[tabi] Re: Fw: Free Currency Readers

  • From: "Chip and Allie Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:52:29 -0400

Thanks, no, it’s not old news to me anyway.





From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of 
Betsy Sawyers
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 11:17 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Fw: Free Currency Readers


Apologies if this is old news,but thought it worth a mention in case some 
haven’t heard about it.


Bureau of Engraving and Printing Begins Distributing Currency Readers 


by Melanie Brunson




For some time now, the U.S. government has been talking about its plans to 
distribute currency reader devices to people who are blind or visually impaired 
in order to make it possible for them to identify the denomination of U.S. 
banknotes independently.  Officials have said repeatedly that this is the first 
phase of their program to provide meaningful access to U.S. paper currency.  It 
is aimed at providing independent access to the inaccessible banknotes that are 
currently in circulation, as well as those that will continue to circulate 
while future banknotes containing a tactile feature are being developed and put 
into circulation.




I am happy to report that phase is currently under way.  The Bureau of 
Engraving and Printing officially began the first phase of its currency reader 
distribution program at the summer conventions of the nation’s blindness 
organizations, including ACB.  I was advised that several hundred units were 
distributed by Bureau of Engraving and Printing staff in the exhibit hall at 
the ACB conference and convention in Las Vegas.




If you weren’t at the convention and are interested in getting your hands on 
one of these scanners, here is what you need to know about this program.




First, yes, the currency readers are being provided at no cost to blind or 
visually impaired people who are either U.S. citizens, or are legally residing 
in the U.S. or any of its territories.  Between now and January 2015, only 
those individuals who are currently eligible to receive braille and talking 
book services from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically 
Handicapped (NLS) are eligible to receive these currency readers. The program 
was rolled out during the NFB and ACB conventions, but only those individuals 
who are current users of the NLS services could apply.  A brief form was 
completed by each individual requesting the information necessary to verify the 
person’s eligibility with NLS prior to issuance of the scanner.




Those who did not attend the July conferences may still have the opportunity to 
receive a scanner.  Other current patrons of a library that is part of the NLS 
network, as well as users of the BARD download program, can sign up for a free 
currency reader.  There are several ways to sign up.  If you want to sign up by 
phone, you can either call your library, or you can call NLS at 1-888-NLS-READ 
(that’s 1-888-657-7323).  Your request will be noted in your account with NLS, 
and beginning this month, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will start 
mailing the units to people at the addresses they have on file with the 
National Library Service.




Remember that until January 2015, only individuals who are users of the NLS 
braille and talking book program are eligible.  It is not currently possible to 
order one on behalf of someone else or for an organization.  Parents or legal 
guardians of children under age 18 can request them on behalf of the child, but 
the child must be a current user of the NLS program.




The Bureau of Engraving and Printing plans to expand the program beginning in 
January 2015.  At that time, they will make currency readers available to 
people who are not part of the NLS program.  In order to receive a free 
currency reader, one must obtain certification from a medical professional that 
they are blind or visually impaired.  The form that is required can be 
downloaded from www.bep.gov. This form can also be used by anyone who might 
like to sign up for a free currency reader and at the same time, apply to 
receive access to braille or talking books from NLS.  The form can be 
downloaded, completed, and mailed to NLS at the address provided on the 




Please allow six to eight weeks to receive your currency reader, especially if 
you order it near or after January 2015.




The currency readers that are being distributed by the government will read the 
denomination of U.S. banknotes only.  Users can have this information spoken 
out loud or listen to it through earbuds plugged into a jack on the machine.  
The machine can also be set to emit vibrations or tones instead of speaking the 
information out loud.  For those readers who are familiar with the iBill money 
readers from Orbit Research, this is the unit that is now being distributed by 
the government.




For those who would like to learn more about what the government is doing to 
insure that blind and visually impaired people have independent access to the 
information on U.S. currency, the government will now provide email updates.  
Visit the web site of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing at www.bep.gov and 
sign up to receive updates by e-mail.  You can also check this site 
periodically for updates.  We will keep you posted on further developments as 





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