Financial Resources for Individuals With Visual Impairments

BySara East

Updated: November 8, 2023

BySara East

Updated: November 8, 2023

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A person who is visually impaired faces more challenges navigating a highly visual world with minimal to no sight. Reaching financial independence and having financial literacy for individuals who are visually impaired requires breaking down a variety of barriers and finding unique solutions to common everyday tasks. Everyday conveniences like paying bills, accessing ATMs, paying taxes and even counting money present unique financial challenges.

In addition to money management, workplaces continue to struggle to offer accessible workspaces and responsibilities to accommodate under the ADA for individuals with sight loss. This leaves a majority of those with visual impairments outside the labor market, thus making it difficult to pay for necessary medical and health care.

The good news is there are various organizations and resources to help these individuals face and overcome these financial barriers. In this article, MoneyGeek breaks down these barriers and guides you towards available financial assistance for individuals who are blind and families of loved ones with visual impairments.


5 Financial Barriers and Ways to Tackle Them

While individuals who are visually impaired are faced with financial barriers every day, there are resources and ways to tackle these barriers. Technology can be an additional barrier for those with sight loss, but it can also be a valuable resource. In a similar way that everyday money management tasks and finding financial assistance for health care and education do not need to be a cause for stress and worry. Here are ways to tackle common financial barriers.

1. Paying Bills

Paying bills presents a number of barriers for individuals with visual impairments. From sorting the bill out from the rest of your mail to finding the bill amount and due date, to writing a check and mailing that check to the billing company, each step can be a challenging task in itself. But technology has made it easier than ever to pay bills. A variety of alternate pay solutions are accessible.


The most convenient option to manage paying bills is to change your billing to electronic delivery. Many companies will even reward you for going paperless. Once the bill arrives in your email, a talking software can read the statement for you. You can pay the bill online. Nearly every banking institution offers online bill pay as well as most medical and health care institutions. For ongoing bills, such as electricity, sewer and credit cards, look for opportunities to have bills automatically withdrawn from your account. You can also pay most bills by phone. The Be My Eyes App matches volunteers to people who are blind or low-vision and help them lead more independent lives. These volunteers can be great assistants in helping you pay your bills.

2. Using an ATM

Many people opt to use an ATM for banking versus walking into a bank and speaking with a teller. Now imagine walking up to an ATM and not being able to see what’s on the screen. Individuals with visual impairments need access to accessible ATMs in order to navigate through the necessary steps to withdraw money.


Fortunately, accessible ATMs are becoming more popular in the U.S. There are currently more than 100,000 ATMs that can be operated using speech, and that number is growing daily. Most major banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Chase, offer accessible ATMs. Many of the ATMs require a set of headphones to use the speech feature, so it’s best to travel with a pair if you’re heading to the bank. You can call your local bank to see where the closest accessible ATM is to you.

3. Financial Assistance for Health Care

Health care is one of the most costly barriers that individuals with disabilities like visual impairment face. Not only is the cost of health care higher for an individual with vision loss, but according to the Equal Rights Center, many health care facilities do not meet the legal requirements for treating individuals with disabilities. In its investigation, the company revealed significant barriers in the structural accessibility of doctors’ offices and equipment and ineffective communication for individuals who are blind or have low vision.


Financial assistance for individuals who are blind stretches across non-profit organizations, government programs and independent programs specifically created to help cover the costs of health care. You can find a variety of resources for financial assistance for the visually impaired on websites like that of Prevent Blindness. It lists resources for paying for medical and surgical equipment, medicare and additional government financial assistance programs. There are even organizations specifically designed for children and teens with visual impairment as well as resources for adults who are visually impaired.

4. Finding a Job

The biggest barrier for individuals who are visually impaired to find work opportunities is the number of available jobs. With the right accommodations, those with visual impairments can perform in just as many job sectors as those without vision loss. While the job sector is improving every day, more than 60% of people who are visually impaired still remain unemployed. The lack of available accessible opportunities weighs heavily on the mental state of those who are visually impaired. There are various rehabilitation, vocational and training resources designed specifically to help advance people with vision loss in the job market.


Organizations like the American Printing House for the Blind are helping break down the barriers that come with finding and maintaining a job when you have vision loss. A valuable resource is its CareerConnect program, which provides employment information, tools and guidance for individuals with vision loss. Understanding the necessary tools and access you need to complete a job can help find companies that provide those accommodations. You can find a long list of job-related resources for those who are blind and visually impaired on the Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired website.

5. Accessible and Affordable Education

Everyone deserves an equal chance at education, and getting a valuable education is possible for children and adults with visual impairments. The biggest barrier is the lack of access to teacher-training programs. Most teachers are not trained properly in teaching individuals with visual impairments, which means individuals must seek out a specific school for people who are blind. Finding these schools can be difficult and expensive. For students who can attend a traditional college, adding the necessary technology can be costly.


There are a variety of tools designed to make gaining a valuable education easier for children who suffer from vision issues. These tools range from accessible textbooks, tactile literacy teaching methods, Braille books, technology and more. Online education has also made it easier to find accessible programs and courses. In addition, there are organizations and programs designated to helping children and adults with visual impairments earn an education. You can find a list of schools on the Teaching Students With Visual Impairments website.

Expert Opinions on Navigating Life With Visual Impairments


Financial Resources for Individuals With Visual Impairments

There are many resources available to help people with visual impairments overcome the variety of financial barriers they may face. These resources range from independent to government-funded programs and organizations, and they provide support for all aspects of a person’s life. They offer everything from guidance and support to financial relief and education for all ages.

Financial Assistance

Technical Tools, Apps and Assistance

  • VoiceOver: This is a YouTube video to show how to access the VoiceOver feature. For Apple users, the company has made it easy to turn your phone into an assistance device. The VoiceOver feature will read out everything on the screen of your iPhone, iPad or Mac. It can easily be toggled on within any device.
  • Be My Eyes: A website that enlists volunteers to “be the eyes” of those who suffer from visual impairments. It has more than four million volunteers.
  • LookTel Money Reader: This app for Apple and iOS devices recognizes currency and reads the amount out loud.

Professional Organizations

  • National Industries for the Blind: The National Industries for the Blind helps to enhance opportunities for personal and economic independence for people who are blind by creating employment opportunities.
  • Blinded American Veterans Association: This is a membership organization that offers benefits, rehabilitation training and access to technology to veterans with visual impairments and their families.
  • Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults: This organization offers education in independent living skills, braille instruction, orientation and mobility instruction, vocational training and counseling for youth and adults with hearing and visual impairments.
  • American Council of the Blind: This organization advocates on issues related to civil rights, educational opportunities, vocational training, Social Security benefits and health and social services on behalf of people with visual impairments.
  • American Printing House for the Blind: A not-for-profit organization that provides resources and guidance for people living with visual impairments and their families. It offers resources to encourage independent living, education, career opportunities and more.
  • National Federation of the Blind: Founded in 1940, this is the largest federation of Americans who are blind. It offers services, programs and resources to help defend the rights, provide support and information to Americans who are blind.

Advocacy Organizations and Support Services

  • American Foundation for the Blind: It advocates for the civil rights of individuals who are visually impaired.
  • Council of Citizens With Low-Vision: The Council of Citizens with Low-Vision advocates for the general rights of persons with low vision, including education for the public, training and support for those with visual impairments and outreach programs.
  • United States Access Board: This organization promotes equality for people with disabilities, working toward creating accessible guidelines, standards and design. It was established in 1973 and is an independent federal agency. Individuals who are blind are part of its advocacy.

Community Support Groups

  • Facebook Groups: This is a compiled list of Facebook groups by NoisyVision, a non-profit organization designed to support people who are blind and visually impaired.
  • Family Caregiver Alliance: A community-based non-profit organization that addresses the needs of family and friends who are providing long-term care to individuals with visual impairments.
  • Local Community Support Groups: This is a detailed list of local and national community support groups by New Horizons Un-limited that you can use to find a support group in your area. It currently has local resources for California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York and Wisconsin.

Housing Resources

  • Section 811 Grant: A government-backed program that allows persons with disabilities to live independently through subsidized rental housing opportunities that provide access to supportive services.
  • A Guide to Homeownership Programs for People with Disabilities: A MoneyGeek homeowners guide to help people with disabilities navigate purchasing a home. The guide includes non-profit and government-sponsored programs, such as the Housing Choice Voucher — a homeownership program that helps families who have a disability buy a home and receive monthly assistance for homeownership expenses.
  • Lions Club International: This international organization provides resources and financial help to people with visual impairments. It often provides assistance in home adaptation needs.

Scholarships, Financial Aid and Education

  • Scholarships and Grants for Students with Disabilities: This is MoneyGeek’s how-to guide to obtain scholarships and grants for students with disabilities. It also provides helpful financial information and opportunities for tax deductions and breaks.
  • Resources for College Students with Disabilities: This is a MoneyGeek college prep guide for students with disabilities. It includes strategies to be successful before, during and after college, classroom accommodations, assistive technology and tips for parents of college students with disabilities.
  • FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid offers a Braille FAFSA and provides students with opportunities to receive federal funding for higher education. Unfortunately, this form is a reference aid and cannot be submitted. You can obtain a Braille copy by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
  • Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired: This organization provides free distance-education courses for people with visual disabilities, their relatives and any professionals who work with them.
  • Federal Student Aid: The U.S. Department of Education offers the Federal Student Aid program to help students who are blind and visually impaired pay for school beyond high school.

Other Resources

  • Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB): This non-profit organization connects people and dogs together. It works to train and prepare qualified guide dogs to individuals who are blind or have low vision. Its services are free of charge.
  • Braille Institute: The Braille Institute provides a wide range of free programs, classes and services in the Southern California area. It is a non-profit organization with a mission to help individuals with vision loss or blindness.

About Sara East

Sara East headshot

Sara East is a freelance writer and content marketing professional based in Reno, NV. She has more than 10 years marketing experience in public relations, content and digital marketing. Sara has been a published writer for more than 10 years having written articles about finance, business, entrepreneurship, education, travel, real estate, insurance, healthy living, social media, travel and study abroad.

Sara's writing has been published in national news sites including Mashable, The Muse and The Next Web as well as on a variety of blogs. When she's not writing, Sara enjoys spending time with her fur kids exploring the mountains of Reno/Tahoe and enjoying the outdoors.