearing aid reimbursements will put dollars back into the pockets of individuals paying for hearing aids out of pocket and expanding the equipment distribution program will ensure that more individuals have access to life saving adaptive equipment.”
“Too many members of our deaf and hard of hearing community struggle to afford hearing aids and devices that are vital to their quality of life,” Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Executive Director Elizabeth Hill said. “The additional funding ensures that those in need receive critical supports and services that allows them to live independent and empowering lives.”
The new state budget increases reimbursement rates for the HAAAD program and boosted funding for DDHH by $500,000.
The HAAAD program has provided individuals with a $100 reimbursement to offset the cost of purchasing a hearing aid per calendar year.
The budget signed by Governor Murphy immediately increases the reimbursement to $500 per hearing aid per with a potential of up to $1,000.
It is the first increase in the program’s reimbursement rate since the program was created in 1987.
HAAAD beneficiaries must be enrolled in the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) program or the Lifeline Utility Assistance program – or meet the eligibility criteria for those programs – to participate.
Residents not enrolled in the PAAD or Lifeline program are encouraged to complete an NJSave application to verify age or disability status, residency and annual income.
For additional information on the HAAAD program please visit here.
Additionally, the state budget expands DDHH’s Equipment Distribution Program (EDP). This program has been in operation since 1993 to ensure that New Jersey residents with hearing loss have access to telecommunications and visual alerting home safety equipment needed to live independently.
The additional funding raises the EDP income eligibility to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, meaning that for a family of two, the new income limit is $69,680. For a family of three, the new limit is $87,840, and for a family of four the new income limit is $106,000.
The expanded EDP has added several new devices, including include a smoke detector, carbon monoxide alarm and the Sonic Alert Home Aware, which is an additional piece of safety equipment for those who have smoke and CO2 detectors installed.
DDHH has also added a wireless doorbell that works for apartments and homes with a range of up to 500 feet.
Also, an amplified cordless handheld telephone has been added, which benefits those who like to move around while on the telephone. Also, for those who take care of infants and young children, DDHH is now offering an additional baby alert device.
Individuals can visit here to learn more about the EDP.