Visual disability affects many individuals across the United States. According to the American Community Survey in 2012, there are an estimated 6,670,300 Americans with a visual disability.
Being visually impaired, blind or having low vision can create financial strain. Over 1 million Americans living in the US with a visual disability are believed to be under the poverty line. This makes it difficult for those with a visual disability to access care. Therefore, financial barriers are one of the leading reasons why individuals are unable to access medical care, treatment and adaptive equipment.
The Cost Of Visual Disability
There are many medical expenses and costs involved when you have a visual disability. These costs vary according to the severity of the disability as well as the disorder associated with the visual disability.
For example, individuals who have Retinal disorder with no signs of diabetes on average pay $3800 annual for medical treatment. This is compared to individuals who are blind where the cost can escalate over $7000 per year.
Type Of Costs
Individuals may require full time care. This is particularly for individuals over the age of 65 years old. Nursing home costs can attribute to a large portion of costs. Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey in 2011 estimates that individuals cover 6.1 percent of the overall cost of care. This can accumulate to thousands of dollars each year and is an ongoing cost that individuals require to pay for.
Low vision aids and other devices may also be required to help an individual live independently.
Special education is an ongoing cost that individuals will need to cover. This includes training for employment and learning new skills. Individuals can find the cost of education higher depending on the age and level of education an individual commenced with.
Individuals may also require a guide dog for further assistance in everyday life.
Where To Get Financial Assistance For The Blind
1. State Services
There are a range of state government programs and services available to individuals who are blind, visually impaired or who have low vision. These state services are generally available to individuals who met requirements such as having low income and being visually impaired.
When accessing these state services, individuals may be able to receive financial assistance for:
– Glasses for low vision patients
– Eye exams
– Eye surgery and treatment from a medical provider
– Eye related medications
– Glaucoma screenings
– Hearing exams
– Job training to see better work opportunities
– Housing and living expenses
– Technology aids and adaptive equipment
2. Clinical Trials
Clinical trials offer individuals who visually impaired the opportunity to receive treatment and medication for free. Examples of this is include the National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute, CenterWatch Clinical Trials Listing Service and ResearchMatch.
Individuals can participate in research free of charge. There are requirements that need to be met according to each clinical trial. Individuals are subject to approval.
3. Non-Profit Organizations
Non-profit organizations and charities offer individuals financial assistance if you are blind, visually impaired or have low vision. Many organizations will offer their services free of charge, or charge a small fee. Here are a few examples of what non-profit organizations can offer:
Beyond Sight provides individuals with a range of equipment and aids. This include computers, talking clocks, kitchen items, magnifying glasses and closed circuit TVs.
The Association for Education & Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired assist individuals with employment. Here you will be able to access certification programs for training and building skills for the workforce. Individuals will also be able to receive opportunities for exchange services and employment after training.
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind provides early intervention services, rehabilitation services and comprehensive low vision care. Individuals can also access career placement services, training, early intervention services and consultation in assistive technology.
The Seeing Eye is another non-profit organization that helps individuals get a guide dog both in the US and Canada.
The Braille Institute of America support individuals who are blind, visually impaired or with low vision by providing classes, training and activities completely for free.
4. Social Security
Although social security services were created to assist senior adults from the age of 65 years old, many of their services if not all of them are also offered to individuals with a disability at all ages.
There are four main programs that can give financial assistance for the blind. These include:
3. Supplemental Social Security
4. Social Security Disability Insurance
Fundraising For Financial Assistance
Individuals looking for financial assistance for the blind can also use a free fundraising service that can help individuals raise thousands of dollars to cover the cost of the medical expenses.
Using PeoplePledge, for example is a great way for family and friends to help out and support you during your time of need. There is no fee involved in using PeoplePledge.
Individuals are able to setup a fundraising page online. This involves submitting proof of your disability as well as writing a story to help supporters understand why you require the funds.
You will also be able to upload photos of yourself, family and friends to help make the fundraising page more personalized.
Why Choose Fundraising Over Other Financial Assistance Options?
There are many benefit to using online fundraising as a means of financial assistance. Many families and their loved ones have chosen to use online fundraising for many reasons.
Fundraisers will be able to easily manage their fundraiser online. You will receive notifications, reminders and even gain access to a list of your donors. With all this information, individuals are able to say thank you to their supporters instantly and keep up to date with the progress of their fundraiser no matter where you are.
Another big benefit of using online fundraising is that it also ensures that you will have the ability to use the funds wholly for the health and well-being of the beneficiary. This is determined by the individual. You will therefore be able to choose how the funds are used. This can be for adaptive equipment, special education, getting a guide dog or general household ad living expenses. Online fundraising does not limit how the funds are used as compared to seeking financial assistance from other organizations, the government and non-profits.
In addition, Americans may also create and run a fundraiser immediately. Setting up a fundraising page is completed all online, which means you can start your fundraiser within minutes after creating your fundraiser.
Individuals will also have the opportunity to make their fundraiser go viral through the help of social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also text friends and family or send them an email. Word of mouth is also a great way to spread the word about your fundraiser.
1) Statistical Facts about Blindness in the United States: https://nfb.org/blindness-statistics
2) Helpful Organizations: http://www.brightfocus.org/macular/resources/helpfulorganizations.html
3) If You Are Blind Or Have Low Vision— How We Can Help: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10052.pdf
4) Cost Cost of Vision Problems: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States: http://www.preventblindness.net/site/DocServer/5_Wittenborn-plenary.pdf?docID=3161
More Financial Assistance for the Blind Resources
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