Butler County Times Gazette
  • Using the U.S. currency reader program for the visually impaired

  • The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), a part of the Department of Treasury, has a U.S. Currency Reader Program for the visually impaired.
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  • The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), a part of the Department of Treasury, has a U.S. Currency Reader Program for the visually impaired. With this program, U.S. citizens or persons legally residing in the United States and its territories who are blind or visually impaired will be able to obtain a currency reader device at no cost.
    How does a person go about getting a currency reader? An application form needs to be completed. It is available to download at www.bep.gov and have it signed by a competent authority such as a doctor who can certify your eligibility. Mail the signed application to the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS), a the address listed on the application. NLS patrons are not required to complete an application, just call NLS at 1-888-NLS-READ; your account will be noted and a currency reader will be delivered to the address on file.
    This is a pilot program that is being made available before the National Rollout in January of 2015. This pilot program allows the government to test its ordering and distribution processes and gauge demand for currency readers in advance of the National Rollout.
    Here are some details on the program: After January 2015, the average time to process and ship a reader is expected to be approximately six-to-eight weeks. The reader is designed to identify the denomination of a Federal Reserve not (U.S. currency). It will not authenticate currency. Parents or legal guardians of a child under 18, caregivers, legal guardians, or those with power attorney may act as a proxy on behalf of a blind or visually impaired person, but a certified application must be submitted for that individual. The U.S. government cannot reimburse individuals who have previously purchased a currency reader.
    There are other ways the government is helping people identify U.S. currency dominations. In addition to distributing currency readers, the U.S. government plans to add a raised tactile feature and will continue to add large, high-contract numerals and different colors to each denomination that it is permitted by law to alter. In 2011, the BEP introduced Eye Note, an app that scans and identifies note images on mobile devices operating on the Apple iOS platform. BEP also assisted the Department of Education in developing the IDEAL Currency Reader app for Android phones.
    To learn more about the U.S. government’s meaningful access program visit www.bep.gov to read the latest information and sign up to receive updates by email.
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