Independent Living Series Resource List

U.S. Government Agencies

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

This agency can help a person determine his or her eligibility for certain tax exemptions and deductions related to the person's visual impairment.

Social Security Administration (SSA)
Office of Public Inquiries
Windsor Park Building
6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235
TTY: 800-325-0778

This agency has programs and services for people who are disabled. Contact the agency so a representative can determine eligibility for these benefits:

  • Social Security is a federal program that provides supplemental retirement income for people over age 65; some begin receiving benefits at age 62.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal/state program that provides a minimal income to people with disabilities. SSI is based on economic need.
  • SSDI is based on earnings and how much has been paid into Social Security.
  • Work incentives exist for people on SSI or SSDI. Contact the local Social Security office, call 800-772-1213, or go to
  • Medicare is federally funded health insurance for people over 65. Part A covers some hospital or skilled nursing facility inpatient care. Part B covers doctor's services and some outpatient care. It's necessary to pay a premium for additional coverage. Apply for Medicare at least three months before turning 65. People working after age 65 may still be eligible.

U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Disability Rights Section NYA
Washington, DC 20530-0001
TTY: 800-514-0383

This division of the DOJ provides information about and enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Blind Rehabilitation Service (117B)
810 Vermont Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20420
TTY: 800-829-4833

This government agency provides health care and federal benefits to veterans and their dependents. It offers vocational rehabilitation, training in independent living skills, and other services to veterans with disabilities. The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains a network of rehabilitation centers and clinics.

The VA's Blind Rehabilitation Centers (BRCs) include instruction in visual skills, O&M, manual skills, daily living skills, and communication. BRCs are inpatient facilities and provide ophthalmologic and optometric care as well as medical services. Psychologists and social workers also provide assistance at BRCs.

The Veterans Administration has a family training program (FTP). FTP provides information and training to help the veteran and his or her family discuss the family's adjustment to vision loss. This helps family members reinforce the training the veteran is receiving.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
131 M St., NE
Washington, DC 20507
TTY: 800-669-6820 and 202-663-4494

This federal commission works to ensure nondiscriminatory employment practices. It enforces federal legislation that relates to job discrimination, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

(Submitted by: Patti Jacobson and Ginger Irwin; Last updated: July 31, 2013)

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