Many people are under the impression that individuals who are blind or have a visual impairment can only work in specific jobs. But the truth is that with a little bit of accommodation, individuals who are blind or have a visual impairment can be successful in any job.

Ask the Employee

Reasonable accommodations are decided on a case-by-case basis and depend on the individual employee’s needs. Employers should talk with the employee about whatever tools are necessary for the employee to accomplish their job.

Accommodations may include:

  • Making existing facilities accessible to people who are blind or have a visual impairment
  • Acquiring or modifying existing equipment for employees who have a disability, such as:
    • Braille print outs
    • Screen Readers/Synthetic Speech programs
    • Screen Magnifiers

The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to enable employees who are blind or have a visual impairment to perform the functions to the job in which they are currently working or for which they are applying.

Accommodations may include making existing facilities accessible, job restructuring, acquiring or modifying existing equipment and reassigning a vacant position. After a request for reasonable accommodations, the employer and employee should discuss the situation to clarify the needs of the employee.

The ADA provides tax credits to small businesses for hiring an employee with a disability that will cover 50 percent of eligible expenditures on accommodations over $250 up to $10,000 (the maximum amount of credit per year = $5,000). If the eligible credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed, business may carry the unused portion of the credit to the next year.

Federal and state governments also offer several tax credits to employers for hiring individuals who have a disability.