What is TAP?
The Kansas Telecommunications Access Program (TAP) is a telecommunications equipment distribution program. The program is funded pursuant to state law through the Kansas Universal Service Fund (KUSF) and is regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC). The purpose of TAP is to provide specialized equipment to Kansans with disabilities or impairments in order to access basic home telecommunication services.
Individuals who have a hearing, vision, speech, cognitive or mobility disability or impairment, or a combination of these disabilities/impairments can apply and receive equipment if the following eligibility requirements are met. Requirements are:
• Have residency in the state of Kansas
• Have telephone service in the home/residence
• Have a disability or impairment in which a specialized telephone would be more helpful
• Have a household gross income of less than $55,000 per year ($3,000 may be added for each dependent claimed).
On May 17, 1996, the State Telecommunications Act (HB 2728) was signed into law. It contained the following provision:
The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) shall: initiate and complete a proceeding by January 1st , 1997 to establish a competitively neutral mechanism to fund dual party relay services for Kansans who are speech or hearing impaired; telecommunications equipment for persons with visual impediments; and telecommunications equipment for persons with other special needs.
The KCC chose to fund these programs through the Kansas Universal Service Fund. www.kcc.state.ks.us/telecom/kusf_facts.htm
The Kansas Telecommunications Access Program and Kansas Relay Service are administered by
TAP issued the first voucher in November 1997 and have since processed over 30,000 applications for specialized telephones.