Blind Services is a section of Louisiana Rehabilitation Services’ Vocational Rehabilitation Program that provides services to eligible individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise Program and the Older Blind/Visually Impaired Program are parts of Blind Services.
The Older Blind/Visually Impaired Program expands independent living services for people who are age 55 or older and have a severe visual impairment. Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Older Blind Program, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services provides funding to three contractors: Affiliated Blind of Louisiana, Lighthouse for the Blind in New Orleans and LA Center for the Blind, to coordinate statewide services.
The Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise Program provides entrepreneurial opportunities for consumers of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program who are legally blind to manage their own businesses. This includes a wide variety of food-service operations, including cafeterias, coffee shops, vending locations, and highway rest area vending sites. Through this program, blind persons receive training opportunities to become productive, tax-paying citizens and proud business owners.
How do I qualify for services?
To be eligible for the Older Blind/Visually Impaired Program you must be age 55 or older and have a severe visual disability or be legally blind.
Eligibility for the Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise Program is based upon an individual with a significant visual disability benefiting from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of achieving employment. Therefore, applications for services are accepted at the time an individual with a disability reaches or nears the minimum age of legal employability.
To be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, the individual must:
- have a physical or mental disability which for the individual constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment; and
- be able to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of employment; and
- require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, enter, engage in or retain gainful employment.
In addition, an individual must:
- be a U.S. citizen residing in Louisiana
- be 18 years of age or older
- have completed all services on their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)
- have documentation of independent living skills
- be a high school graduate or have a GED
- have basic math skills
What services are available?
Blind/Visually impaired services available through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program may include, but are not limited to:
- Vocational guidance and career counseling
- Evaluation of rehabilitation potential
- Restoration (physical/mental)
- Vocational and other training services
- Rehabilitation technology, including assistive technology services, assistive technology devices and rehabilitation engineering
- Occupational tools and equipment
- Transportation to access other vocational rehabilitation services
- Job Placement into suitable employment
- Orientation and Mobility training
- Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise
Services available through the Older Blind/Visually Impaired Program:
- Low Vision Screening
- In home or classroom training in skills to help maintain independence
- Aids for independent living
- Orientation and Mobility training (sighted guide and use of white cane)
- Peer Counseling
- Information and referral services
- Confidence building activities
For information about resources and applying for Blind Services in Louisiana visit the Louisiana Workforce Commission website.