Money for All
For many years, the only way for someone who was blind or visually impaired to identify United States paper currency was through the use of a costly money identifier that was often left behind as soon as a new style of bill was minted. In 2010 that greatly changed with the introduction of the iBill money reader which was a very small device that could easily fit in someone’s pocket and used either voice, vibration, or sound feedback to tell a user what currency he/she inserted into the device. For those who did not jump on the iBill bandwagon, apps for both IOS and Android were put out that both quickly and accurately were able to identify money in real time.
As of January 2nd of this year, all residents who are blind or visually impaired are now entitled to a free money reader courtesy of the US bureau of Engraving. The reader is the second generation of the original iBill and is about the size of a pack of gum. The program is going to preface the eventual introduction of tactile identification that will be integrated into paper money in the future. Anyone who receives talking book services from the National Library Service is eligible for a free money reader and can order one by calling 888-NLS-READ, or by contacting their local Talking Book library. More information on the new program is available here, as well as an application form for anyone who does not currently receive NLS services but is still eligible.