• Technology Resources

    This document contains some of the technology related resources that currently exist within the state of Pennsylvania. These resources are designed to help bridge the technology divide for many individuals and families across the state.

    Disclaimer:

    · Below is a list of potential resources that may be available within the state of Pennsylvania; this is not an exhaustive list

    · These are not PA Department of Human Services (DHS) resources, and as such, are not endorsed by DHS

    · Please note that local resources may have changed or been updated

     

    1) Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF): https://patf.us/who-we-are/publications/funding-your-assistive-technology/

     

    One of the leading obstacles for obtaining assistive technology (AT) is finding the money to pay for it. This Guide has been compiled by Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) in an effort to provide Pennsylvanians with disabilities, older Pennsylvanians, and their families help in navigating the complex web of funding options for AT devices and services.

     

    Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) can provide:

    · Financial loans for assistive technology (hearing aids, smart home tech, adapted vehicles, home modifications, etc.)

    · Information and assistance about assistive technology, funding resources and vendors

    · Financial education for people with disabilities

     

    2) Hebrew Free Loan Association (Pittsburgh): http://hflapgh.org/

     

    The Hebrew Free Loan Association of Pittsburgh offers interest-free loans on a nonsectarian basis to residents of Allegheny, Westmoreland, Washington, Butler, Beaver and Armstrong Counties who may not qualify for assistance through other institutions. Interest-free loans, instead of charity, help people achieve their goals while retaining financial stability and independence.

     

    3) Hebrew Free Loan Society of Greater Philadelphia: https://hflphilly.org/

     

    Hebrew Free Loan helps those living in the Philadelphia area with a temporary financial need by offering no interest, no fee loans. While most of our loans are only for members of the Philadelphia Jewish community, some are offered to both Jews and non-Jews. Credit-worthy co-signers are required for all loans. We lend for everything from post-secondary education to fertility treatments to day care and pre-school to medical and dental expenses to starting a new business, and much more.

     

    4) Achieva Family Trust: http://achievafamilytrust.org/charitable-residual-account/

     

    Sometimes individuals with disabilities and their families lack the financial resources to access critical special needs support. The Charitable Residual Account offered through the Achieva Family Trust can provide supplemental support and services (including technology) for children and adults with disabilities who are unable to pay for the services or supports on their own. The program is meant to be utilized when all other sources have been exhausted. Eligible applicants are individuals with disabilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

     

    5) Center for Independent Living-Central PA (CILCP): https://cilcp.org/

     

    The mission of the Center for Independent Living of Central Pennsylvania is to eliminate and prevent barriers that people with disabilities experience by providing ongoing advocacy and offering innovative programs and services.

     

    6) United Cerebral Palsy of Central Pennsylvania (UCP) https://www.ucpcentralpa.org/services/assistive-technology/ (includes PA UCP Lending Library)

     

    UCP’s Assistive Technology (AT) service offers a full range of devices, equipment, training, and supports that equip people to live with a greater degree of independence at home, at work, at school, and at play. Our AT services not only make everyday living easier for the user; they make otherwise impossible tasks possible.

     

    7) Technology for Our Whole Lives (TechOWL): https://techowlpa.org/

     

    Did you know that every state has a program to help people with disabilities and others explore, find and get the tools and technology they need? These tools may be needed for school, work, and life in the community. The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University is the home for this program in Pennsylvania. It is called Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology or “PIAT” (pee-aht) for short.

    PIAT is Pennsylvania’s Assistive Technology (AT) Act Program. PIAT and the other assistive technology programs and projects create TechOWL – Technology for Our Whole Lives.

     

    8) Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT) https://techowlpa.org/center/piat/

     

    Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT) is in Philadelphia. PIAT is a regional center for southeast Pennsylvania and is also the main organization for TechOWL. PIAT serves the following counties: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. PIAT strives to enhance the lives of all Pennsylvanians with disabilities, older Pennsylvanians, and their families, through access to and acquisition of assistive technology devices and services, which allow for choice, control and independence at home, work, school, play, and in their neighborhoods.

     

    9) Center for Assistance Technology (CAT) https://www.upmc.com/services/rehab/rehab-institute/services/cat

     

    A joint program of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, the Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) has emerged as a leader and innovator in the assistive technology field.

     

    10) PHLConnectED https://www.phila.gov/programs/phlconnected/

     

    PHLConnectED will connect eligible K–12 student households with access to reliable internet service at no cost through June 2022. Participants will not pay any out-of-pocket expenses or installation fees. The program will also provide digital skills training and support.

     

    There are three core components of PHLConnectED:

    · Wired, high-speed, reliable internet to the home from Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, or a high-speed mobile hotspot from T-Mobile for families who are housing insecure.

    · Distribution of devices, such as Chromebooks, tablets, or computers through their school.

    · Digital skills training and tech support.

    The PHLConnectED program prioritizes families with the greatest need for internet service. We will focus on connecting K–12 families who:

    · Do not have any internet access.

    · Have only mobile phone internet access.

    · Are homeless or housing insecure.

    · Have students who participate in remote learning in locations without internet access (outside of the primary household).

     

    The program’s eligibility has been expanded. You may also be eligible if you have internet in your home and:

    · Participate in public benefit programs with income qualifications.

    · Your child is an English Learner.

    · Your child receives special education services.

     

    Eligible households will be identified through data gathered by the Philadelphia School District of Philadelphia, the Charter Schools Office, and internet service providers.

     

    11) Comcast Xfinity https://www.internetessentials.com/

     

    At home Internet connection is more essential now than ever for today's families. In 10 years, Internet Essentials has connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million Americans to all the opportunities the Internet has to offer – from education and job skills training to healthcare resources.

     

    We partner with local communities to pass on the importance of being connected and provide low-cost Internet service (computers, too!) along with free training to safely unlock its potential. As the largest Internet adoption program in the nation, we stay true to our mission of empowering our customers and enriching communities with technology.

     

    Once you are an Internet Essentials customer, you have the option to purchase a laptop or desktop computer at a discounted price through one of our partners. Please visit the website for additional information.

     

    You may qualify if you:

    · Qualify for programs like the National School Lunch Program, housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others.

    · Live in an area where Comcast Internet service is available

    · Have not had Comcast Internet in the last 90 days

    · Households who owe money to Comcast may still qualify if approved by 06/30/21

     

    Update:

    As our country continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency, Comcast is taking immediate steps to make it easier to connect low-income families to home Internet.

    · New Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of Internet service if you apply and are approved by June 30, 2021. After promotion, regular rates apply.

    · For all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service has increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.

    · Households with outstanding debt owed to Comcast may be eligible for Internet Essentials. We are waiving this qualification if you apply and are approved by 06/30/21. After 06/30/21, standard eligibility rules apply.

     

    12) Comcast Xfinity “Lift Zones” Comcast Business Powering WiFi-Connected “Lift Zones” in Local Community Centers Nationwide

     

    In October 2020, Comcast announced a multiyear program to launch more than 1,000 WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” in community centers nationwide as part of its ongoing commitment to help connect low-income families to the Internet so they can fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy. Each Lift Zone will be powered by a combination of connectivity and security solutions from Comcast Business.

     

    Lift Zones are intended to help those students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to connect to distance learning at home, or who just want another place in which to study. They will provide students equal access to the Internet in safe, local spaces, as well as access to hundreds of hours of educational and digital skills training.

     

    Each Lift Zone location will be outfitted with a robust WiFi solution powered by Comcast Business at no cost. The sites will be equipped with a combination of Comcast Business’ award-winning Business Internet, WiFi Pro and SecurityEdge solutions; customized based on the size and unique connectivity needs of each location.

     

    13) Verizon Innovative Learning https://www.verizon.com/about/responsibility/digital-inclusion/verizon-innovative-learning

     

    Right now, millions of students here in the U.S. are lacking the connectivity, technology and skills required for success in today’s digital economy. That’s why we’ve been working to help foster digital inclusion through a transformative education program called

    Verizon Innovative Learning. It’s a key part of our goal to help move the world forward for all through our Citizen Verizon plan.

     

    This school year Verizon Innovative Learning is expanding to 111 new Title I schools across the country, for a total of 264 schools. For the first time, the program will be activated into high schools. In addition, our growing online resources and learning tools are available to all educators and students, a key driver in our quest to reach 10 million youth by 2030.

     

    Please click on the link above to learn more about this program.

     

    14) AT&T Internet Access Programs for Schools Closing the homework gap brief (att.com) AT&T eLearning Solutions for Education & Homework Gap

     

    To help close the gap and enable connected learning, AT&T is offering discounted unlimited wireless data plans1 and content filtering services to more than 135,000 public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities across the country for a limited time.

     

    Offer details include:

    · Schools can migrate existing AT&T lines or activate new lines for students on a qualified unlimited wireless data plan and content filtering service for $15 a month, with the additional option of an AT&T Moxee hot spot at no cost after bill credits.

    · For every 24 qualified student activations above, schools can activate 1 line with the same services for a teacher at no cost after bill credits to help them do what they do every day as classroom superheroes. · The offer is good through January 22, 2021 – schools that add at least one eligible line as part of this offer can also activate additional lines at the same price through December 29, 2022, at which point the promotional pricing ends.

     

    In addition to the discounted plans for schools to connect their students, AT&T is making a $10 million commitment to support at-risk students disconnected from learning with internet connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspots. We will also expand availability of tech-enabled tools and learning resources for students, teachers, schools, and parents working across company resources, including WarnerMedia, for ongoing support for this initiative.

     

    15) Federal Lifeline Program Get Connected - Universal Service Administrative Company (lifelinesupport.org)

     

    Lifeline is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone and internet. Eligible customers will get up to $9.25 toward their bill.

    Qualifications: · You can get Lifeline if your income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines. The guideline is based on your household size and state.

    · If You Use SNAP, Medicaid, or Other Programs

    o Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps

    o Medicaid

    o Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

    o Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)

    o Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit o Tribal Programs (and live on federally recognized Tribal lands)

    · Qualify through your child or dependent

     

    Tribal Lifeline Qualifications:

    · Tribal Lifeline takes up to an extra $25 off your monthly bill, for a total Lifeline discount of up to $34.25 per month.

    · You can get Tribal Lifeline if you live on Tribal lands.

    · If you live on Tribal lands, you can qualify for Lifeline if you or someone in your household participates in:

    o Any of the federal assistance programs listed above

    o Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance

    o Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)

    o Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)

    o Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

     

    Please visit the website above for additional information on how to apply for this program.

     

    16) National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) https://www.transitionta.org/system/files/covid19/No-tech%20to%20High%20Tech%20Resources.pdf

     

    While specifically for students transitioning from high school to post-secondary education/work/opportunities/vocational rehabilitation, this document could be utilized for any E&T programming, plus there are additional resources linked in the document.

     

    17) Free Library of Philadelphia https://libwww.freelibrary.org/

     

    Several Free Library locations in Philadelphia are now offering expanded services, including computer and wireless internet access, in-building material pickup, printing, and reference desk service. Many locations continue to offer returns, contactless material pickups, and phone reference. Visit our Services page or call your neighborhood library to see what's available.

     

    18) Spectrum Internet Assist Low Income Internet - Low Cost Internet for Families | Spectrum

     

    Spectrum makes it simple for qualified households to sign up for low income Internet assistance.

     

    Features:

    · Free Internet modem

    · High-speed Internet at 30 Mbps (Wireless speeds may vary)

    · No data caps

    · No contracts

    · Optional in-home WiFi service at $5/mo

    Requirements:

    One or more members of your household must be a recipient of one of the following assistance programs:

    · National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

    · Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP

    · Supplemental Security Income (for applicants age 65+ only)

     

    Note: Programs that do not qualify for Spectrum Internet Assist: Social Security Disability (SSD), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Social Security Retirement and Survivor Benefits are different from Supplemental Security Income and do NOT meet eligibility requirements.

     

    19) National Free WiFi Map WiFi Map - #1 WiFi Finder

    The National Free WiFi map provides free WiFi hotspots at businesses and restaurants that is searchable by address.

     

    20) PHLDonateTech PHLDonateTech: providing computers to families and residents in need | Office of Innovation and Technology | City of Philadelphia

     

    PHLDonateTech is a citywide effort to encourage individuals and businesses to donate their used computers to city residents who lack a working computer. It is estimated that nearly 20% of Philadelphia households may lack a working computer at home, preventing them from enrolling in job training or adult education programs, applying for work, accessing city services, paying their bills, accessing a telehealth visit, and more.

     

    Tablets, webcams, and mobile phones are all equipment that the recyclers and refurbishers can take and either repurpose or recycle sustainably. Please visit the link above to obtain additional information about this program.

     

    21) Electronic Access Foundation (EAF) PHLDonateTech - Electronic Access Foundation (e-access.org)

     

    Eliminating unused working computers and electronic equipment not only frees up storage space and reduces clutter but can also make a positive impact on those in need. Electronic Access Foundation (EAF) helps change people’s lives by putting donated surplus electronic equipment into the hands of qualified charitable organizations working directly with low income, veteran and disabled populations.

     

    EAF obtains donations through partnership with corporations, universities, and organizations by offering them an alternative to recycling of their surplus electronic equipment. In return for their donations, EAF offers these corporations, universities, and organizations:

    · Tax deduction for the fair market value of equipment

    · Removal of the equipment at no cost

    · Secure data sanitation at no cost, including hard drive-specific electronic reporting

     

    We are dedicated to the reuse of the surplus electronic equipment, as opposed to the recycling as waste, as a commitment to the community and environment. EAF is able to offer the same services as an IT asset recovery company while making sure the community at large will benefit from the material being donated.

     

    22) Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program https://getemergencybroadband.org/ https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit

     

    In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Congress appropriated $3.2 billion to the FCC to help low-income households pay for broadband service and connected internet devices.

     

    The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband services for eligible consumers. Consumers who live on qualifying Tribal lands can receive enhanced support of up to $75 per month toward broadband services.

     

    Additionally, the program provides a one-time device discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider. The one-time discount requires a consumer co-payment of more than $10 and less than $50.

     

    Eligibility: Consumers qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program) through participation in Lifeline or a Lifeline-qualifying program, by meeting certain income requirements (e.g., experiencing a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020), through participation in EBB-qualifying programs such as the free and reduced price school lunch program, through award of a federal Pell Grant, or through participation in an approved service provider’s low-income or COVID-19 program.

     

    The Emergency Broadband Benefit is temporary. It will expire when funds are exhausted or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declares the end of the COVID-19 health emergency. The FCC expects the EBB Program to be open to eligible households before the end of April 2021.