As an interim measure in advance of issuing tactile-enhanced Federal Reserve notes, the BEP is providing currency readers, free of charge, to eligible blind and visually impaired individuals.
The BEP announced its distribution plans for the U.S. Currency Reader Program in a press release issued on Thursday, July 3, 2014.
The U.S. Currency Reader Program launched in two phases:
Pilot: From September 2 to December 31, 2014, in partnership with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS), the BEP conducted a four-month pilot where NLS patrons could pre-order a currency reader. The pilot program allowed the government to test its ordering and distribution processes and gauge demand for currency readers. Approximately 12,000 NLS patrons pre-ordered a currency reader during the pilot phase.
National Rollout: Currency readers became widely available to all U.S. citizens, or persons legally residing in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired, on January 2, 2015. Individuals interested in receiving a currency reader through the U.S. Currency Reader Program must submit an application, signed by a competent authority who can certify eligibility. Applications, available in English and in Spanish, can be downloaded here.