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Information about RSBVP

The following information is available concerning the Randolph Sheppard Vendor Facilities Program (RSVFP) training programs:

When is training held?

Training is held one time per year, beginning typically in August. However, it is subject to change depending on the readiness of candidates of the Maryland and DC RSVFP training programs.

How long is the RSVFP training program? 

The RSVFP training program takes approximately 6 months to complete.

How can I obtain a referral to the RSVFP?

A person must be referred by an RSA VR Specialist. The VR Specialist collects the necessary medical documentation, assessments, and other information required to evaluate the person for the RSVFP training program. The RSVFP unit will evaluate the RSVFP Referral Package.

What are the admission criteria for the RSVFP Training program?

  • Client of RSA
  • Certified as legally blind by an ophthalmologist or optometrist:
    1. Not more than 20/200 central visual acuity in the better eye with corrective lens.
    2. An equally disabling loss of vision, as evidenced by a limitation to the field of vision in the better eye to such a degree that its widest diameter subtends an angle of no more than 20 degrees.
  • Documentation confirming US citizenship and residency in the District of Columbia
  • Minimum 18 years of age
  • Demonstrated 12th grade math and reading skill levels
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Criminal background check confirming no felony convictions and
  • Possess satisfactory independent living and assistive technology skills.

How much does it cost to participate in the RSVFP?

Depending on a person’s financial resources, he or she may be required to pay for some of the training text, equipment, and other supports. Once licensed as a RSVFP blind vendor, the State Licensing Agency (SLA) will provide the initial stock and petty cash. The vendor is responsible for maintaining the stock and petty cash after he or she assumes operational authority of the facility. 

Are licensed blind vendors employees of the DC RSVFP? 

No.  Licensed blind vendors are considered sole proprietors or self-employed. Licensed blind vendors are employers and often have two or more employees on their payroll. 

Can I choose the facility I would like to operate?

Not exactly. The facility selection process is based on a regulated Promotion and Transfer Process of the program. Vendors are awarded locations based on their ranking in a performance/seniority rating system and their expressed interest in the facility.

Can other people with disabilities apply for the RSVFP? 

No. RSVFP is reserved solely for persons who are blind who meet the eligibility requirements of the DC RSVFP.