Frequently Asked Questions
What services does NCBVI provide?
NCBVI provides a wide variety of services aimed at empowering blind and visually impaired Nebraskans to live independently, attain higher education, and find, retain, and advance in their careers.
Vocational rehabilitation services to assist blind and low vision adults find, maintain, and advance in employment
In-home and short-term residential training in blindness skills, including independent travel with a long white cane, using public transportation, reading and writing Braille, computer and smartphone usage, adaptive technology, cooking, cleaning, home management, basic home maintenance and woodworking, and independent living skills.
Independent living skills training for homemakers, stay-at-home parents, older adults, and other adults who may not have employment goals
Provision of adaptive technology and independent living aids, such as computers, screen reading and magnification software, talking clocks, magnifiers, and long white canes
Youth services, including job exploration counseling; counseling on college, technical school, and other training opportunities; employment readiness training; work experience; mentoring; independent living skills training; self-advocacy training; and summer camps, and summer work experience and career-readiness programs
Financial aid for blind and low vision college, university, vocational, and technical school students
Assistance to blind entrepreneurs to start food service businesses and other small businesses in government buildings and rest areas, including training, resources, and ongoing support
Who is eligible for services?
To qualify for NCBVI services, an individual must have vision loss that significantly impacts their ability to perform the activities of daily living. The applicant must reside legally in Nebraska and require NCBVI services to achieve their vocational or independent living goals.
Services are available regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, disability, marital status, national origin, and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination under state law.
If you or someone you know is experiencing significant vision loss, contact us for an assessment of your eligibility.
Phone Number: 402-471-2891
Toll Free: 877-809-2419
4600 Valley Road
Suite 100, Lincoln, NE 68510
Does NCBVI serve people with vision loss who have additional disabilities?
Yes, NCBVI serves all blind and low vision Nebraskans, including those who have additional disabilities, chronic illnesses, and/or mental health conditions. We’re happy to consult with other service providers you may work with, such as physical and occupational therapists and mental health counselors. This allows us to educate them on blindness-related techniques and tools that may help them in their work with you. It also allows us to learn about the mobility aids and daily living tools you use for disabilities other than your vision loss. Working together, we can ensure that we serve you as effectively as possible in order to help you reach your education, career, and independent living goals.
What is the cost of NCBVI services?
All NCBVI services are provided free of charge. NCBVI is funded by federal and state government grants as well as private donations.
What kind of jobs can blind and low vision people do?
People who are blind and visually impaired work in almost every career field imaginable. There are blind teachers, lawyers, engineers, biologists, chefs, university professors, retail workers, mechanics, custodians, childcare workers, and small business owners. Other people who are blind and low vision choose to be stay-at-home parents or active homemakers. Regardless of your career or independent living goals, NCBVI can equip you to reach them.
Can blind and visually impaired people raise children?
Yes, absolutely! Millions of blind and low vision people across the United States care for children as parents, grandparents, foster parents, and legal guardians. In some families, both parents are blind or visually impaired. In other families, one parent is blind and the other is sighted. Some blind parents are single or divorced. Some older blind adults have custody of their grandchildren or foster children. Regardless of age, blind and low vision people can learn the skills to safely and confidently care for children. Many NCBVI staff members are blind parents themselves. If caring for children is important to you, please mention this to your rehabilitation counselor, orientation counselor, or any other NCBVI staff member and we’ll determine how we can best help you gain the skills you need.
Does NCBVI offer financial assistance to blind and low vision college students?
NCBVI does offer financial assistance for college, university, technical, and vocational school students who need education or training in order to reach their employment goals. This may include assistance with tuition, fees, books, technology, and reader services. In order to qualify for financial assistance, students will need to contact NCBVI to set up a meeting. They will be assigned a vocational rehabilitation counselor who will discuss the consumer’s career goals in order to determine what education and training NCBVI can provide.
Does NCBVI pay for eyeglasses?
NCBVI does not provide eyeglasses. However, there are many resources available to assist with the expense of eye exams and eyeglasses. You can contact your local Lion's club to request their support, or apply for assistance through New Eyes for the Needy. NCBVI may be able to provide additional resources.
Which cell phone is most accessible to people who are blind and low vision?
As of this writing, Apple's iOS, which runs on its iPads, iPhones, and iPods has the most robust accessibility features for people who are blind or low vision. iOS includes a built-in screen reader called VoiceOver which reads screen contents aloud and allows a person to interact with the phone through gestures on the touch screen. VoiceOver works with all of the apps and functions that come with the device and also with a majority of the apps that can be downloaded from the Apple AppStore. iOS devices also offer a built-in screen magnification program called Zooms. There are also many ways to personalize the font size, color, brightness, and other features which can make the screen easier to see.
What kind of computer is best, PC or Mac?
Both PC's and Macs have screen access software for reading on-screen content and also screen magnification software for enlarging screen contents. As of June, 2020, 77.7% of workplaces utilize Windows-based PCs. Therefore, most vocational experts recommend that high school and college students learn to operate Windows. However, a growing number of businesses, especially tech companies, are beginning to use Macs, Linux, and other operating systems. The system you choose should depend on your prior experience, what you intend to use the computer to accomplish, and where you will be using it. NCBVI’s technology specialists can assist you in examining computer hardware and software to determine what is right for your individual situation.
Can blind people use tablet computers?
Absolutely! As with the mobile phone market, we find that Apple's iPad tablets are the best off-the-shelf accessible devices for blind and low vision users. If you want to use a tablet that runs Microsoft Windows 10, screen reading software like JAWS and NVDA have numerous keyboard commands for navigating the environment and touch screen gestures for non-visual access. Recent developments in Amazon Kindle FireOS 5 and later have added more robust accessibility to the Kindle Fire line of tablets.
How can I make a referral for another person to receive services?
You may request services for another person by calling NCBVI at 402-471-2891 or toll free at 1-877-809-2419. You can also email our front desk at NCBVI.email@example.com. The information is given to a counselor who will call to make arrangements to meet with the person who was referred. The counselor will follow-up as soon as possible, but at most within two weeks.
What can I do if I disagree with a decision made by my counselor?
The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is a neutral agency available to help you with any questions or concerns regarding your services with NCBVI. CAP will work with you to resolve your disagreement with your counselor by providing free advocacy and mediation. You can learn more about CAP at https://cap.nebraska.gov/. or call (800) 742-7594 or (402) 471-3656.
How can I donate to NCBVI?
NCBVI is funded by federal and state government grants. However, we deeply appreciate private donations which help us provide more and better services to Nebraskans who are blind and low vision.
To make a cash donation, you can mail a check to the address below or drop it off at the front desk. If you would like to ensure that the check is spent on a certain program or project, please indicate this in an enclosed letter (e.g. senior citizens, youth, services to Spanish speakers, technology, etc.)
In addition, we are always grateful to receive donations of items or services that we can use in our varied programs. Some examples might include:
Sporting event tickets for our youth programs or blindness rehabilitation center students
Passes to recreation and entertainment facilities, such as rock-climbing gyms, fitness classes, etc.
Hy-Vee and Target gift certificates to assist NCBVI consumers in purchasing needed items.
20th Anniversary Celebration
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of NCBVI's inception as an independent commission, along with the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act and the 100th Anniversary of Vocational Rehabilitation in the United States, Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired held a virtual celebration on July 31, 2020.
The Life You Choose
Pathways to Independence
Pathways to Independence(c) is a production of the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. This video training series covers skills blind and visually impaired individuals use to remain independent in their homes and communities. The series is available to blind individuals to learn techniques at home, rehabilitation professionals, state agencies for the blind for staff development, and the general public.
General Referral Information
Shopping & Organizing the Kitchen
Techniques of Daily Living
Personal Information Management
The below resources are provided for the information and convenience of those who visit the NCBVI website. Inclusion on this list does not constitute endoresement from NCBVI.
American Association of People With Disabilities (800) 840-8844
American Council of the Blind of Nebraska Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
American Council of the Blind (202) 467-5081
American Foundation for the Blind (800) 232-5463
American Foundation for the Blind - Aging
Assistive Technology Partnership - Nebraska
Client Assistance Program (800) 742-7594
Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths & Adults (516) 944-8900
National Braille Press (800) 548-7323
National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska (402) 477-7711
National Federation of the Blind (410) 659-9314
Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired (800) 826-4355
Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (800) 545-6244
Nebraska Foundation For Visually Impaired Children (402) 571-5220
Nebraska Statewide Independent Living Council (NESILC)
Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation
NFB Newsline 402-471-8102 email@example.com
Omaha Association of the Blind
Online Guide to Best Resources for Master's Students with a Disability
Resume and Employment Guide for People with Disabilities
Talking Book & Braille Services (800) 742-7691
WGBH Descriptive Video Services (617) 300-3600