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Horizons for the Blind Posts

Camille Caffarelli (1946-2020)

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It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Camille Caffarelli, our Executive Director. Camille passed away at her home on May 29, 2020, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. 

Horizons for the Blind was founded in 1977 by Camille. Blind since birth, she realized even as a child that experiencing life and interacting with the world should not be limited to those who viewed things in traditional ways.  

From two volunteers working out of her basement in Chicago, Horizons has grown to be a leading provider of transcription services to the blind and visually impaired community.    

Advocating for equal accessibility and employment opportunities for blind and visually impaired people was Camille’s passion and life’s work through Horizons. 

This passion was not based in sympathy or feeling sorry for people with disabilities, but in a strong belief and commitment to independence and the equality of all people..

Camille said this a few years ago at Horizons’ 40th Anniversary celebration: 

“One of the most unique things about Horizons is that we all work as a team equally – people who are blind, low vision and sighted. No one group is ever treated better than the rest. By joining the pluses of these three groups, we have grown and created an environment which works for everyone. And we’ve spread this across the country.”

A memorial gathering will be held on Wednesday June 17, 2020 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Willow Funeral Home & Cremation Care 1415 W. Algonquin Rd., (one mile east of Randall Rd.) Algonquin/Lake in the Hills.

Interment will be held privately at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Horizons for the Blind, 125 Erick St., A103, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014.

Get your Soup R Mug today just in time for the Superbowl!

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The newest addition to our line of products is the Soup ‘R Mug™ from Nordic Ware. Perfect for a meal on the go! Just fill it with your favorite meal and toss it in your tote or backpack. This 18 oz. mug is microwavable save with a leak-resistant lid and priced at just $8.00. Orders may be placed by calling 815-444-8800 ext. 238. Our on-line shopping cart is currently being upgraded to serve you better. Thank you for your patience during the upgrade.

Qualifying for Disability Benefits with Vision Loss

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Have you been diagnosed with vision loss? If you’re unable to work due to deteriorating vision, you might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Thousands of people who are blind are eligible for Social Security disability benefits; in fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is especially lenient when it comes to working with vision loss and receiving disability benefits.

Medical Qualifications

The SSA uses its own guide of qualifying criteria, known colloquially as the “Blue Book,” to determine if applicants are eligible for disability benefits. There are three different listings for vision loss in the Blue Book:

Section 2.02—Loss of Central Visual Acuity

This listing is straightforward. If your eyesight is worse than 20/200 after “best correction,” (glasses, contacts, or surgery), you will qualify. It’s important to note that your eyesight must be 20/200 with glasses, not without. If you’re able to wear glasses or contacts and correct your vision, you will not qualify for disability benefits.

Section 2.03—Contraction of the Visual Field in the Better Eye

Under this listing, there are two ways to qualify. Both will require eye exams by an optometrist:

  • You cannot see more than 20 degrees to the left or the right of a fixed point, OR
  • You have an MD of 22 decibels or greater, determined by automated static threshold perimetry that measures the central 30 degrees of the visual field

Section 2.04—Loss of Visual Efficiency or Visual Impairment

Again, there are two ways to qualify under this listing:

  • You have a visual efficiency percentage of 20 or less after best correction (lenses, contacts, surgery)
  • You have a visual impairment value of 1.00 or greater after best correction

The entire Blue Book is available online, so you can review the listings with your doctor to determine if you’re eligible. Your optometrist can help you calculate your MD score, your visual efficiency percentage, or your visual impairment value.

“Best Eye”

Every Blue Book listing states that your visual impairment must meet its qualification criteria in your best eye. This means that you will not qualify if you are blind in one eye but have good vision in another.

Starting Your Application

The easiest way to apply is online on the SSA’s website. You can ask a loved one to apply on your behalf if you’re unable to type for extended periods of time. If you’d prefer you can also apply for disability benefits in person at your closest Social Security office. You can schedule an appointment by calling the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. Most claims are approved within three to five months.

Working While on Disability Benefits

The SSA has high income limits for people who are blind who receive disability benefits. If you are approved, you can earn up to $1,970 per month before taxes. If you’re able to keep part-time work, you can supplement your income with Social Security disability benefits.

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Posted in Blog post

BANA is holding it fourth and final UEB Transition Forum this week in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since UEB was implemented! In preparing for the Forum, we came across a handout of UEB examples that we made for a presentation in 2015. Although it’s an informal document of sentences and lists, meant to be explained, it’s a good reminder of what changed and what didn’t with UEB. It covers typeforms, punctuation, contraction usage, symbols, and more.


The handout, UEB Examples, is available here as a BRF and PDF for you to download.

Horizons to Receive Funds from Audio and E-Book Sales

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Audio book and e-book bundles from the best-selling sports author in America are now available for purchase on-line at an amazing price! Bundles include 15 audio books or 13 e-books for only $29.95. Bundles are available for the Chicago fan or the Iowa fan. Better yet, you can get both audio and e-book bundles for $39.95.  Horizons for the Blind will receive a portion of each sale. The majority of these audio books were recorded in the Horizons Audio Department recording studio!

To order and for Horizons to receive credit, visit

For a complete list of all books available, visit

Holiday Cake Pans Available for the Holiday Season!

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Amaze your guests or hostess this holiday season with our wide array of tactile Nordicware cake and loaf pans. Bundt pans, cake pans and loaf pans are available from our Gadget Gallery.

Currently available for purchase are: Santa’s Sleigh Loaf Pan, Ginger Bread House Bundt Pan, Holiday Wreath Pan, Yule Log Pan, Snowflake Pan, Pine Forest Bundt Pan. And for the little ones – the Train Cake Pan. All pans are under $30, plus shipping. Order yours today! Call 815-444-8800 x238

Image: Pine Forest Bundt cake on crystal footed platter. Cake shown is a pound cake dusted with powdered sugar. A slice from the cake is on a crystal plate next to the platter. Cake is embellished with red berries and pine sprigs. Table-scape consists of a pine sprig, a pine cone and gold glass ornament on a red napkin.

Horizons Receives Award

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At the recent 2017 ICB (Illinois Council of the Blind) Conference and Convention, Horizons Founder and Executive Director Camille Caffarelli was presented with The Thomas D. Bledsoe Award.

The image and award read:

The Illinois Council of the Blind

Presents The Thomas D. Bledsoe Award to Camille Caffarelli

For a lifetime of outstanding service for persons who are blind or visually

impaired and providing them with the necessary resources to lead a

productive and meaningful lifestyle. We thank you for your many years of

service and congratulate you for receiving this award.

Presented by: Rachel Schroeder, ICB President

On this day: September 30, 2017