Independent Living (IL) Services empowers people to live independently in their homes and communities.
IL participants have lost or are losing vision and are experiencing difficulty performing customary life activities due to their vision loss. For most participants, the goal of IL is simply to regain what was lost: the ability to call a friend on the phone, read the latest New York Time’s bestseller, heat up leftovers in the microwave, know what time it is to get to a doctor’s appointment on time, write checks to pay for bills, look at pictures of loved ones, or take a walk in the fresh air.
Through IL Services, participants gain the confidence, skills, and alternative techniques necessary to maintain or regain their independence to do all of those things and so much more. They gain the ability to choose their lifestyle and level of independence based on information and knowledge, not perceived limitations.
Eligibility and Fees
IL Services are for people who are 24 years old or older and who have vision loss or blindness impacting their ability to live independently in their homes. IL Services are provided to people who are not employed, seeking employment, in school, or planning to go to school.
Individuals who are younger than 24 years old or whose main goal is finding or keeping a job or going to school are better served through DSB’s Vocational Rehabilitation services.
Participants do not need social security numbers; in fact, the program can serve anybody, regardless of citizenship status.
DSB does not charge a fee for participation in IL Services.
IL Service Basics
IL Services are delivered through a network of community-based providers who meet rigorous qualification and performance standards determined by DSB. Providers have extensive training in how to teach adaptive skills of blindness as well as a specialized knowledge of adaptive aids and devices. Services are typically provided in the client’s home and are always geared towards helping the client meet self-identified goals. Adjustment counseling is available for clients who are experiencing grief, fear, or even anger. For some clients, the program provides adaptive devices such as white canes, medical devices, kitchen devices, and magnification for reading and writing.
When a client begins services, a case is opened. Usually, the client and the provider meet in person to discuss the client’s limitations and goals. Together, the client and provider develop and agree on a plan to achieve those goals. Once the plan is put in action, services usually last about two to three sessions of one to two hours each. When the client’s goals are met, the services end and the case is closed. Although, if a client needs more help, they are always welcome to return.
If you or someone you know would benefit from learning adaptive skills, IL Services can help for free. Beginning with an assessment to determine what skills, devices, and resources are needed, the IL Services team will help maximize the participant's strengths and independence through targeted training and specialized aids and devices.
Disclosure of Federal Participation
The Older Blind Services program is funded 90 percent through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. For the Federal fiscal year 2023, the total amount of federal grant funds awarded was $681,945. The remaining 10 percent of the costs ($75,772) was funded by State appropriations or another non-Federal allowable source.