Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) membership policies align with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Blind Rehabilitation Service (BRS) Directive 1174, Blind and Visual Impairment Rehabilitation Continuum of Care (including any future updates or revisions).
Any person having honorably served, or currently serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, qualifying for VA BRS is eligible for membership in BVA. Eligibility verification may be provided by an Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator (VIST), or Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist (BROS).
The following are examples of qualifying conditions:
- Substantial visual impairment encompassing loss of visual acuity or visual field loss resulting from, but not limited to, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, ocular injury, brain injury, or stroke. Visual Impairment significantly interferes with the ability to function independently, such as performing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) travelling safely, and self-care management. This includes Legal Blindness (LB) and Low Vision (LV).
- Legal Blindness (LB) is defined as central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens, and/or a limitation in the field of vision with the widest diameter being no greater than 20 degrees.
- Low Vision (LV) is defined as significant loss of vision uncorrectable by conventional means such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicines, or surgery, negatively impacting patient safety or impairing or restricting one or more ADLs.
The National Board of Directors shall review and adjudicate the membership status of borderline cases, those whose sight improves to such an extent they no longer qualify, and those recommended for honorary membership. Although honorary members have no direct voice or vote of any kind in the affairs of the Association, they are eligible to submit recommendations and attend meetings of the Association.
New members will be assigned to a regional group within the jurisdiction of their primary residence. In the event there are no jurisdictional regional groups, members may request affiliation with a nearby regional group, or be classified as a member-at-large.
Although membership is not required for LB/LV veterans and their families to receive free benefits assistance, scholarships, or quarterly publications, membership serves as the institutional means by which the women and men of BVA serve, support, and lift one another throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.
BVA provides a community of fellowship with those who share your experiences, needs, and hopes for the future. Join one of our community based regional groups or chapters for new friendships, volunteer opportunities, and community service. Be as active as your time, talents, and interests allow. Or, simply be a proud member of BVA, knowing that your membership helps BVA advocate for you and your fellow LB/LV veterans.
***NOTE: Please submit a letter from a certifying official affirming legal blindness or low vision status. You may request assistance in obtaining the letter from a VA VIST Coordinator by utilizing VA Form 10-5345 Request for and Authorization to Release Health Information to a non-VA (or third-party) individual or organization. You may also contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or via telephone: (800) 669-7079 x 330 for assistance. Blinded Veterans Association: One Vision, One Team, One Fight!