Funding for Home and Community
For people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late-Deafened or Oral Deaf
Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH)
Need funding for a hearing aid or other related AT? MCDHH (at Mass.gov) provides this AT Web page with numerous useful resource links including: "Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids" (public and private sources), and "Hearing Aid Purchase Plan/Financing Information."
Independent Living Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHILS)
DHILS may provide loans of assistive communication equipment, (i.e. TTYs and assistive listening devices), loans of environmental alert systems, and help with applying for funding for needed AT. Under certain conditions DHILS can also assist with a hearing aid purchase. Read more.
DHILS programs have access to Title VII Part B federal funds. This is a modest funding source for assistive technology for person with disabilities whose goals are to function more independently at home and in the community. Waiting lists can be long.
Any Deaf, late-deafened, or hard of hearing person is eligible for DHILS services.
DHILS programs employ persons who are themselves Deaf, late-deafened, or hard of hearing in order to provide a peer support environment. Independent Living Specialists work with Deaf, late-deafened, and hard of hearing people to set and achieve their own personal goals for independent functioning in family, school, employment, and community situations. This process leads to the development of an Independent Living Plan (ILP). The ILP should document any needed AT or service. Thereafter, the IL Specialist arranges for the necessary AT or service.
What AT is Provided?
DHILS may provide loans of assistive communication equipment, such as TTYs and assistive listening devices; they may also be able to loan environmental alert systems or assist consumers with the process of applying for assistance to purchase AT. DHILS may also be able to assist with a hearing aid purchase under certain conditions. The program requires that the need for a hearing aid is justified with medical documentation, and that the specific device recommendation comes from a licensed audiologist. DHILS will only pay for a hearing aid once in a client's lifetime, and will not cover device repair or replacement if the device is lost.
Boston Metro Region:
Metro West Region:
Center for Living & Working
24 Union Avenue, Suite 4
Framingham, MA 01702
(508) 755-1003 TTY/Voice
(888) 773-4281 FAX
Contact: Joan Philip
c/o United Way
105 Williams Street
2nd Floor, Room 25
New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 990-1382 TTY/Voice
(508) 996-2170 FAX
Cape Organized for the Rights of the Disabled (CORD)
1019 Lyanough Rd. #4
Hyannis, MA 02601
(508) 775-8300 TTY/Voice
(508) 775-7022 Fax
Contact: Theresa Quin
Greater North Shore
35 Congress Street, Suite204
Salem, MA 01970
DHILS Services and Regional Contact: Carol Hilbinger
66 Main Street
Taunton, MA 02789
DHILS Services Contact: Carol Hilbinger
Central and Western Region:
Center for Living & Working
484 Main Street, Suite 340
Worcester, MA 01608
Contact: Joan Philip
Department of Interpreter/CART Referral Services
Access to sign language interpreter services and other interpreter/transliterator services, including Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART); the Department also maintains a fund for the purchase of interpreter and CART services for situations in which no one is legally responsible to pay for the service. Read more.
MCDHH provides a statewide interpreter referral service. Under state law (M.G.L. Chapter 6§196), MCDHH is mandated to "Maintain and coordinate a statewide Interpreter Referral Service for use by any public and private agencies and individuals for any situation including emergencies." This is a unique service. Most states do not have a centralized resource of this kind. The Interpreter/CART Referral Department will also provide advocacy for anyone needing interpreter services who is having trouble obtaining them from an organization, business, or other legally responsible entity.
Anyone needing interpreter or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) referral services can access them through the Department (there are no income guidelines). The "requester" should be the entity who is legally responsible to pay, however (i.e. the doctor's office, employer, etc.) Requests for interpreters for situations where there is no one legally responsible to pay are made by consumers themselves.
The Department maintains a roster of screened or certified interpreters and CART providers (independent contractors). "Screened" means that MCDHH has found these individuals to be compliant with established standards for interpretation in the Commonwealth. These providers are contacted by the Interpreter/CART Referral Services Department to fill requests that come into the Department. The Department attempts to honor consumer preferences for individual interpreters and communication styles whenever possible. Requests should be made with a minimum of two weeks lead-time in order to find appropriate and available interpreter or CART providers. MCDHH receives over 2,000 requests per month and may not be able to fill all requests.
What AT Services are Provided:
The Commission provides referral services to meet the diverse communication needs of consumers who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Late Deafened in a variety of settings including medical, mental health, legal, education, employment, recreation, and social services. The referral service also provides After Hours Emergency Interpreter Services. Referral services are provided for sign language, spoken English, oral, tactile, and close vision interpreting, as well as for CART services.
In most cases the Department does not pay for the interpreter/CART services, as employers, public and private agencies, healthcare, private businesses and other organizations are responsible for providing reasonable accommodation under the ADA. For situations in which no one is legally responsible to pay for the service (i.e. for religious services, support groups, etc.), however, the Department maintains a small Community Fund for the purchase of interpreter and CART services. Interpreters bill MCDHH directly for Community Fund assignments. MCDHH approves Community Fund requests based on funding availability.
Interpreter/CART Referral Services:
Toll Free: 800-530-7570 TTY
Toll Free: 800-882-1155 Voice
Hours: 8:45 a.m. - 5:00 PM, Monday - Friday
Dial (617) 265-8447
or use the following IP
Emergency Interpreter/CART Service Requests: