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Eligibility for Independent Living Services

To be eligible for independent living rehabilitation services from the Iowa Department for the Blind, you must meet the following criteria as outlined in federal regulations:

  • Have severe vision loss or blindness, OR
  • Either be aged 55 or older, or have a severe mental, cognitive, physical, or other sensory impairment, OR
  • Experience a severe limitation in ability to function independently in the family or community, or to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment due to vision loss or blindness and have a secondary disability; AND
  • There must be a reasonable expectation that independent living rehabilitation services will improve the individual’s ability to function, continue functioning, or move toward functioning independently in family or community, or to continue in employment.

Information Sharing and Privacy

What you tell the ILR Teacher or what is learned about you will be treated as confidential information, under Public Law 93–112 as amended. The Iowa Department for the Blind will gather personal information such as medical, psychological, and vocational information to determine your eligibility for ILR services. Failure to partner with the ILR Teacher may result in delay in determining eligibility for program services. 

What you tell your ILR Teacher or what is learned about you while receiving services is confidential information and will not be shared with others without your written or verbal consent. This will only be requested if the sharing of information will help to expedite program services.

Right To Appeal Eligibility

If it is found that you do not qualify for IL services, you will be granted an opportunity to discuss the decision with the ILR Teacher, the Program Administrator, the agency’s Executive Director and/or the Iowa Client Assistance Program (ICAP) Advocate. You may reapply for services at any time if your circumstances change.

Plan Development

If you are found to be eligible for services, you and your ILR Teacher will work together to identify a plan. If you choose to obtain an advocate outside of our agency to help you develop your plan, you have different options of who to work with, including the Client Assistance Program (CAP) or another person you identify. Your ILR Teacher can give you more information on these options by request.

Your plan will have a specific independent living goal and training objectives you want to achieve. When working with your ILR Teacher, you will develop objectives together that will be specific, measurable, achievable, result-focused, and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T). If you choose to work with an advocate, when your plan is completed, you will present your plan to your IL Teacher. Together you will discuss the plan. Your ILR Teacher agree with the plan presented.

You have the right to pursue a goal by developing a formal Independent Living Rehabilitation Plan (ILRP) or you may waive this right (i.e., Waiver Plan) and simply state your goal and objectives. Your ILR Teacher will help you with this process.

Your plan can be modified based on new information or changed circumstances. You and your ILR Teacher will discuss and agree on any changes made. If you have an ILRP, the ILR Teacher will provide you with a written notice of any changes. If your plan is a Waiver Plan, you waived your right to receive a written plan, and you will not receive a copy of changes. Your progress toward your goal will be reviewed at least annually.

It is up to you to actively work toward attaining your IL goal. This includes keeping appointments, actively participating in scheduled IL training activities and demonstrating measurable progress toward your IL goal. If you know you will be unable to keep your scheduled appointment with your ILR Teacher, you agree to communicate your situation as far in advance of your appointment as possible.

Costs and Financial Participation

Eligibility determination and Independent Living Rehabilitation training services provided by ILR Teachers or other IDB instructors are provided free of charge. You may be responsible for the cost of some devices or equipment which may include independent living aids, devices, or supplies as well as low vision equipment, amplification or communication equipment, access technology (i.e., JAWS or NVDA) and/or items such as computer equipment and accessories. 
Throughout the ILR service, your eligibility for, and the availability of, comparable services and benefits will be considered as a means to defray costs related to AT devices, aids, supplies, and/or access technology and/or computer equipment and related accessory items necessary to facilitate your training and complete your goal.

Counseling and Training Professionalism Standards for IDB Staff and Clients

Programs administered by IDB are provided in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Iowa statutes on civil rights and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. All eligible applicants are served regardless of race, color, creed, sex, gender, gender expression, national origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. All staff and clients are expected to follow these standards:

To provide the most effective counseling and training possible, we need to create a climate of mutual respect. Everyone is expected to conduct themselves in a kind and professional manner. This means:

  • No one will make sexual comments or jokes.
  • No one will make derogatory statements or jokes about race, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, or disability, or that make negative generalizations about any group of people.
  • Everyone will use the preferred name and pronouns of the people with whom they are working.
  • Everyone will ask permission before touching another person. 

Additional Information

By policy, IDB staff are not allowed to make social media friend requests or accept social media friend requests from anyone to whom they are actively providing services. 

It is common practice for a teacher or counselor to touch a client’s hand, arm, or shoulder when working on learning to use a long white cane to travel independently, to teach a client how to safely use a kitchen knife, industrial arts tool, phone, keyboard, read or write braille, or other task outlined in your training plan or the program curriculum. If a request for touch does not seem necessary or appropriate, you have the right to ask the purpose and/or refuse the request. 

Questions or Concerns

Anytime there is a concern with a decision or service, you should talk with your ILR Teacher. If you are not satisfied after that discussion or if you have concerns with presenting the issue(s) to the ILR Teacher, you may go directly to the IL Program Administrator to discuss those concerns. If you then find it necessary, you may contact the agency’s Executive Director. 

The Independent Living Program Administrator and supervisor for ILR Teachers is Kim Walford and she can be reached at (515) 250–1184 or
The IDB Director, Emily Wharton. She can be reached at 515–802–7313 or
In addition, you have the option to contact the ICAP Advocate whose office is located at the Iowa Department of Human Rights, Lucas State Office Building, Second Floor, 321 East 12th Street, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319. ICAP’s advocate may also be contacted by voice or TTY at 1–800–652–4298, by email at or by fax at 515–281–8088.
For further information, contact the IL Program Administrator Kim Walford at (515) 250–1184 or 1–800–362–2587. 


I understand what this form means. I have been given a chance to ask questions and I have been given a copy of this form.

Applicant’s Signature: ____________________________________Date: ________

*Note: Where applicable, a parent or legal guardian will also sign this Applicant Rights and Responsibilities Form.

Parent/Guardian Signature (if applicable): _____________________________Date: ________

ILR Teacher Signature: ________________________________Date: _________

Rev 2/22