As you know, the 2010 Census is upon us. You may have received a form in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau in late March. All Americans are required to provide Census data under Title 13, United States Code, Sections 143 and 191. Anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by Census employees may be fined up to $5,000. The Census Bureau is required to safeguard information it receives and is prohibited from sharing information about individuals with anyone, including other governmental agencies. Any Census worker who shares personal information about any individual will be subject to a fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both.
The information obtained through the Census may only be used for statistical purposes, including legislative redistricting and the allocation of nearly $400 billion in governmental funding to public projects such as schools, road and infrastructure construction, hospital and health care services, rehabilitation programs, and disaster preparedness projects. It is crucial that the nation’s blind be counted.
Blind Americans can complete the Census in a number of ways:
— By Phone: Call the Census toll free help line at 1-866-872-6868 and request a representative. A Census worker will complete the Census Short Form over the phone between April 12 and 21. You may be asked for your 20-digit Census Identification Number, which is located on the bar code below your mailing label. The U.S. Census will likely continue to receive telephone submissions after April 21, but fewer representatives will be available to take data in this manner.
— At Home: You may schedule a home visit by a Census worker by calling (toll free) 1-866-872-6868. Census workers will be deployed to conduct home visits in May and June. Though the U.S. Census attempts to send representatives to every home that failed to mail in a form, it is unlikely they will reach every American. Thus scheduling a visit by calling the Help Line guarantees a visit to your home.
— In Person: Individuals can visit Census Questionnaire Centers in person for assistance with completing their forms. To locate your local office, visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/bcqac-textview.php and enter your zip code.
— As a Group: chapters and affiliates can request that a Census Partnership Specialist conduct a Census workshop and provide survey completion assistance for a group. Individuals will be required to bring the Census form they received in the mail because it lists their Census Identification Numbers below the bar code on the address label. To find your local Census Partnership Office, visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/bcqac-textview.php .