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Services for the Visually Impaired

Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI)

The first step in securing services from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities is to complete an application for services. An application can be submitted by telephone, electronic mail, facsimile or by visiting the nearest OOD office. Click on the link below to start your application today. After the application is completed, an interview will follow to help determine eligibility.

Information for the Interview

It is important for the applicant to be prepared for the interview. Applicants are strongly encouraged to bring relevant information with them 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.

What kind of plan will be written for me to achieve employment goals?

Confidentiality

OOD is required by law to maintain 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.

Purpose

If you want to work but are having trouble because of your disability, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation services from the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD).

OOD's Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (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

The first step in securing services from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities is to complete an application for services. An application can be submitted by telephone, electronic mail, facsimile or by visiting the nearest OOD office. Click on the link below to start your application today. After the application is completed, an interview will follow to help determine eligibility.

Information for the Interview

It is important for the applicant to be prepared for the interview. Applicants are strongly encouraged to bring relevant information with them 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.

What kind of plan will be written for me to achieve employment goals?

Confidentiality

OOD is required by law to maintain 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

After an application is submitted, an interview is scheduled between you and a counselor. 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. Eligibility is based on three factors:

  • A visual impairment or blindness results in 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 Coordinator, 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 Coordinator may also supply information about different employment opportunities and careers.  This process will result in the yourIndividualized 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 both 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.

Appeal Rights

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:

  1. 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.
  2. If you are denied services, the counselor will explain the appeal process.
  3. To file an appeal, please read the OOD Appeal Process Overview, fill out the Appeal Form, and return it as instructed.

Vision Loss and Hearing Loss Resources

Click the link below for a collection of resources connected with vision loss and hearing.

(This document has been developed as an information and referral resource tool. OOD does not warranty or endorse any particular resource listed.  We hope you are able to connect with the information and resources you are seeking.)

2018 Vision Loss and Hearing Loss Resources (WORD Document)