In July of 2022, the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing received federal funding to help assist with communication access challenges in Nebraska, known as ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. The funds were then separated into two areas: Rural and Legal. The legal communication access fund provides reimbursement for communication access expenses in areas related to legal settings. The rural fund provides reimbursement for costs associated with providing communication access outside of Lincoln and Omaha, and the guidelines have recently been updated.
Previously, the rural fund provided reimbursement for the use of onsite, in-person, licensed sign language interpreters. Now, new guidelines have been extended to allow reimbursement for more than just in-person licensed sign language interpreters outside of the Lincoln and Omaha metro areas. Examples of what are now additionally included are: Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) using licensed VRI providers, CART, or other auxiliary aid or service to provide effective communication access.
More information, including reimbursement guides on both the legal and rural communication access funds can be found on our website at www.ncdhh.nebraska.gov/arpa.