Senior Equipment and Training Project
The Division of Blind Services (DBS) has been working in partnership with the Blind Services Foundation of Florida (BSF) on strategies to provide assistive technology and devices to more of our older blind customers. On June 21, 2023, BSF approved and funded the Senior Equipment and Training (SET) project, which is a pilot project aimed at achieving this goal. DBS also intends to make training available on the use of purchased equipment if such training is needed or requested. Finally, the last component the SET project seeks to accomplish is to renew licenses for Vispero products for individuals whose case is already closed.
We are excited about this opportunity to expand our reach to the older blind community through this partnership. To be eligible, the individual must:
- Be 55 or older.
- Have a diagnosed bilateral visual impairment.
- Be a Florida resident.
- Be a former or current client of DBS.
- Must have legal status in the U.S.
Below are general questions we have anticipated you may ask related to this project.
1. How does the individual apply?
The individual or their representative must contact the local DBS district office or local CRP (Lighthouse) for assistance with completing the Senior Equipment and Training Request Form. The form must be submitted to SET@dbs.fldoe.org. Once the form has been submitted, a committee will review the request and submit a recommendation to the BSF committee. The BSF committee will review for final approval.
2. What information does the individual need to provide to DBS or CRP to apply for the project?
To apply for the project the individual must provide the following information at the time of request:
- Equipment type with specifications,
- Vendor quote with cost of item(s),
- Justification that supports the purchase, for example, benefit of use, recommendation by professionals, etc.
3. What additional documentation is required to submit a request under this project?
To comply with confidentiality and safeguarding of personal information, the individual must complete DBS CS-017 Authorization for Release of Information to the BSF and this project. If not already available in the current or previous case, an eye medical report that supports bilateral visual impairment is required.
4. Can an individual or their legal representative complete the request form on their own?
No. The form must be completed and submitted for consideration by a DBS or CRP representative. Individuals are recommended to contact their local DBS or CRP office for assistance.
5. Does an individual need to apply for DBS services to receive assistance with purchases through the SET project?
To receive assistance through the SET project, an individual must be a current client and/or have been a previous client of the agency. Individuals who have never been a client are encouraged to apply for DBS services.
6. Are these requests required to be paid through the client management Aware database?
No. The individual does not need to be a current DBS client to submit a request form under this project. Payment is processed directly to the vendor.
7. What vendors can be utilized for this project?
Acceptable vendors for this project must be registered with the State of Florida vendor website My Florida Market Place (MFMP) and have a working relationship with the agency. Individuals may contact their local DBS or CRP office for more information on available vendors in their area.
8. What’s the maximum amount for equipment purchase requests under this project?
9. Can the individual supplement the difference when the value of the equipment exceeds the maximum amount?
Yes, an individual may pay out of pocket for the difference when the value of the equipment exceeds $2,500.00. This must be arranged directly with the vendor and included in the justification provided.
10. Once a request is submitted, how long does it take to be approved?
Requests will be reviewed by a review committee within three business days from email submission. Recommendations will be sent to the BSF board for a final vote. The BSF board will hold routine meetings.
11. How will the individual know if a request has been approved?
The BSF committee will notify the requester of the decision who will then notify the individual.
12. How will the individual receive the equipment once approved?
Equipment purchases will be delivered to the local DBS or CRP office for pick-up. For items delivered at DBS or CRP locations, it is the individual’s responsibility to coordinate pick-up. An in-home delivery may be arranged if set up and training is required. For Vispero license renewal requests, a link will be delivered via email.