Resources

Sites and forms facilitating mobility, education, and managing life with vision loss

 
 

Key

Resources are categorized and tagged geographically to identify where the resource is useful

Logistics and Planning
Help and information on day-to-day living

Training and Education
Courses and programs for independent living and professional development 

Financial Assistance
Programs and forms to help afford living with vision loss

Emotional Support and Lifestyle
Recreation and support groups for those coping with blindness

 

Note
Aside from our national resources, Beautiful Vision’s trusted links primarily benefit Californians living with vision loss. In the future we intend to grow our resource directory to include state and regional help beyond California.

We welcome you to contact us at hello@beautifulvision.co with suggestions to help grow our Resources page! 

 
 

National Resources

 

Bookshare
Category: Training and Education
Location: Online Internationally
Range: Global

Bookshare is an international library dedicated to providing access to books for those who cannot read traditional print text. For students the service is free, and for non-students there is a low annual fee.

 

 

America Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Categories: Logistics and Planning, Training and Education
Location: New York, NY
Serves: USA and Canada

AFB is an all-purpose resource in the USA and Canada. They prepare and help the families of the visually impaired and run courses to educate and train visually impaired professionals.

AFB also possesses a directory that helps find local services.

 

 

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)
Category: Training and Education
Location: Online Nationally
Serves: United States

NLS provides free braille and audio literature and materials to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. To receive access to the Library of Congress please fill out their application and send it to your nearest cooperating library found at www.loc.gov/nls/find, or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).

 

 

Supplementary Security Income (SSI) Form
Category: Financial Aid
Serves: United States

SSI is designed to help aged, blind and disabled persons with little or no income by providing stipend to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.  Unfortunately the federal government does not provide a means to apply for SSI online-- contact your local social security office to make an appointment.  To know if you are eligible to apply, you can fill out the Social Security Administration’s questionnaire.

Applicants qualify by one the following: Be 65 years or older; or have a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the best eye with the use of a corrective lens. Applicants must also be considered to have limited income and limited resources, and be a U.S. citizen.  To meet the SSI income requirements, you must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a very limited income.  

 

 

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) FORM
Category: Financial Aid
Serves: United States

IHSS helps those that qualify pay for domestic services, such as cleaning, laundry, meal preparation, yard work and transportation to medical appointments or alternative sources of services. Applicant must be blind and considered low-income, with the same requirements as SSI/SSP, with the additional requirements of living in a home or apartment that they are unable to live safely alone at without care.

 

 

State Supplemental Payment (SSP) Form
Category: Financial Aid
Range: United States in participating states (follow link to check yours)

SSP is a state supplementation that augments the SSI benefits (see above). Additional state benefits via SSP differ from state-to-state. These benefits combined with the SSI benefits are to help cover the basic living costs of low-income, disabled individuals. Unfortunately the federal government does not provide a means to apply for SSI and SSP online-- contact your local social security office to make an appointment.

Applicants qualify by one of the following: Be 65 years or older; have a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the best eye with the use of a corrective lens.

 

 

Blind Rehabilitation Centers (BRC) of the Veterans Affairs
Category: Logistics and Planning, Training and Education
Range: United States

The BRCs are residential programs that provide blindness training to veterans of the United States military. Live-in centers are found all over the continental United States and Puerto Rico. Training programs provide orientation and mobility training, computer access and general life skills, and visual rehabilitation.

 

State Resources
 

California

 

Blind Interest Resource Directory (BIRD) 
Category: Logistics and Planning
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Serves: California

BIRD is a list of 500+ online links and phone numbers of places and services of interest to the blind and visually impaired community in California.  There are reading materials in varying media, blind skills training, and advocacy platforms listed.

For individuals with vision loss who still feel capable of driving. Individuals with vision of 20/40 or poorer in one or both eyes must fill out section 1 and have a optometrist or ophthalmologist fill section 2, then the form is presented at the DMV. The individual will need to prove to the DMV that they are still capable of driving, which often requires a driving test.

 

 

Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB)
Category: Logistics and Planning
Location: San Rafael, CA
Serves: Oregon and California

GDB is an organization that matches visually impaired individuals with guide dogs.   Services are provided free of charge, and financial assistance for veterinary care is provided as needed.

 

 

Junior Blind of America
Categories: Logistics and Planning, Training and Education, Emotional Support and Lifestyle
Location: California
Serves: Alameda, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Malibu, CA, and San Pablo, CA

California-based non-profit organization dedicated to student education, recreation, and rehabilitation.  They provide after-school programs, technology training, and employment assistance.

 

 

Blind Babies Foundation
Categories: Logistics and Planning, Emotional Support and Lifestyle
Location: Northern and Central CA
Serves: Northern CA

Blind Babies Foundation (associated with Junior Blind of America) provides critical early intervention and educational services to visually impaired infants and preschoolers and their families. Their services improve visual functioning and sensory awareness, communication and social skills, and physical, cognitive and emotional development.

 

 

Office of Services to the Blind (OSB)
Category: Logistics and Planning
Location: Sacramento, CA
Serves: California

OSB provides individuals who are blind or visually impaired with information and referral for services and entitlements that could benefit them.

 

 

DMV Handicapped Parking Placard Information
Category: Logistics and Planning
Serves: California

Handicapped Parking Placard Form

This form is filled out by your optometrist or ophthalmologist to obtain a placard to park legally in handicapped parking locations. You will receive a placard only if your vision loss is severe enough in both eyes so that you qualify for legal blindness.

 

 

CA DMV Info for Driving with Visual Impairment
Category: Logistics and Planning
Serves: California

DL 62 Form for driving with Visual impairment

For individuals with vision loss who still feel capable of driving; individuals with vision of 20/40 or poorer in one or both eyes must fill out section 1 and have a optometrist or ophthalmologist fill section 2, then the form is presented at the DMV. The individual will need to prove to the DMV that they are still capable of driving, which often requires a driving test.

 

 

Assistance Dog Special Allowance Program
Category: Financial Aid
Serves: California

For individuals with vision loss who still feel capable of driving; individuals with vision of 20/40 or poorer in one or both eyes must fill out section 1 and have a optometrist or ophthalmologist fill section 2, then the form is presented at the DMV. The individual will need to prove to the DMV that they are still capable of driving, which often requires a driving test.

Applicants must be a CA resident with a guide dog who also receives benefits from one of the following programs: SSI (Supplemental Security Income), SSP (State Supplementary Payment), IHSS (In-Home Supportive Services), CAPI (Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants), or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance). SSDI Recipients must also meet federal poverty guidelines.

 

 

Light House for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Categories: Logistics and Planning, Training and Education, Emotional Support and Lifestyle
Locations:
San Francisco - 10th Floor, 1155 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103
San Rafael - 851 Irwin Street, San Rafael, CA 94901,
Berkeley - 3075 Adeline, Suite 110 Berkeley, CA 94703
Range: Bay Area, CA

SF’s Lighthouse for the Blind is a trusted leading facility for the visually impaired founded on promoting independence, equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or have low vision.

Lighthouse offers blindness skills training and services such as access to employment, education, government, information, recreation, transportation and the environment.

 

 

PG&E Medical Baseline Allowance Form
Category: Financial Assistance
Range: Northern and Central California
Requirements: PG&E gas and electric service

Vision loss qualifies you for reduced cost of energy from PG&E. Application Used for Medical Baseline Enrollment and Recertification PG&E.

 

 

Santa Clara Valley Blind Center (SCVBC) 
Categories:
Logistics and Planning, Training and Education, Emotional Support and Lifestyle
Range: South Bay of Bay Area, CA
Location: 101 N Bascom Ave, San Jose, CA 95128

SCVBC is a community-based organization dedicated to increasing the confidence, independence, and quality of life of the blind and visually impaired. Their services include rehabilitation, peer support groups, mobility and quality of life training and recreational activities.

 

 

East Bay Paratransit
Category: Logistics and Planning
Range: East Bay of Bay Area, CA
Serves: Oakland, CA

East Bay Paratransit ADA Eligibility Application Form

East Bay Paratransit is a public transit service for those with disabilities. They service throughout the East Bay, from Richmond to Oakland to Fremont.

Applicants must submit a form filled out by themselves and their doctor to qualify for Paratransit services in the East Bay.

 

 

Orientation Center for the Blind
Category: Logistics and Planning
Located: 400 Adams St, Albany, CA 94706
Range: California

The Orientation Center for the Blind is a live-in residential rehabilitation community that is provided free-of-cost to students. They foster independent living in an urban, residential community by providing classes and programs to help individuals learn vital life skills necessary for an enriched, independent life living with vision loss.

 

 

The Marin Sailing School Program for the Blind
Category: Emotional Support and Lifestyle
Located: Clipper Cove, Treasure Island, CA
Range: Bay Area, CA

The Marin Sailing School Program for the Blind provides blind or visually impaired persons the opportunity to learn the fundamental skills of sailing.

 

 

VTA Paratransit Service 
Category: Logistics and Planning
Located: 3331 North First Street and River Oaks, San Jose, CA
Range: South Bay, CA

VTA Paratransit service is a public transit service for those with disabilities. They service throughout the South Bay, from San Jose to Los Gatos and Mountain View.

Applicants must submit a form filled out and a short interview must be conducted for applicants to qualify for VTA paratransit service.

 

 

California Phones 
Categories:
Logistics and Planning
Range: South Bay of Bay Area, CA
Location: 505 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102

Via the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP), California Phones provides free phones for those with vision loss. With a filled out form and doctor approval, applicants can receive a phone with large print numbers free-of-charge.

 

Oregon

 

Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB)
Category: Logistics and Planning
Location: San Rafael, CA
Serves: Oregon and California

GDB is an organization that matches visually impaired individuals with guide dogs.   Services are provided free of charge, and financial assistance for veterinary care is provided as needed.