Frequently Asked Questions
- What services does New York State provide to those who are visually impaired?
- What is legal blindness?
- What is visual impairment?
- How do I know if I'm eligible for NYSCB vocational rehabilitation services?
- What kind of services would my legally blind child receive from the Commission for the New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB)?
- How do I become a teacher of the visually impaired, and orientation and mobility specialist of rehabilitation teacher?
- I would like more information about dog guides or seeing-eye dogs. Does NYSCB train these dogs?
- Who is eligible?
- I do not meet eligibility for services, but I am concerned about recent vision loss. Are there services to help me adjust to this vision impairment?
- How do I apply for services?
- I am not interested in pursuing a career; I just need help around the house. Can NYSCB help me?
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services, through its Commission for the New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB), provides rehabilitation services to individuals who are legally blind and reside in New York State. NYSCB programs include:
- Training for Employment
- Business Enterprise Program
- Programs for Older Adults
- Programs for Children
For further information about NYSCB's programs, call (518) 474-6812.
A person is considered "legally blind" when his/her visual acuity is 20/200 or less in the better eye with best correction, or his/her field of vision is 20 degrees or less in the better eye.
A person is considered to be "visually impaired" when he/she has a visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye with best correction, or a visual field of 140 degrees or less in the better eye.
In general, to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, an individual must have one or more physical or mental impairments that keep him or her from working. For NYSCB services, an individual must be legally blind. The person must also need vocational rehabilitation services in order to get or keep employment, and must be able to benefit from services. Individuals who receive SSI and SSDI are generally presumed to be eligible. The NYSCB counselor is responsible for determining whether an individual is eligible for services.
What kind of services would my legally blind child receive from the Commission for the New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB)?
Working with the family, a NYSCB Children's Consultant will help develop a plan to meet your child's needs. The plan may include rehabilitation services provided in your home, the community and/or private rehabilitation agencies. The Children's Consultant may provide counseling and guidance to your family, advocacy services, educational consultation and vocational coordination.
How do I become a teacher of the visually impaired, and orientation and mobility specialist of rehabilitation teacher?
There are two colleges in New York State that train individuals to become teachers of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialists or rehabilitation teacher.
470 Western Highway
Orangeburg, NY 10962
Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Hunter College of CUNY
Department of Special Education
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Orientation and Mobility Specialist
For more information on these and other colleges and universities offering these programs, visit the Special Education Exchange website via the education links on this website.
No. Although we provide people with training in the skills of daily living, NYSCB does not train dog guides. There are four dog guide schools in New York State.
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
371 East Jericho Turnpike
Smithtown, NY 11787
Phone: (516) 265-2121
Outside New York: (800) 548-4337
Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Inc.
611 Granite Springs Road
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Phone: (914) 245-4024
Upstate Guide Dog Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 165
Hamlin, NY 14464
Phone: (716) 964-8815
Freedom Guide Dogs
1210 Hardscrabble Road
Cassville, NY 13318
Phone: (315) 822-5132
Any New York State resident who is legally blind may be eligible for services provided by NYSCB. Legal blindness is defined as:
- A visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better or stronger eye with best correction, or
- A restricted field of vision of 20 degrees or less in the better or stronger eye.
If you are unsure if you are legally blind, NYSCB can assist you in determining eligibility.
I do not meet eligibility for services, but I am concerned about recent vision loss. Are there services to help me adjust to this vision impairment?
If you are visually impaired but not legally blind, you may qualify for Job Save and Independent Living services to assist you in managing your impairment.
If you are interested in any of the programs or services offered by NYSCB and would like to receive an application, please contact the district office located closest to you, or call this toll free number:
Services are also available for those interested in learning skills for independent home management. If you are legally blind and 55 years or older, or under 55 and not seeking employment, the Adaptive Living Program (ALP) can help you carry on your everyday activities and teach you new household skills to assist you in adjusting to vision loss.
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