BESB: Social Services

SOCIAL WORK SERVICES

 

Client Processing Information

BESB provides Social Work Services through the Adult Services Division. The purpose of these services is to provide adults who are legally blind and children who are visually impaired and their families to become registered for and provided with overview of services. Social workers also provide short-term counseling to address difficulties adjusting to blindness and assist, when necessary, in providing referrals for long-term counseling and other community services.

The Intake/Application Process

Before an application for services is completed the agency must have an eye report from the applicant’s eye care professional, a physician, or a neurologistMost doctors have the eye report that needs to be filled out. If not, a letter on the physician’s letterhead will be accepted. This letter must have the following information: Name of the potential client, Address, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Diagnosis, and Acuity/Field Restriction (if applicable).

 

Once the eye report is received by the agency it will be reviewed. If it is deemed that the applicant is legally blind, he will become registered.

 

All eye reports and information are kept confidential consistent with State of Connecticut statutes.  Therefore nothing is ever reported to any other outside agency unless it is requested by the applicant.  If requested, a release of information will be signed by the applicant.

 

There are no fees or income eligibility requirements for services from BESB. An applicant becomes eligible based on the eye report only. Once you become registered a Social Worker will be notified and will call you to schedule an interview with you at your convenience.

How Services Are Provided

Different social workers cover different parts of the state, and depart from various locations to make visits to you.

 

Once you become registered, your eye report will be assigned to a social worker who covers your part of the state. That social worker will contact you by phone to schedule a personal meeting with you at a convenient location. It may be in your home or wherever you are living. It may also be at one of our office locations or some other agreed-upon location (local library). This location is decided between you and your social worker.

 

The purpose of this meeting is to inform you of all the services and benefits you are entitled to because you are legally blind. It is important to emphasize that it is an explanation of benefits and services only. The social worker does not examine your eyes or dispense low vision products. Services and benefits for you will not be initiated or requested on your behalf unless you indicate to the social worker that you want these benefits and services.

 

It is also important to emphasize that you are always entitled to services, not just the day that you meet with your social worker. If you feel that a service is not needed at the time of the interview, but at a later date you feel you now need that service, please contact your social worker. Your social worker will meet with you or talk to you by phone at any time, not just at the initial interview. Please save the contact information and any other information provided to you at the initial interview so you will know how to contact us and with whom to speak.

 

Ongoing support is available if you request it.  Services will be available to you throughout your lifetime.  If you have a concern or need please call your social worker.

Overview of Services and Benefits Discussed At An Intake Meeting

Counseling and Referral Services

  • Discussion of vision loss issues and assistance with finding counseling resources in the community

  • Discussion of housing options available in your community and assistance with the application process

  • Referral to community, State, and Federal programs.  (Some may include your local Visiting Nurse Association, Area on Aging, Social Security Office, or Department of Social Services)

 

Legal Benefits 

The social worker will explain all the legal benefits to which you are entitled, such as tax exemptions, handicapped parking, discount transportation, and an exemption for charges for 411 calls with the phone company.

Low Vision Rehabilitation Services

The social worker will discuss with you low vision doctors in your geographic area.  You will select a physician and your social worker will then send out a referral to that doctor.  When this is completed, you will get a letter with his name, address, and phone number.  At that time you contact the physician directly and schedule an appointment at your convenience.  The low vision doctor will assess your needs and prescribe visual aids to maximize the vision that you have.

It is important to know that you must continue to see your medical eye doctor,  The low vision evaluation does not replace the medical care provided by your medical doctor.  This low vision exam is different and addresses equipment and devices to improve the vision that you have.

If you have difficulty using the devices and need additional training at the completion of this low vision evaluation process, our agency will provide this follow-up to you.

Orientation & Mobility 

Referral for instruction in methods of orientation use of white cane for identification of blindness, for gathering information, and for protection.

 

Discussion of access to public transportation and assistance with necessary applications.

Rehabilitation Teaching 

Hands-on instruction in home management skills, and marking of appliances for safe use.

 

Training in communication skills including Braille, word processing, and writing guides.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Referral for vocational rehabilitation services that assist people who are legally blind to prepare for employment, further education leading to employment, or to retain a current job.

 

If you are eligible for our Home Rehabilitation Program, a rehabilitation teacher will also help you to maintain your independence at home.  This is provided through instruction, training, and adaptive equipment and aides.

Volunteer Services 

Referral for assistance with reading, bookkeeping, visitation, transportation, shopping.

Books On Tape

The Library of Congress will provide a recorder and books on tape to you at no expense. This is a complete library service and it is all done by mail (free postage). Your social worker will discuss this service in detail and refer you if you request it.

CRIS Radio

CRIS Radio is a private non-profit, 24-hour radio station that provides reading of your local newspapers as well as news, talk shows, and other current events. Your social worker will explain how to access this program and will refer you for it if you request it.

 Your social worker will also:

  • discuss many other needs and concerns you may have that are affecting your quality of life

  • provide you with transportation options available in your community and assist with connecting you with these services

  • discuss housing options available in your community and assist with the application process

  • refer you to Community, State, and Federal Programs to assist you if needed. Some may include your local VNA, Area on Aging, Social Security Office, Department of Social Services, or any other services your need may require.  This is only done with your permission and a release signed by you.

  • discuss your vision loss issues with you and assist you with finding counseling resources in your community if you feel you need support in this area. It is important to know that vision loss is a loss as any other loss that you experienced in your life.  You need to allow yourself to grieve for the loss, and go through the healing.





Content Last Modified on 1/31/2007 4:23:30 PM