Updates Coming to State’s NSTEP Program


Lincoln, May 15, 2024- Beginning in July, qualified individuals receiving assistance from the
Nebraska Specialized Telecommunications Equipment Program (NSTEP) will notice some
updates to the program as a result of legislation (LB 1031) passed during the 2024 legislative

Administered by the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC), NSTEP assists qualified
individuals who are deaf, have visual/hearing loss, or a speech disability obtain specialized
telecommunications equipment.

“The NSTEP program helps to provide the deaf, hard of hearing and visually impaired
community access to telecommunication devices essential for their everyday lives,” said
Commission Chair Dan Watermeier. “We want to thank everyone who worked to help make
this process even more accessible to those in need of these services.”

“NCDDH is proud to have collaborated with the PSC since the establishment of NSTEP,”
NCDHH Lead Advocacy Specialists, Kim Davis said. “The updates to the NSTEP program
are a positive and necessary step in adapting to the constant evolvement of telecommunication devices and equipment.”

The new law updates the eligibility standards and criteria to allow two qualified residents
living at the same address to receive telecommunications equipment. Previously only one
resident per household was allowed to receive assistance. It also allows a recipient of
telecommunications equipment to reapply for NSTEP assistance every three years instead
of every five years.

To be eligible to receive a wireless device (cellphone) or other qualified telecommunication
equipment as a part of NSTEP, residents must complete an application, including a certification
by a professional that the applicant is deaf, hard of hearing, or has speech impairment.

Once deemed eligible, applicants will receive a voucher that they can take to a participating
vendor. The voucher will cover the cost of the equipment up to $1,000.  Participants are
responsible for any monthly fees associated with the device, including a required data plan,
if applicable.

Information on NSTEP and how residents can qualify for a voucher to be used toward the
cost of a mobile wireless device or to apply for other telecommunications equipment can be
found on the For Consumer TRS/NSTEP page of the PSC website or the NSTEP page of the
Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NCDDH) website.