FAQ

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

Fax: 402-471-3009

Mailing Address:

4600 Valley Road

Suite 100, Lincoln, NE 68510

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.

 

Losing vision is a life-altering experience that requires a great deal of adjustment. Feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, depression, anger, shame, helplessness, frustration, and loneliness are common and completely understandable. However, with the right training and tools, you can continue to live the life you choose. You can continue to be employed, raise children, be actively involved in your community, and continue many of the hobbies and pastimes you enjoy.

NCBVI recommends taking the following steps to begin moving forward on your journey toward a happy, healthy life as a person with vision loss:

  • Learn about your eye condition. Schedule an appointment to ask your doctor all the questions you may have about the medical aspects of your vision loss. It can be overwhelming to learn a lot of detailed information at once, so it may be helpful to take a friend or family member with you to write down everything the doctor is saying, so you can focus on being present and asking any questions you have. Keep in mind that, while eye doctors are experienced at preventing and correcting vision loss, they may not necessarily be aware of the strategies, technology, and tools that blind and low vision people use to remain independent in their daily lives.
  • If you are still employed, you have several options. If your vision loss isn’t significant, you may be able to continue working at your current job with very few modifications. NCBVI can provide you with job retention services that will allow you to remain employed while you are learning to use tools such as screen magnification software, CCTVs, and public transportation.

If your vision loss is significant or total, you can likely continue doing your job. Blind and visually impaired people work in almost every career field imaginable. However, you will need more extensive training in independent living, technology, and mobility skills in order to do so. Many newly blind people choose to enroll in a residential blindness rehabilitation program for between six and nine months to fully adjust to blindness or significant vision loss. You should speak with your employer’s human resources office to learn about temporary leave options, such as the Family Medical Leave Act and the short-term disability. You may be able to keep your job while you receive your blindness rehabilitation training and come back to your job afterward with new skills and confidence.

  • File for Social Security. If you cannot find a way to retain your current job while you receive blindness rehabilitation training, or if you have no other source of income, you will need to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These are monthly cash benefits that will help you pay for housing, food, and daily living expenses while you adjust to your vision loss. Depending on your circumstances, SSI and SSDI might also mean you are eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, food assistance, and other public benefits. Learn more and apply online at https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/
  • Call NCBVI. Talk to an NCBVI staff member about your current situation. We can help you get the skills and tools you need in order to continue living the life you choose. Include apply for services link.
  • Reach out for support. Many NCBVI staff members are blind and visually impaired themselves, so all of our programs incorporate peer support and mentoring. However, you may also wish to reach out to other organizations comprised of Nebraskans with vision loss.

National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska- http://www.ne.nfb.org/

American Council of the Blind of Nebraska- https://www.acbnebraska.org/

 

 

All NCBVI services are provided free of charge. NCBVI is funded by national and state government as well as private donations.

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.

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 in government buildings and rest areas, including training, resources, and ongoing support

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.

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.

There are a variety of other cell phones that offer accessibility features. Learn more at the following links:

AT&T: http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/disability-resources/disability-resources.jsp  1-866-241-6568

Sprint: http://www.sprint.com/landings/accessibility/ 

Verizon Wireless: http://www.verizonwireless.com/aboutus/commitment/accessibility.html

 

 

NCBVI does not provide eyeglasses. However, your local chapter of the Lions Club may offer financial assistance for eye care and eyeglasses for preventable blindness. The Lions Club also takes donations of old eyeglasses. Contact your local Lions Club for details.

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 our vocational rehabilitation program. They will be assigned a vocational rehabilitation counselor who will discuss the client’s career goals in order to determine what education and training NCBVI can provide.

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.

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.

You may request services for another person by calling NCBVI at 402-471-2891 or toll free at 1-877-809-2419. The information is given to a counselor who will call to make arrangements to meet with the person who was referred. The counselor will generally call within two weeks.

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.

 

NCBVI is funded by national 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 clients
  • passes to recreation and entertainment facilities, such as rock climbing gyms, fitness classes, etc.
  • Hy-Vee and Target gift certificates to assist clients purchase needed items
  • In-kind donations, such as advertising, printing, office supplies, etc.

 

Yes, please feel free to give us a call, so we can match your talents and interests with our needs. Opportunities might include:

  • Reading mail and assisting with filling out forms once a week at our rehabilitation center apartments
  • Assisting blind and low vision senior citizens with reading mail, grocery shopping, and running small errands
  • Assisting clients in rural areas get to and from doctors’ appointments
  • Teaching a skill, such as yoga, pottery, sushi making, or martial arts to our youth program or rehabilitation center students
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on resumes and conducting mock interviews with blind job-seekers