The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has begun distributing hand-held
currency reader devices to blind and visually impaired individuals.
Eligible attendees at the July 1 to 6 National Federation of the
Blind convention in Orlando, Fla., were the first to receive the iBill
Talking Money Identifier device developed by Orbit Research in
The devices can "read" the denominations of paper money
and provide the information in the form of speech, a tone or by vibration.
The devices will also be made available to eligible attendees at the
July 10 to 19 American Council of the Blind convention in Las Vegas,
Nev., and the Aug. 18 to 21 Blinded Veterans of America convention in
The distribution of the currency reader devices is in compliance
a May 2011 decision by then Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to
provide accessibility to U.S. paper currency for those who are blind
or otherwise visually impaired. The accommodations authorized by
Geithner meet the requirement of a court decision in a lawsuit filed
In May 2008 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision in 2006 that the
Treasury failed to design, produce and issue paper money that is
readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired individuals.
On Sept. 2 the BEP will launch a four-month pilot program to
distribute the devices at no cost to eligible individuals in a
partnership with the Library of Congress National Library Service for
the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
The pilot program will allow the BEP to test its ordering and
distribution processes and gauge demand for currency readers.
On Jan. 2, 2015, the devices will be widely available to all U.S.
citizens, or persons legally residing in the United States, who are
blind or visually impaired.
Individuals interested in applying for a currency reader device or
learning more about BEP’s meaningful access program can visit