[Nfbmo] Fw: Update on Currency changes for the visually impaired

Matthew Sievert msievert at sbcglobal.net
Wed May 26 03:54:38 UTC 2010

I agree, tactile currency will be a hard one.

Hey, how about standardizing credit/debit card terminals? 

I think that would be of great benefit.

Since they all seem to be different, and equally impossible to read and use.


On May 25, 2010, at 3:54 PM, "Bryan Schulz" <b.schulz at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

i noticed that but it will last maybe a month in a back pocket and being handled unless it is sturdy such as plastic produced by dymo labels.
Bryan Schulz

----- Original Message ----- From: "Greg Aikens" <gpaikens at gmail.com>
To: "NFB of Missouri Mailing List" <nfbmo at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 1:31 PM
Subject: Re: [Nfbmo] Fw: Update on Currency changes for the visually impaired

I think the report said they were opting for tactile information
instead of different sizes because it would create less of a
difference between current currency and new currency. I'm a little
skeptical about how well tactile systems work. When I was in South
Africa, the money there was supposed to have a tactile labelling
system, but I couldn't tell the difference in any of the bills, even
ones that felt new. In europe though, I found the different sized
denominations of the euro very easy to use.


On 5/25/10, Bryan Schulz <b.schulz at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

Ron white says 'there's no cure for stupid'.
i didn't notice any mention of making denominations different sizes but the
other points sound interesting.
Bryan Schulz

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gary Wunder" <gwunder at earthlink.net>
To: "nfbmo list" <nfbmo at nfbnet.org>
Cc: "Dave Hutchins" <dhutchins at kc.rr.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 7:52 AM
Subject: [Nfbmo] Fw: Update on Currency changes for the visually impaired

Dave, thank you for sending this. I will pass it along.



Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Meaningful Access to United States Currency for Blind and  Visually
Impaired Persons

AGENCY: Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Department of the Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of proposed agency action and request for public

SUMMARY: The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing (BEP) are issuing this Notice pursuant to the
ruling in American Council of the Blind v. Paulson that ordered
to provide meaningful access to U.S. currency to people who  are blind
visually impaired pursuant to section 504 of the  Rehabilitation Act of
1973, as amended. BEP seeks to develop a solution  that fully complies
with the Court's order and provides people who are  blind and visually
impaired meaningful access to U.S. currency, while  also giving
appropriate consideration to the interests of domestic and
users of currency, U.S. businesses, and cash handling and
industries. The purposes of this Federal Register Notice  are to inform
the public of the features that BEP intends to propose to  the
of the Treasury to accommodate people who are blind and  visually
in denominating U.S. currency, and to solicit public  comment on the
proposed accommodations.

DATES: Submit comments on or before August 18, 2010.

ADDRESSES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting addresses
and information about submitting public comments.



By statute, the Secretary of the Treasury has sole authority for
approving designs of U.S. Federal Reserve notes (U.S. currency). To
develop the designs, Treasury works in collaboration with the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) and the Department of
Homeland Security's United States Secret Service (USSS), through the
Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD) Steering Committee.\1\ As a
guideline, the ACD has recommended  that Treasury redesign Federal
notes every seven to ten years  to deter counterfeiting by anticipating
advances in technologies. The most recent redesign of the currency
commenced in 2003, and the final  note in that series of currency
is in production. As Treasury  begins its design plans for a new family

currency, Treasury and BEP  will incorporate additional features to
accommodate people who are  blind and visually impaired. Although it is
somewhat difficult to  provide a specific date or time frame as to when
the redesign of this  new family of currency will be completed, BEP is
required by the  Court's order to "take such steps as may be required
provide  meaningful access to United States currency for blind and
visually impaired persons * * * not later than the date when a redesign
of that denomination is next approved by the Secretary of the

In anticipation of this endeavor, in January of 2008, BEP commissioned

comprehensive study to (1) review and analyze the needs  of the blind
visually impaired relating to the identification of  U.S. currency
focus groups, surveys, and usability tests; (2)  examine various
that might improve access to the currency by  the blind and visually
impaired through discussions with subject matter  experts, foreign
currency experts, and advocacy groups; (3) perform a  cost impact
of possible accommodations on various government  and industry sectors;
and (4) provide a decision model, by which BEP  could evaluate various
potential accommodations. See Final Report:  Study to Address Options
Enabling the Blind and Visually Impaired  Community to Denominate U.S.
Currency, July 2009 (Study), which can be  found on the BEP Web site at
http://www.bep.gov/uscurrency/ meaningfulaccess.html

Although there are a wide variety of definitions and methodologies to
define blindness and visual impairment, the Study used the following
definitions: it defined blind individuals as those who have no useful
vision for reading any amount of print, and visually impaired
as those who have difficulty seeing but are able to read  some print
or without corrective lenses).

Summary of Proposed Design Modifications ` Based upon the Study's
and BEP's own expertise in  manufacturing U.S. currency, BEP proposes
recommend to the Secretary  of the Treasury the following:

I. Tactile Feature. As part of the next currency redesign, BEP will
develop and deploy a raised tactile feature that builds upon current
tactile feature technologies. The tactile feature will be unique to
Federal Reserve note denomination that it may lawfully change, and
provide users with a means of identifying each denomination by way of

II. Large, High-Contrast Numerals. Consistent with current  practice,
will continue its practice of adding large, high-contrast  numerals and
different and distinct color schemes to each denomination  that it is
permitted by law to alter to further assist visually  impaired

III. Supplemental Currency Reader Program. BEP also proposes to
to the Secretary of the Treasury a supplemental measure that  will be
taken in order to provide access to U.S. currency. This measure would
involve a process to loan and distribute currency readers to the blind
and visually impaired at no cost to them. BEP believes this  process
ameliorate difficulties stemming from the transition that  will occur
during the co-circulation of notes with and without a  tactile feature
large, high contrast numerals, a transition which  will persist for
years after the introduction of the tactile- enhanced note.

In addition, BEP will continue to explore emerging technological
solutions to provide access to U.S. currency, such as the development
software to enable blind and visually impaired individuals to fully
access U.S. currency. Some of the options include the development and
deployment of assistive software to enable banknote denomination using
cellular phones, computers, and imaging and reading devices.

Recommendation Details

I. Tactile Feature: BEP will develop and incorporate a raised tactile
feature that will accommodate people who are blind and visually
This feature will enable blind and visually impaired  individuals to
identify currency by touching the tactile feature. The  Study
that raised tactile features allow most blind and  visually impaired
individuals to denominate currency. Indeed, this kind  of feature is
in some foreign currency, and the Study's data  indicated that this
feature was more effective than virtually every  other kind of
accommodation tested, including different-sized notes.  Additionally, a
raised tactile feature would not cause a major  disruption to the
population because the notes will not appear  substantially different
their current form.

BEP recognizes that implementing a raised tactile feature will pose
challenges. First, the Study showed that current tactile  technology
out eventually, so the effectiveness of the feature  diminishes over
In addition, the Study showed that a raised  tactile feature would
costs on both government and industry. For  example, some major cash
handlers expressed concern over stacking,  mechanical counting,
examination, and finishing processes of notes with  raised tactile
features. The banking industry echoed the major cash  handlers' concern

equipment malfunctions caused by jams and added  concerns that
jams would require higher inventory levels with  associated increased
carrying costs to ensure sufficient cash would be  available at all
In addition, BEP will need to put forth a  comprehensive public
program for all users of U.S. currency  to acquaint them with the new
tactile feature.

The selection of the raised tactile feature will require additional
targeted research, testing, and consideration of the public comments.
Nonetheless, the significant benefits of notes with a tactile feature,
including the excellent accuracy results the blind and visually
achieved with them, the ease of use evidenced both by the  usability
and applicable scientific research, and the relatively  minimal impact
the general U.S. population, supports the inclusion  of a raised
feature as a recommended accommodation despite its  challenges. Based
experience, independent research, and the Study,  BEP believes it can
develop a raised tactile feature that is durable  and can be
into its existing manufacturing systems at a reasonable cost,
with the  introduction of the next design series of U.S. currency.

BEP invites comment on its proposal to incorporate raised tactile
features in the next redesign of its currency.

II. Large, High-Contrast Numerals: BEP began incorporating large,
high-contrast numerals into Federal Reserve notes beginning with the
Series 1996 design $50 note in October 1997. In March 2008, BEP
the size of the large high contrast numeral with the  introduction of
Series 2006 $5 note. The feedback received from  visually impaired
individuals has been positive. This feature will be  continued in the
new-design $100 note, which is the last in the Series  2004 family of
designs. Because BEP has experience printing this  feature and the
visually impaired community has provided positive  feedback on it, BEP
proposes to continue using this feature in the next  design for U.S.
currency. BEP is aware, however, that there may be a  number of options
concerning the size, color, placement, background  contrast and other
features for these large numerals that may improve  accessibility of
currency for persons with low-vision. BEP invites comment from the
including persons with low-vision, about the  best choices for the
proposed large, high-contrast numerals.

III. Supplemental Currency Reader Program: BEP will establish a
supplemental currency reader distribution program. The purpose of the
program is to provide blind and visually impaired people a means that
be used independently to correctly identify the denomination of  U.S.
currency. In compliance with legal requirements, BEP will loan a
reader device to all blind and visually impaired U.S. citizens  and
residents, who wish to avail themselves of this program. The
may borrow the reader for as long as the individual desires  the
assistance of the reader. Before a reader is distributed, BEP first
verify that the requestor is eligible.

Under the reader program, individuals who are United States  citizens
persons legally residing in the United States who are blind  or
impaired and who need a reader to accurately identify the denomination

U.S. currency will be able to obtain a reader at no  cost to the
individual. BEP will define blind or visually impaired  under the same
definition as the Study, with the following change to  the Study's
definition of visual impairment: The reader program will  not extend to
visually impaired individuals whose impairment is  corrected with
eyeglasses or contact lenses.

BEP is considering the scope of an appropriate verification framework
determine eligibility to receive a reader. Specifically,  it is
considering a framework inspired by the eligibility requirements that
Library of Congress uses when loaning library materials to  blind and
other disabled persons as set forth in 36 CFR 701.6. Under  that
framework, applicants may submit verification of their eligibility
from a
"competent authority." BEP would define a "competent  authority as one
the following: doctors of medicine, doctors of  osteopathy, doctors of
optometry, registered nurses, and licensed  practical nurses.

Alternatively, if a person who is blind or visually impaired has
verification of visual impairment from another Federal agency,
the Social Security Administration, the Library of Congress,  or a
or local agency, that person need only submit a copy of that
verification. BEP is inviting comments on whether this verification
system is appropriate, or whether other frameworks would be more

Parents or legal guardians of a blind or visually impaired child under
18, and caregivers, legal guardians, or those with power of  attorney
a U.S. citizen or someone legally residing in the U.S. may  act as a
on behalf of the blind or visually impaired child or  represented
individual and request a currency reader. BEP will require
for the child or represented individual.

BEP will solicit and award a single, long-term contract to  implement
currency reader program. The contractor will be  designated as the
Currency Reader Program Coordinator (CRPC). Once the  program is
operational, a potentially eligible person may request a  currency
by contacting the CRPC and completing and submitting a  request form.
Depending on the verification framework adopted, upon  verification of
eligibility, the person will be provided a reader. If  an individual
believes that the CRPC erroneously denied him or her a  reader, the
individual may appeal the decision to the appropriate  authority at
who will be designated after BEP awards the CRPC  contract.

Except for the postage to mail application forms to the CRPC, the user
should not have to expend any funds for the reader. Any fees for
and the initial battery will be borne by the provider. Readers  will be
delivered by mail. There will be a "one reader per verified  eligible
person" limit. Though there is a "one reader" limit, an  eligible
individual may receive a replacement reader from the CRPC upon request

the circumstances, such as a lost, damaged, or obsolete  reader, are
reasonable and warrant replacement.

The CRPC will also establish a selection of approved reader suppliers.
BEP anticipates that more than one reader supplier may be  authorized
the CRPC to provide readers and will seek to keep costs  low by
suppliers to meet the lowest price in order to be a  program
The CRPC shall:

1. Be responsible for overall implementation and operation of the
pursuant to a government contract;

2. Have the program operational within six months after contract

3. Communicate with eligible persons via mail, Braille, e-mail, phone,
fax, TTY, and Web site;

4. Maintain a help desk for a minimum of ten hours a day, five days a

5. Be able quickly to scale up or down staffing resources to react to
demand on the program;

6. Accept requests for readers;

7. Verify eligibility, using the appropriate criteria;

8. Within three weeks of receiving a request, either provide a reader
a requester deemed eligible or inform said person that he or  she does
meet the eligibility criteria;

9. Establish a formal CRPC Authorized Supplier Program, with
contractual controls and agreements between the CRPC and  each

10. Monitor each supplier's operation;

11. Certify each supplier's reader products;

12. Publicize a list of approved suppliers and products;

13. Establish payment mechanisms for authorized suppliers;

14. Evaluate and possibly add new reader suppliers as they enter  the

15. Suspend reader suppliers if they fail to perform;

16. Establish internal controls to assist BEP in preventing fraud,
and abuse; and obtain an annual independently verified SAS-70  Report
(Type II) of those controls;

17. Maintain a database of each person who requested a reader, was
a reader, or was denied a reader, and for readers issued, which reader
(including its serial number) was issued to which person;

18. Implement privacy controls; and

19. Ensure that all CRPC Authorized Suppliers are able and
obligated to:

a. Provide a reader that quickly and accurately denominates U.S.

b. Interact with verified eligible persons via mail, Braille, e- mail,
phone, fax, TTY, and Web site;

c. Provide readers directly to verified eligible persons if necessary;

d. Provide accessible instructional materials on how to use the

e. Provide readers that use a non-proprietary battery;

f. Provide readers with unique serial numbers for accountability;

g. Provide at least a one-year parts and labor warranty on each

h. Provide free return postage for malfunctioning readers and for
warranty service; and

i. Recognize that the selection of a reader is based on the free
and personal choice and that there is no minimum quantity of  readers
the government guarantees from any supplier.

BEP will assess the structure of this program on a continuing basis
implement changes as needed to enhance its effectiveness or


The Board pays BEP for its currency-related expenses, which are
the costs of producing new currency. BEP's costs associated  with
incorporating the proposed tactile and large, high-contrast  numeral
features would be funded by the Board, as are the costs of  other
elements for U.S. currency. BEP plans also to charge the  Board for the
costs associated with the proposed currency readers.  Because the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia determined  that BEP is
required by the Rehabilitation Act to provide meaningful  access to
currency, BEP believes these costs represent a necessary  expense that
be appropriately charged to the Board.

Questions for Comment

Treasury welcomes all comments and suggestions regarding the proposed
solutions. Treasury is particularly interested, however, in  comments
the specific questions set forth below:

1. What would be the ideal placement of the raised tactile feature? In
what kind of pattern or patterns should the raised tactile feature be

2. How should the large, high contrast numerals be incorporated? In
words, what colors should BEP use, what is the optimal size of  the
numerals, and where should the numerals be placed on the note?

3. What background colors would provide the highest color contrast for
people who are visually impaired?

4. What technological solutions should BEP explore to help people who
blind and visually impaired denominate currency?

5. What is the nature of the burden, if any, on the general public of
including a raised tactile feature on U.S. currency?

6. If there are any burdens imposed on the public by a raised tactile
feature on currency, how can such burdens be minimized?

7. What is the nature of the burden, if any, on industry and business
including a raised tactile feature on U.S. currency?

8. If there are such burdens, how can they be minimized?

9. Does the supplemental currency reader program impose a burden on
blind and visually impaired?

10. If so, what are those burdens, and how can they be minimized?

11. Does a verification process of the currency reader program
by the Library of Congress process impose too a great a burden  on the
blind and visually impaired?

12. If so, what are those burdens, and how can they be minimized?

13. Alternatively, if a person who is blind or visually impaired  has
verification of visual impairment from another Federal agency (such as
the Social Security Administration or Library of Congress), or a State

local agency, should BEP allow that person to submit a copy of  that
verification in order to satisfy a proof of visual impairment
in order to obtain a currency reader? If so, what burdens  might this
impose, and how can those burdens be minimized?

14. Should BEP consider working with local governments and/or State
agencies to deliver the currency readers?

15. Should BEP consider additional or different criteria when
eligibility for the currency reader program?

16. What administrative and/or operational challenges does the
reader program create?

Electronic Submission of Comments, Electronic Access and Mailing

Regulations.gov offers the public the ability to comment on,  search,
view publicly available rulemaking materials, including  comments
on rules. Follow the on-line instructions for  submitting comments. You
may also e-mail electronic comments to  meaningful.access at bep.gov. You
fax comments to 202-874-1212. Please  mail any written comments to
Meaningful Access, Bureau of Engraving and  Printing, Office of
Relations, 14th and C Streets, SW., Room  530-1M, Washington, DC 20228.

In general, comments received will be published on Regulations.gov
without change, including any business or personal information
Comments received, including attachments and other supporting
are part of the public record and subject to public  disclosure. Do not
enclose any information in your comment or  supporting materials that
consider confidential or inappropriate  for public disclosure.

You may also inspect and copy comments at: Treasury Department
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) collection, Room 1428, Main Treasury
Building, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20220. Before
visiting, you must call (202) 622-0990 for an appointment.

Public Forum

BEP will host two open public forums simultaneously on June 22, 2010.
will be held at the Eastern Currency Facility (14th and C  Streets,
Washington, DC 20228) and the other at the Western  Currency Facility
(9000 Blue Mound Road, Ft. Worth, TX 76131). BEP  representatives will
available to discuss the proposed  accommodations for meaningful access
and to hear public comment.  Registration to attend the public forum
either the Washington, DC  or Fort Worth, TX facility) must be made by
calling (877) 874-4114.  Because the BEP is a secure Federal
all attendees must  pre-register for the public forum by providing
name and are  subject to magnetometer inspection and their bags are
subject to x-ray  prior to entering and upon exiting the facility. To
ensure your access,  please notify BEP of your intent to attend by 5
EDT on June 18,  2010.

Larry R. Felix,


[FR Doc. 2010-12091 Filed 5-19-10; 8:45 am]



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