The other day, I ordered my iBill reader from the BEP. It was a simple process. As a patron of the National Library Service (NLS) I am already ”authorized” to receive one. Some people pre-ordered through their library service but that option is no longer available. If you are not an NLS user, you will need to have your application signed by someone who is “authorized” to certify that you are visually impaired. Now you must go to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) website to order. The form is short and can be filled in electronically but has to be printed and mailed the old-fashioned way. You can expect your iBill reader to arrive in about 8 weeks.
There is a fascinating summary of all that transpired to bring about this program posted on VisionAware at: http://www.visionaware.org/blog/visionaware-blog/progress-update-united-states-accessible-currency-project-for-blind-and-visually-impaired-persons/12#comments
It has been a lengthy and complex series of events, demonstrating our government being mandated by the courts to make U.S. paper currency accessible to the blind and visually impaired. I found it very interesting and think you will too.
Below is the government press release with a link to the on-line application. Well, it’s about time, wouldn’t you say?
|BEP Rolls Out U.S. Currency Reader Program Nationwide
Media Contact: Darlene Anderson
(202) 874-2229 Darlene.Anderson@BEP.GOV Customer Inquiry: Toll Free (844) 815-9388
Washington, DC (January 5, 2015) – The Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is now accepting and processing applications nationwide from blind or visually impaired individuals who wish to receive a free currency reader. This initiative is one of a number of steps the BEP is taking to introduce technologies and features to make our nation’s paper currency accessible to all individuals.
The reader, called iBill® Currency Identifier, provides a convenient means for blind or visually impaired individuals to identify all Federal Reserve notes (U.S. currency) in circulation. It uses a single AAA battery, which is included, and denominates the note in one of three modes: a clear natural voice, a pattern of tones, or a pattern of vibrations for privacy. The vibration mode also assists people who are deaf and blind.
The U.S. Currency Reader Program is a component of the BEP’s initiative to provide meaningful access to Federal Reserve notes. Interested individuals can download the application from the BEP’s website at http://www.bep.gov/uscurrencyreaderform.html. It must be filled out completely, signed by a competent authority that can certify eligibility, and returned to the mailing address provided on the form.
Please direct questions or comments about the U.S. Currency Reader Program to the BEP toll-free number (844-815-9388) or email at email@example.com. More information about the U.S. Currency Reader Program and the BEP’s meaningful access initiative is available at www.bep.gov.
In September, the BEP launched a four-month pilot program where existing patrons of the National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) were eligible to pre-order currency readers. The pilot program provided an opportunity for the government to test its ordering and distribution process, and gauge demand for currency readers in advance of the January 2015 national rollout. Approximately 15,000 readers were pre-ordered and delivered under the pilot program.
In 2011, the BEP introduced EyeNote®, 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 date, these apps have been downloaded more than 20,000 times.