Communication is essential for staying healthy, holding a
job, managing a household and participating in the community. Modern
technology has vastly expanded the way most people communicate through voice,
data and video services. But for people who have combined vision and hearing
loss, special equipment may be necessary to make a phone call, send an email
or access the Internet.
The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
will ensure that low-income individuals who have combined hearing and vision
loss can access telephone, advanced communications and information services.
This program was mandated by the 21st Century Communications and Video
Accessibility Act of 2010 and established by the Federal Communications
A brochure explaining all the features of this program is
an application form to obtain assistance from this national program is at iCanConnect
National Disability Institute's Financial Wellness Series Begins September 5
The National Disability Institute at http://realeconomicimpact.tumblr.com/post/30103712466/national-disability-institutes-free-financial-wellness
will present a webinar series featuring six, free 90-minute online programs.
Each webinar will begin at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on select Wednesdays starting in
September and continue each month through December 2012. The series will
address personal finances, taxes and public benefits
as they relate to people living with multiple sclerosis, their families and
caregivers. However, the topics would be of interest to all people with
disabilities. The first webinar, Being Money Smart, will be held on September
5, 2012 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Register online at http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/Financial-Education/Financial-Wellness-Webinar-Series.aspx
for each webinar. Need help finding the information you’re looking for on
Every year, the Alabama Council of the Blind (ACB) offers a
wonderful opportunity for all legally blind Alabama
high school seniors and college students to apply for the ACB Byrd Bryant
Scholarship Program. This coveted scholarship grant is offered for a student
who strives to excel in academic or technical schools and maintains a high
grade point average.
now, drum roll please! The Alabama Council of the Blind proudly announces
that the 2012 ACB Byrd Bryant Scholarship recipient is Vibhaas
is a 2012 graduate of the Alabama School for the Blind. Now he will
be attending the University of Montevallo.
Debbie Culver, Scholarship Committee Chair, Talladega
Joe Roeder Scholarships ***
Joe Roeder had 40 years of experience
in the fields of design engineering, electronic information systems, training
and business management, including experience as a mechanical and nuclear
engineer at Bechtel Power Corporation. He was instrumental in the development
of Section 508 of the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility
Standards, which requires all federal government agencies to provide
accessible data and information for employees with disabilities.
Individuals that were considered for
the scholarship are entering their third or fourth year of college or
graduate school, or are changing careers to pursue a career in assistive
The National Industries for the Blind
(NIB) Joe Roeder Assistive Technology Scholarship Program proudly awarded two
$2,500.00 scholarships. The 2012 recipients are: Jorge Hernandez from Miami,
FL and Estin Talavera from Wichita,
KS (meet Estin
Talavera at: http://www.envisionus.com/Rehab/Sidebar/Assistive_Technology_Camp_success_story.aspx)
~ Kathy Gallagher, National
Industries for the Blind
*** Important Notice ***
legislature has passed and the Governor has signed Act No. 2012-309 relating
to the sale of insulin, insulin syringes, and related items to treat
diabetes. Act 2012-309 provides that in addition to any other exemption
provided by law, any items used for the treatment of diabetes purchased by or
on behalf of an individual pursuant to a valid prescription shall be exempt
from state, county, and municipal sales and use taxes, including, but not
limited to, any of the following: Insulin and insulin syringes, and any
equipment, supplies, devices, chemical reagents, and any related items that
may be used by a diabetic to treat diabetes or to test or monitor blood or
This act shall apply retroactively to all open tax periods and to all periods
for which a preliminary or final tax assessment of tax could be
entered. However, no refunds shall be due or issued pursuant to the
exemption with respect to any period prior to the effective date of the act.
The sale of insulin is also exempt from sales tax pursuant to Section
40-23-4.1, Code of Alabama 1975,Certain drugs exempt. Act 2012-309 becomes
effective August 1, 2012.
~ Joe Buck, Huntsville Chapter ACB
ALERT – Descriptive Programming on TV
ALERT!--Coming Soon to a TV Near You!
July 1st Starts New Era in Described Programming:
See If Your Favorite Shows are on the List!
For further information, contact:
Mark Richert, Esq.
Director, Public Policy, AFB
Beginning Sunday, July 1, the landmark provisions of the Twenty-First Century
Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) requiring the nation's
leading networks to provide a combined total of at least 450 hours of
described video programming per calendar quarter will come to life. Consumers
are encouraged to begin asking their local broadcast stations and cable
providers about accessing the described programming to be provided. In
addition, given that information about which programs are to be described and
the means for accessing description can sometimes be difficult to obtain, the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently launched a web resource
to help consumers navigate program choices, the technical means for accessing
description via digital TV and/or cable set top box, and the FCC's complaint
process for consumers to use to resolve network, station, or cable provider
failure to put described programming in consumers' hands. Visit the FCC's web
An independent but more memorable web address can also be used to be directed
to the FCC's site; this more user friendly address is:
Congratulations to the many advocates and organizations who have labored so
long for this historic expansion of TV programming accessibility. Our
community's achievement in this area is an integral part of our ongoing
effort to ensure that people with vision loss of all ages can enjoy full
participation in American life.
~ Frank Marquette, Huntsville Chapter ACB
MSU RRTC Project
The MSU Transportation Research Project
Mississippi State University’s National Research and Training Center on
Blindness and Low Vision is doing a research project about transportation
issues for people who are blind or visually impaired who live in Alabama. The
purpose of the project is to develop an intervention to assist consumers who
are blind or visually impaired to secure transportation to and from work. The
MSU staff will call you about the project, describe it to you, and you can
determine if you would like to participate. Your name must be submitted by
your rehabilitation counselor, so if you are interested in learning about or
participating in the transportation project, please contact your counselor
and discuss this matter. Your services through the Alabama Department of
Rehabilitation Services will not change in any way whether you participate or
This initiative could be of great benefit to individuals who are blind or
have low vision seeking employment. Thanks.
President, Alabama Council of the Blind,
American Council of the Blind
Free Directory Assistance
-- Issac Beavers, AIDB Huntsville Region
Residential 1-800-935-5697 (some ads);
Businesses 1-800-246-4411 (Connects calls and gives directions; some ads)
Business 1-800-500-0000 (asks for email)
Greyhound Service Returns to Talladega
-- Mary Garrett, ASB Alumni Correspondent
This was an article in the Talladega Daily Home, April 10, 2012.
Greyhound service returns to Talladega by Chris Norwood
TALLADEGA — For the first time since 2005, Greyhound buses are available in
Talladega. Company spokesman Troy Hawkins told the City Council Monday night
that Talladega had been included in the new Greyhound Connect program, which
is being funded with state and federal transportation grant money. The bus
will stop at the McCaig’s Motel in Talladega every
day at noon and carry riders to Birmingham, where they can get bus tickets to
pretty much anywhere else in the country. Other stops along the route include
Gadsden, Anniston, PellCity and several other
cities in between.
Tickets are available online or by phone at 1-800-231-2222. They can also be
purchased at the terminal in Birmingham after the first leg of the trip is
over. Tickets are either $12 each or $17.50, Hawkins said, but couldn’t say
with more certainty due to a recent fare adjustment. Service from Talladega
to Birmingham resumed April 1. City Manager Brian Muenger
said the return of bus service was “a great opportunity for Talladega. After
all, not everyone has a car.” Mayor Larry Barton commended Muenger for facilitating the return of Greyhound. “This
service is especially important here, at the home of the Alabama Institutes
for Deaf and Blind.”
Blinded Veterans Initiative
-- Frank Marquette, Huntsville Chapter, ACB
We are pleased to announce the launch of a new Blinded Veterans
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are an estimated
158,300 legally blind veterans and 700,000 veterans with low vision. In
addition, approximately 7,000 veterans become newly blind or visually
impaired each year from non-combat related causes. Compounding the problem is
that approximately 70 percent of working age Americans who are blind or
visually impaired are unemployed or underemployed.
In response, Hadley's Blinded Veterans Initiative will educate and inspire
blind or visually impaired veterans to pursue their personal and professional
goals and help support their families. Veterans coming to Hadley as a result
of this new initiative will be able to enroll in any of 100+ distance
education courses. Core subject matters emphasized through this new
initiative include business and entrepreneurship, technology, independent
living skills, adjustment to blindness and braille
The program is tuition-free for all visually impaired veterans and their
family members, thanks to the support of Goldman Sachs Gives, a donor-advised
fund. The gift was made at the recommendation of John Willian,
a managing director at Goldman Sachs and Winnetka native whose family has
shown a legacy of support for the Hadley School.
For more information about this new initiative, or to enroll, please visit: www.hadley.edu/veterans. If
you know of any blinded veterans who would benefit from Hadley's distance
education courses, please tell others.
The Hadley School for the Blind, Lifelong Learning, since 1920, 700 Elm
Street, Winnetka, IL 60093
New Law Change Increases Insurance Coverage for Veterans
-- Frank Marquette, Huntsville Chapter
WASHINGTON (Jan. 10, 2012) – Some Veterans covered under the Veterans Group
Life Insurance program (VGLI) now have the opportunity to increase their
coverage to the current maximum coverage under the Servicemembers’
Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program.
“Currently, 70 percent of the Veterans covered under VGLI are under age 60,
have less than $400,000 of coverage, and will greatly benefit from this law
change,” said Allison A. Hickey, Department of Veterans Affairs under
secretary for benefits. Under the Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010,
enacted on Oct. 13, 2010, Veterans can increase their coverage by $25,000 at
each five-year anniversary date of their policy to the current legislated
maximum SGLI coverage, presently, $400,000. To date, approximately 21
percent of eligible Veterans have taken advantage of this opportunity,
resulting in nearly $113 million of new coverage being issued.
The VGLI program allows newly discharged Veterans to convert their SGLI
coverage they had while in the service to a civilian program. Before
enactment of this law, Veterans could not have more VGLI than the amount of
SGLI they had at the time of separation from service. For example,
those who got out of the service prior to Sept. 1, 2005, when the maximum
SGLI coverage was $250,000, were limited to $250,000 in VGLI coverage.
Now on their first five-year anniversary, these Veterans can elect to
increase their coverage to $275,000. On their next five-year
anniversary, they can increase the coverage to $300,000, and so forth.
The additional coverage can be issued regardless of the Veteran’s
health. To be eligible to purchase this additional coverage, the
•Have active VGLI coverage,
•Have less than the current legislated maximum coverage of $400,000,
•Request the additional coverage during the 120-day period prior to each
five-year anniversary date, and
•Be less than 60 years of age on the five-year anniversary date of his or her
Eligible Veterans are notified of this opportunity a week before the start of
the 120-day period prior to their anniversary date, and twice more before the
actual anniversary date.
For more information about VA’s Insurance Program or other VA benefits, go to
www.va.gov or call 1-800-827-1000. Veterans are also encouraged
to visit VA’s web portal eBenefits -
TIME Large Print
-- Frank Marquette, Huntsville Chapter
TIME, the weekly news magazine familiar to all Americans, is now available in
large print. TIME Large Edition is responding to a growing population of
aging Americans and other adults who need to remain informed and connected
with the changing world. The editorially rich, folio size, weekly issues ship
during the same week as TIME's regular edition.
TIME is the first newsmagazine to produce a weekly large print edition.
TIME Large Edition features 16-point type with a minimum of 80% of the
editorial content of the regular edition. From the matte finished paper to
the integrated graphics and photos – changes recommended by Lighthouse
International - the new edition is formatted specifically for people with
vision impairments and for people on the go.
The subscription price is $79.97 for 54 issues, and may be ordered by calling
(800) 282-0079. You may want to ask them to send you a sample issue to review
-- Joe Otts, North Central Chapter
On November 11, Serotek announced that its popular
System Access Mobile Network (SAMNet) service would
be made available as a lifetime subscription for all eligible veterans on
December 15. Click here to read the press release.
We are proud to announce that the program, entitled “SAMNet
Vets”, is now live and we are ready to begin receiving applications from
What is SAMNet?
SAMNet is Serotek's
renowned Internet Community that delivers the widest and most complete
content ever assembled for the blind. With access to email, news, described
video service for thousands of movies, blogs, podcasts, streaming radio
and much much more, you'll have everything you need
right at your fingertips. With access to SAMNet,
you can connect with like-minded individuals who share your interests. To
learn more about SAMNet, click here to read the SAMNet help documentation.
How do I know if I am eligible for the SAMNet Vets
If you are a veteran who has served on active duty with the U.S. military and
you are now eligible for services through the VA Blindness Rehabilitation
Services division, you qualify for the SAMNet Vets
program. You will need to work with a Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST)
professional in order to complete the paperwork verifying your eligibility
for this service. Click here to find a VIST professional in your area.
How do I apply for the SAMNet Vets program?
Applying for the SAMNet Vets program is easy. Click
here to read all the information you'll need to know to get started with the SAMNet Vets program. http://www.serotek.com/samnetvets
You’ll need to fill out an online application, providing basic contact
information for yourself and the VIST professional who will verify your
eligibility. When you’re ready to begin the application process, click here
to apply for the SAMNet Vets program.
If you have any additional questions, please call us at (612) 246-4818, or
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org mailto:email@example.com
The Serotek Team
Activate this link to stop receiving Serotek
Email services provided by the System Access Mobile Network. Visit
www.serotek.com to learn more about accessibility anywhere.
Veterans and Agent Orange
-- Frank Marquette, Huntsville Chapter, ACB
Agent Orange related information on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic
lymphocytic leukemia, and small-cell lymphocytic lymphoma. If you have
questions about a particular claim related to Agent, please contact your
local VA Regional Office.
This is an Agent Orange issue and a clarification on non-Hodgkins
Lymphoma. NHL is currently the only presumptive disease for those
veterans who served off Vietnam (Blue water navy veterans). Some
veterans have additional presumptive conditions based on where their ships
were in relation to the coast and rivers of Vietnam. But, you could be
anywhere in theater on a ship and be considered presumptive for NHL.
This was reinterpreted earlier this year - diseases linked to NHL were
included – though the actual regulation (at the end) does not reflect the
change – yet…
This is from the VA’s C&P Bulletin (an addendum to the May Bulletin)
Grants of Service: Connection under the Provisions of 38 CFR § 3.313
Under the provisions of 38 CFR § 3.313, Veterans who served in Vietnam,
including service in the waters offshore, are entitled to a presumption of
service connection for
We have received questions about the connection between non-Hodgkin’s
lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and small-cell lymphocytic lymphoma.
Discussions with medical professionals at the Veterans Health Administration
(VHA) and with our attorneys at the Office of General Counsel (OGC) led to
the conclusion that these diseases should all be considered the same disease
for purposes of § 3.313. We will update the manual to reflect this
This is the current CFR citation – it has not been updated yet §3.313
Claims based onservice in ietnam.
(a) Service in Vietnam. Service in Vietnam includes service in the waters
offshore, or service in other locations if the conditions of service involved
duty or visitation in Vietnam.
(b) Service connection based on service in Vietnam. Service in Vietnam during
the Vietnam Era together with the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
manifested subsequent to such service is sufficient to establish service
connection for that disease.
I am providing this additional information: