Services For The Blind And Vision Impaired

Services for the Blind and Vision Impaired explores the various services of VR New Hampshire’s SBVI program.

Image of a man wearing sunglasses holding a walking cane and speaking into a smartphone.VR New Hampshire serves people with all types of disabilities, but has some specialty programs tailored to meet the needs of certain types of disabilities. These include our Services for the Blind and Vison Impaired (SBVI)

Services provided under the SBVI umbrella include:

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

VR services under SBVI align with those offered by VR New Hampshire generally, but they take into account needs that may be specific to people who are blind or vision impaired. Depending on individual circumstances, they may focus more pre-employment training, for instance, to learn alternative ways to accomplish tasks, or entail training on assistive technology. They may also include support with aspects of life not directly related to employment but essential to successfully obtaining and maintaining it—such as orientation and mobility, communication, and independent living skills. Under SBVI, we also offer some pre-employment training services (pre-ETS) specifically targeted at youth who are blind and vision impaired.

Randolph Sheppard Program/Business Enterprise Program

Through the Randolph Sheppard Program or Business Enterprise Program, VR New Hampshire offers individuals who are legally blind and interested in self-employment an opportunity to establish and operate their own entrepreneurial enterprises on federal (and in some cases state, local, or private) properties. The program started in 1936, and originally, the nature of enterprises operated was fairly small in scope. Over the years they’ve expanded to include a wide variety of vending facilities, including cafeterias, snack bars, and retail stores. Currently, the program exists in 49 states. Each is administered as a collaborative between the State Licensing agency (SLA) and Elected Committee of Blind Managers. 

Older Individuals who are Blind and Vision Impaired (OIB)

VR New Hampshire’s Older Individuals who are Blind and Vision Impaired (OIB) program serves state residents who are blind, vision impaired, or deaf-blind and 55 or older. This includes people losing sight due to conditions such as diabetes or macular degeneration. Regardless of condition or level of vision loss, the focus is on building independent living skills based on an individual’s goals. Services are tailored to individual needs but may include support and training on skills such as computer use and communication, cooking, and travel and transportation. To deliver these services, we collaborate closely with partners, including Future in Sight. We also support older individuals who are blind, vision impaired, or deaf-blind through a network of peer support groups throughout the state. To learn more, call 1-800-581-6881.

Blindness Registry 

As part of SBVI, VR New Hampshire also maintains the state’s blindness registry. Putting your name on the registry is voluntary, but it is used by the state to verify eligibility for certain benefits, among them property tax deductions. Additional benefits range from free fishing licenses to verification for services such as school accommodations and online educational opportunities specifically for youth who are blind or vision impaired. 

Learn more about SBVI by reading our fact sheet about VR New Hampshire’s Services for the Blind and Vision Impaired or contacting:

Services for Blind and Vision Impaired
21 South Fruit Street, Suite 20
Concord, NH 03301
TTY: 603-271-3471