Services for the Visually Impaired
Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI)
Watch a video to learn about BSVI.
If you want to work but are having trouble because of your disability, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation services from OOD.
BSVI assists eligible people, beginning at age 14, with low vision and blindness by providing direct, personalized services to assist them in finding and retaining meaningful work and personal independence.
Basic services include personal and work adjustment training, vocational training, mental and physical restoration, and placement assistance.
Application for Services
To get started, complete three easy steps at OODWorks.com. If you prefer, a paper application for services can be completed and submitted by phone, email, or fax to the nearest OOD office.
Interview to Help Determine Eligibility
Once you have started the process, you will be contacted to participate in an interview to help determine eligibility. A friend or family member may accompany you to the interview. A counselor will discuss career goals, work history, educational background, disability, and the services necessary to reach an employment goal.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to bring relevant information to the interview like medical, psychological, or other reports related to their disability from people who have previously provided services to the individual applying. If the applicant is receiving Social Security benefits, please bring the letter that you received from the Social Security Administration. These documents help counselors determine eligibility for OOD services.
OOD is required by law to maintain the confidentiality of those seeking, receiving, or previously receiving services. All personal information provided by the applicant or any other source is strictly confidential and will not be released to anyone (other than a legal guardian if applicable) without written consent.
Eligibility is based on three factors:
- A visual disability or blindness results in a substantial impediment to employment;
- You can benefit from services in terms of an employment outcome; and
- Vocational rehabilitation services are necessary for you to prepare, secure, retain, or regain employment.
Vocational Guidance and Counseling
The next step in the process will be to identify your vocational goal and the BSVI services needed to reach this goal. Once you have been assigned to a BSVI counselor or BSVI staff, you will work together to agree on an employment goal that fits your needs.
You may participate in assessments or experiences to help you decide if the employment goal is right for you. The BSVI counselor or BSVI staff may also supply information about different employment opportunities and careers. This process will result in an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).
The following items will be taken into consideration as your IPE is developed.
- Does the employment goal match your personal strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, interests, and informed choice? This is based on a comprehensive assessment that may use existing information.
- Are the BSVI services necessary to achieve the employment outcome?
- Will the BSVI services result in employment?
- Are the BSVI services cost-effective? Note: VR and BSVI may not pay for an expensive program if a lower cost option that meets your needs is available.
- Can you help pay for any of the BSVI services?
When you are ready for employment, the counselor and other BSVI staff will help you prepare for a job search. If you are currently employed and need assistance to retain that job, BSVI can help with job retention.
OOD will follow up on the job to ensure that you are successfully working and that you and the employer are satisfied. If satisfied, your case will be closed. Further OOD services can be provided at a later date if needed.
There is an appeal process if you disagree with a decision.
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities is committed to assisting individuals with disabilities obtain or retain employment. Counselors are committed to helping people chart a course to success. However, if through this process you disagree with any decisions your counselor makes regarding your services, you can file an appeal. If you need help preparing the appeal, you can call Disability Rights Ohio at 800-282-9181 voice, 800-858-3542 TTY, 614-466-7264 voice, 614-728-2553 TTY. The website address is http://www.disabilityrightsohio.org.
Three important things to remember:
- OOD is required by law to maintain your confidentiality. All personal information provided by you or any other source is strictly confidential and will not be released to anyone (other than your legal guardian, if applicable) without your written consent.
- If you are denied services, the counselor will explain the appeal process.
- To file an appeal, please read the OOD Appeal Process Overview, fill out the Appeal Form, and return it as instructed.
Resources about Blindness and Low Vision
OOD and the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio partnered to create a searchable database of resources for individuals who are blind or have low vision. With 14 categories of information (e.g., accessible technology, advocacy, employment resources, and independent living), you can search for resources based on type or name. Click here to get started.