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What are Reader Services

Reader services include the following:

1. reading and recording class notes for later listening by the consumer

2. recording textbooks or other printed materials

3. taking notes in classes or other training situations

4. use of amanuensis during tests or written examinations

5. use of a laboratory assistant when a consumer must participate in laboratory experiments or exercises

6. reading work-related materials for a consumer in an employment setting

Who Provides Reader Services

Reader services are available through the "Readers' Aid Program" administered by the New York State Education Department, Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID). The Readers' Aid Program Fact Sheet for Colleges and Students provides information about the Readers' Aid Program.

NYSCB provides reader services as a supplement to the Readers' Aid Program and to consumers who are not eligible for services through the Readers' Aid Program (See pages 8.09.03-8.09.04.)

Who May Receive Reader Services

Reader services are available to consumers:

1. engaged in training at a college or university

2. attending vocational, technical and business schools

3. in other training situations where significant amounts of reading are essential to the completion of the training program

4. who have obtained employment where reader services are essential to support the placement

Criteria for Receiving Reader Services Through the Readers' Aid Program

To receive funds from the Readers' Aid Program, a consumer must:

1. be a legal resident of New York State

2. be legally blind or deaf

3. be matriculated in an institution of higher education authorized by law to grant degrees, and if in New York State, approved by the New York State Board of Regents

Guidelines for Readers' Aid Funds

Readers' Aid funds are limited to a maximum of $1,000 per academic year. The following procedures or provisions apply to the use of those funds:

1. Readers' Aid funds can only be used for the first five services listed on page 8.09.01.

2. Readers' Aid funds cannot be used for tuition, room and board, equipment, supplies, textbooks or guide services.

3. Readers and notetakers cannot be members of the student's immediate family without requesting and justifying the need for same in writing.

4. Readers are paid by the college or university upon receipt of bills, along with time sheets (available through VESID), approved by the student.

How to Apply for the Readers' Aid Program

Students must apply directly to the college or university for each semester for which Readers' Aid is desired. The first application for Readers' Aid must be:

1. on the standard application form (available through VESID),

2. accompanied by a medical eye report from a certified ophthalmologist or certification of legal blindness by NYSCB, and

3. submitted to the school after school registration.

Reapplication may be made by:

1. completing another application form, or

2. submitting a written request to the school, after registration. The request must include the: student's social security number; school; semester; number of credit hours currently registered.

Application Deadlines

Applications for the fall semester must be received at the institution by September 30.

Applications for the spring semester must be received at the institution by February 1.

Guidelines for NYSCB Supplemental Reader Funds

NYSCB may provide reader funds to NYSCB consumers who are attending college and not otherwise eligible for the Readers' Aid Program (New York State Education Department, NYSED). NYSCB may also supplement the funds provided by the Readers' Aid Program when the counselor can demonstrate or document unusual need for reader use or costs beyond that provided by the NYSED.

NYSCB may also provide reader service funds for non-college consumers if:

1. reader assistance is essential to support training or placement as established on the approved IPE, and

2. there is no viable alternative such as volunteer readers, magnification devices, braille, or large print resources.


NYSCB cannot pay for reader services rendered by a member of the consumer's family or household, unless requested by the consumer, documented as necessary and approved by the senior counselor.

Consumer Responsibility

Consumers are responsible for:

1. locating readers

2. maintaining time sheets required by NYSCB

3. utilizing volunteer readers wherever possible

4. supplementing paid reader services with volunteer resources when needed

5. budgeting their reader funds allocation

Maximum Payment Amounts

1. The total amount of reader funds provided to a consumer by NYSCB and the NYSED to consumers attending college should not exceed $2,000 per academic year. This amount can only be exceeded with senior counselor approval, the decision must be documented in the record of services.

2. NYSCB can provide up to $1,000 per calendar year of reader services to consumers not attending college when reader services are necessary to support training or placement. This amount can only be exceeded with senior counselor approval and case documentation.

Payment of NYSCB Supplemental Reader Funds

Reader funds provided by NYSCB may be paid directly to the student using the DSS-1016 or paid to the college, university or other facility using the DSS-335.

Rates Paid to Readers

Hourly rates for reader services will be negotiated on an individual basis by the consumer and the reader.

Economic Need

The provision of NYSCB reader funds is not contingent upon the consumer's economic need status.