Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program is here to keep telephones an integral part of your daily life, providing free assistive telecommunications equipment to qualified residents of the State of Maryland.
MAT distributes free amplified phones, ring signalers, TTYs and other assistive devices to qualified applicants who have difficulty using the telephone. To qualify, applicants must be receiving one or more state or federal benefits or show that they have a limited income. In addition, applicants must have a disability that makes it difficult for them to access a standard telephone.
The Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program is part of the Telecommunications Access of Maryland (TAM) unit within the Maryland Department of Information Technology, which oversees Maryland Relay. Answers to many questions about the MAT program such as: who qualifies, how to apply, what kind of equipment is available, and more may be found below!
To qualify you must:
- Be a Maryland resident.
- Be at least 5 years old, (persons under 18 must have application signed by parent or legal guardian)
- Be a recipient of SSI (Supplemental Security Income), SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), TDAP (Temporary Disability Assistance Program), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), VA (Veterans), SSA (Social Security) benefits or Pharmacy, Medical or Housing Assistance.
- Be certified as having one of the following disabilities: mobility, blind, low vision, cognitive, DeafBlind, speech, DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING, and have difficulty using a standard telephone.
- Have telephone service in your home or apply for phone service
What kind of equipment is available for me?
The MAT program is for individuals whose disability prevents them from using the telephone without an assistive device. No two people are alike and neither are their abilities or disabilities. Before equipment can be ordered, customers are required to receive an assessment to determine which telephone is best for their communications needs. Assessments usually take place at one of five MAT Evaluation Centers located across the state.
When will I know if I am approved?
After our office receives your application, it will be reviewed for completeness. Once you are approved, a letter of "congratulations" will be mailed to you. You should receive your equipment within 4 to 5 weeks. If your application is incomplete, you will receive a letter asking for more information. Once all the information is received in our office, the review of your application will begin.
Where do I pick up my equipment once I am approved?
Once you receive a letter of "congratulations," your equipment will be delivered to your home via UPS. If you have not received your package after 6 weeks, please contact the Equipment Coordinator at the MAT office by calling 1-800-552-7724 (voice/TTY).
Do I get a warranty with my equipment?
Most of the equipment provided through the MAT program has a warranty. Information about the warranty will be enclosed with your equipment. If you have problems with the device during the warranty period, call the MAT office. You will be advised to what steps to take to send it for repair. When you do, be sure to enclose a note stating that it is MAT equipment, along with your name and mailing address and an explanation of the problem you are having with the device. Repairs under warranty will be free of charge, unless the device has been abused or misused. If the damage is a result of misuse or abuse, you must pay for the shipping and repairs or the cost of replacing the equipment. All equipment is the property of the State of Maryland and is on "long term loan" to you. If you are moving outside the State of Maryland, the equipment must be returned to the MAT office prior to your move, or you will have to pay the full price of the equipment.
If I am not receiving SSI, SSDI, Social Security benefits, or the others listed above, but have a very limited income; may I apply?
Yes, individuals will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In addition to filling out the standard application form, please send the following information:
COPY of ONE of these (please do not send originals):
- Last 2 pay stubs
- Unemployment pay stubs, OR
- Last year’s income tax form
- COPY of your telephone bill (or other Utility Bill)
- COPY of your Photo ID, driver’s license or identification card
Will someone teach me how to use my new equipment?
Free training on the use of your equipment will be provided, if necessary. You may arrange for training by contacting the MAT office.
I want a special phone, but I want to buy it myself - where can I go?
The following is a list of vendors who sell assistive phones: