What Is the SSP Statewide Pilot Program?

What Is the SSP Statewide Pilot Program?

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According to the Helen Keller National Center, “Support Service Providers (SSP’s) are specially trained individuals who enable people who are DeafBlind to access their environments and make informed decisions by providing them with visual and environmental information, human guide services and communication facilitation.

SSPs do not make decisions for the clients but rather provide information empowering the clients in making their own informed choices.


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To be eligible for services from the SSP Statewide Pilot Program at Columbus Speech & Hearing (CSH), an individual must:

  • Be a permanent Ohio resident
  • Be over the age of 18 or not covered by an Individual Education Plan (IEP) through a school system
  • Meet the DeafBlind eligibility criteria
  • Meet the funding and service criteria
  • Have ability to be self-determining
  • Be a willing participant in surveys and data collection regarding SSP services

Ohio Residency

A person is considered a permanent resident if they meet the criteria for Ohio residency status according to the definitions established by OOD.

DeafBlind Eligibility

In general, the individual must have a certain vision loss and a hearing loss that, when combined, cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities.

Who Can Attest to a Person’s Disability Eligibility?

A practicing professional who has direct knowledge of the person’s vision and hearing loss, such as:

  • Audiologist
  • Community-based service provider
  • Educator
  • HKNC representative
  • Medical/health professional
  • School for the deaf and/or blind
  • Specialist in DeafBlindness
  • Speech pathologist
  • State equipment/assistive technology program
  • Vision professional
  • Vocational rehabilitation counselor

Existing documentation that a person is DeafBlind, such as an OOD referral, or a statement from a public or private agency, such as a Social Security determination letter, may serve as verification of DeafBlindness.

Funding and Service Eligibility

To be eligible for services under the SSP Pilot Program funded through Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), no other entities are legally required to pay for the services being billed.
The SSP Program Manager or other designee will verify no other entities are legally required to pay for the services being billed. The program manager may obtain a release of information to confirm with county or contracted caseworkers. Records of phone calls, emails or other documents to this effect will be kept in the consumer’s file.

Exceptions may be made for persons on a waiver, who receive county services, or who participate in other DeafBlind services; provided that that funding source will not pay for the specific service/time currently being billed to the SSP Pilot Program.

The initial pilot program has allowed for the funding of services for 10 DeafBlind participants.

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