Deaf-Blind Living Well Services


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The Deaf-Blind Living Well Services (DBLWS) is a new PA statewide initiative designed to help individuals who are deaf-blind to access information, achieve independence, and touch the future. This will be accomplished by DBLWS training independent contractors, known as SSPs (Support Service Providers), to support Pennsylvanians who have a dual sensory loss in both vision and hearing, and who are at least 18 and have completed high school. For the purpose of this project, Deaf-Blindness is defined according to the Helen Keller Act. 


SSPs link individuals who are deaf-blind to their environment by providing relevant information and acting as a guide and communication facilitator (but not as an interpreter or decision-maker).


With SSP services, people who are deaf-blind can lead an empowered, independent life in their work, family, and social activities. 


DBLWS will also provide ongoing support coordination and training to participants who are deaf-blind. This will include, but not be limited to, ensuring access to durable medical equipment, other community resources and training on how to manage their SSP’s on a day-to-day basis.


An SSP can make up to $20 per hour. SSPs do not work in the capacity of a personal care attendant or a care giver. SSPs do not make decisions for the person who is deaf-blind. SSPs provide visual environmental information, sighted guide services and information that the person who is deaf-blind can use to make their own informed decisions. SSPs provide services that allow persons who are deaf-blind to run errands, make purchases, read mail, and perform everyday tasks. 


SSPs are not employees of DBLWS. They are paid, independent contractors who commit to provide SSP services to an individual who is deaf-blind on a regular monthly schedule. Individuals who are deaf-blind, who qualify for SSP services, are allocated a set amount of hours each month for SSP services. 


An SSP must be able to travel and pass a background check. Anyone interested in being trained to become an SSP can contact Donald Gordon, DBLWS Program Manager or apply online by completing an online Training Request Application. 


The DBLWS’s Program Manager will conduct face-to-face meetings with participants who are deaf-blind to determine the most effective means to communicate and determine the needs of each participant in order to develop a plan of action for service coordination. DBLWS will provide ongoing training to persons who are deaf-blind on how to manage their SSPs on a day-to-day basis. DBLWS will create a SSP Registry Log of all qualified SSPs trained and available to persons who are deaf-blind and served by DBLWS.


The Center for Independent Living of Central PA is coordinating this statewide pilot project. Contact the CIL directly via voice or TY at 717-731-1900 or toll-free at 800-323-6060 to request applications in alternate formats or learn more. Electronic applications are available at

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