Senior sign up for free phones

Thursday, March 3, 2005
TELEPHONE PROGRAM: Dwight Holmes signs up Ken Abrahams for the assisted telephone program last week at Thayer Fun and Friends Senior Citizen Center.

Staff Writer

Dwight Holmes of Alton was kept busy last week signing up Oregon County residents with hearing and other problems for free enhanced telephones.

Holmes is working in conjunction with Ozark Independent Living and AgrAbilty, a federally funded state program that supplies the phones.

Last week at the Alton Senior Citizens Center he signed up 21 persons for the service, and at Thayer Fun and Friends Senior Citizen Center he signed up 17. He said in the last three weeks in Oregon County he has signed up 70 for the telephone service.

Holmes works with Brad Marsh from Columbia. He explained that to be eligible for the program a person must be a Missouri resident and have telephone service in his home. "The resident must have a certified disability that prevents them from accessing or effectively using a basic telephone with standard telephone equipment." Marsch said. He said a household's annual adjusted income cannot exceed $60,000 for one person plus a second exemption, spouse or dependent. For each additional dependent claimed, $5,000 can be added to the $60,000 base level.

He said the purpose of the program is to provide access to basic telephone calling (both sending and receiving) for persons with all types of disabilities through adaptive telephone equipment. Marsh said phones provided include: text telephones, voice carry-overphones, phones for hearing carry over, amplified phones. Braille phones, hand free phones and photo phones.

Oregon County residents interested in learning if they qualify for a phone can call Holmes at 417-778-7490 or 417-778-6541 to see where the next signup for the program will be.

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