COVID-19 Resources

The National Federation of the Blind is closely monitoring the COVID-19 emergency, which is changing everyone’s lives but has unique effects on blind people.

The health and safety of all of our members, colleagues, and friends is always our top priority. This page provides resources that may be particularly useful to blind people facing challenges during the emergency. If you have found other resources that you believe are useful, please email the information to communicationsteam@nfb.org.

General News and Information

Medical and Healthcare Services

Government Payments and Benefits

  • CARES Act Economic Impact Payments: One aspect of the most recent COVID-19 relief law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act), is an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) for most Americans. Please review our CARES Act guide that provides some general information about who is eligible and how much you can expect to receive.

Education

  • Distance Learning: The National Federation of the Blind provides online activities and lessons via video and digital instruction. Review our distance education resources.
  • State Guidance for Schools: Review individual states' guidance for special education in elementary and secondary schools.
  • Advocacy in Education: For information on the rights of blind students and resources for self-advocacy and accessibility, start with this recent blog post.
  • Learn the Zoom Platform: The audiobook Meet Me in the Cloud is now freely available. It is a three-hour, accessible tutorial of the Zoom platform (please note: at the time it was produced, several instances of accessibility glitches needed to be pointed out; however, with current operating systems, and the latest versions of Zoom, most bugs have been resolved).
  • AccessibleNOW: For information about our #AccessibleNOW campaign and the recent Twitter chat that focused on e-learning, visit our AccessibleNOW page.
  • Accessibility Switchboard: The Accessibility Switchboard is a web portal that provides freely available resources and guides for those who want to improve accessibility in their organizations. Read the new article, "Accessibility and Keeping Employees and Students Connected from Home." 
  • All Students: Vispero is offering free licensing for JAWS for blind students (college and K-12) until at least May 2020.
  • College Students: Aira is offering free service for any college student for the remainder of the spring semester ending in May 2020. If you know of a student who could benefit from Aira for their distance learning, please email support@aira.io for more information on the program or call 1-800-835-1934.

Transportation

Because some jurisdictions are halting or limiting public transportation, there is concern regarding transportation available to blind people who need to travel to buy essentials or for testing or other medical reasons. If you are not sure of the status of public transportation in your area or need additional transportation options, please contact your affiliate president.

Affiliate Connection for State and Local Resources

With directives being different from state to state, connect with your affiliate president or point of contact in order to find state and local resources. This includes transportation, grocery delivery, volunteer services, and more.

Virtual NFB Events

Flatten Inaccessibility Curve Survey

  • Flattening the Inaccessibility Curve Survey: AIRA, NFB, Louisiana Tech, and many other organizations in the field of blindness have developed a survey to explore the increased accessibility barriers due to the coronavirus crisis. Your feedback is needed. This survey may take thirty minutes or longer, but it is critical in understanding the additional impact COVID-19 is having on blind people.

Breaking News from the NFB

Jernigan Institute

Per the March 23, 2020 executive order of the Maryland governor regarding the closure of non-essential businesses, the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute will be closing until further notice. However, we will continue our important work remotely for now. Connect with leaders or staff via phone or email. For a contact directory, please call 410-659-9314 and select option 3. While much of our program service continues, this closure means we are not able to operate our Independence Market resulting in our inability to ship literature and materials to blind people including our free white cane program.

Ongoing Efforts

For more information about COVID-19 and its effects on the blind community, please read "Coming Together During COVID-19: Concerns and Connections" from our blog. The National Federation of the Blind continues to identify and advocate for resources and support for blind people, and to create our own support systems where needed. If you know of additional resources or have ideas you want to share, please email communicationsteam@nfb.org.