The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) announced it will distribute free currency readers to eligible blind and low-vision individuals, a preemptive solution to the Federal Reserve’s tactile-enhancement of currency notes. Originally announced in the form of a July 2014 press release, the BEP and National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS) are collaborating through their U.S. Currency Reader Program to promote access to paper currency. This serves as a BEP initiative, which is also realized through the BEP’s assistance when developing the Wireless RERC-funded IDEAL Currency Reader®.
The pilot of the U.S. Currency Reader Program began in September where approximately 12,000 were pre-ordered and delivered. The national rollout of the program allows all U.S. citizens, or legal residents in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired, access to the iBill® Currency Identifier. The iBill® “identifies all denominations of U.S. paper currency by either voice announcement, tone pattern, or vibration pattern.”
Currency Readers are currently available and may be requested by submitting the U.S. Currency Reader application form to: U.S. Currency Reader Program, 14th & C Streets, S.W., Washington, DC 20228. The form is available in English and Spanish, and may be accessed HERE. Additional information is also available by contacting BEP at email@example.com or (844) 815-9388.
Source: Technology and Disability Policy Highlights