Rehabilitation Services_Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who are Blind

To provide independent living services to individuals aged 55 or older who are blind, whose severe visual impairments make competitive employment extremely difficult to obtain, but for whom independent living goals are feasible.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Projects have extended services to subgroups of the older blind population that are vulnerable to premature or unnecessary institutionalization as well as to older deaf-blind persons.

These projects provide services in both rural and urban areas and about half of the grantees make subgrants to community nonprofit agencies to deliver services.

In addition to in-home and/or facility- based service provisions, mobile units and community minicenters are available near the residences of persons being served.

All projects provide comprehensive independent living services.

Agency - Department of Education

The Department of Education ensures equal access to education and promotes educational excellence through coordination, management and accountability in Federal education programs. The Department works to supplement and complement educational efforts on all levels, encouraging increased involvement by the public, parents and students.

Program Accomplishments

Funding was received by 56 projects in FY 07.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Federal funds are used to improve or expand independent living services.

Among the services provided are those to help correct or modify visual disabilities, provide eyeglasses and other visual aids, provide services and equipment to enhance mobility and self-care, provide training in Braille and other services to help older individuals who are blind adjust to blindness, provide teaching services in daily living activities, and other supportive services that enable individuals to live more independently.

Funds can also be used to improve public understanding of the problems faced by visual older individuals who are blind.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Any State agency (including territories/possessions designated by the State as the State agency) authorized to provide rehabilitation services to blind individuals may apply.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Individuals aged 55 or older whose severe visual impairments make gainful employment extremely difficult to obtain but for whom independent living goals are feasible and beneficial.


Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The standard application forms as furnished by the Federal agency and required by OMB Circular No.

A-102 must be used for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

Any application for a grant must contain assurances that the designated State unit will seek to incorporate any new methods and approaches relating to services for older individuals who are blind into the State plan for Independent Living Services. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110.

Award Procedures

Awards are made on approval of the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services and the Assistant Secretary, OSERS, based on a review of findings of Federal and nonfederal reviewers.


Contact the headquarters office for application deadlines.


Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Title VII, Chapter 2, 29 U.S.C. 796j-7961.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 90 to 120 days.




Awards are made on an annual basis. Projects may be continued for up to 4 additional years based on annual review of accomplishments, submittal of a continuation application, and the availability of funds. Renewals are available only through the new application process.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Cost-sharing of $1 for each $9 of Federal grant funding is required.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Projects in fiscal year are generally approved for a period of up to five years with funding approved on a 12 month basis. Renewals are subject to availability of appropriations.

Post Assistance Requirements


As required by the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) for direct gt programs (34 CFR 75).

Generally, annual performance and financial reports are required.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


As required by EDGAR for direct grant programs (34 CFR 75). Generally, records related to grant funds, compliance, and performance must be maintained for a period of five years after completion.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $32,895,000; FY 08 est $32,320,000; and FY 09 est $32,320,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

The average State award was $623,000 in FY 07.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Section 752 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, and 34 CFR 367, as amended.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Department of Education, OSERS 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Rm. 5057, PCP, Washington, DC 20202. Contact: Thomas Kelley. E-mail: Telephone: (202) 245-7404.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Selection criteria for this program are extent of need for the project, plan of operation, quality of key personnel, budget and cost-effectiveness, evaluation plan, adequacy of resources, service comprehensiveness, and likelihood of sustaining program. Criteria for selecting projects are published in program regulation at 34 CFR 367.

Meticulon, a project of Autism Calgary Association in partnership with the federal government and the Sinneave Family Foundation, operates as a social enterprise that renders high-tech services provided by people with autism, leveraging their natural abilities at requiring attention to detail, repetition, and sequencing.

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