Alternative Document Formats

Hundreds of thousands of New York residents have significant vision and/or hearing impairments, or other conditions that make reading typical small-print paperwork difficult or impossible.

NY "Alternative Document Formats" are not only for the blind, but any visual impairment: i.e. elderly, vision issues, etc.

Not a NY Resident?

Accessible Materials, Free to New York Residents

The state of New York has started a service to provide accessible versions of state government mailings to eligible state residents. The alternative format mailing program offers Braille, audio, and other versions of documents, free of charge, from several major state agencies.

The program is open to all residents of New York State who are enrolled or enrolling in any program through the following agencies:

  •  NY City Human Resources Administration (HRA)
  •  NY Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)
  •  NY State Department of Health (DOH)


Eligible New York State residents can easily request alternative formats by contacting the relevant agency or their caseworker. The accessible documents are provided in addition to the standard print mailings, so that family members and caregivers can read along or provide additional assistance as needed. Several formats are available to residents, all at no cost.

  •  Audio Disc: An audio transcription of a document
  •  Data Disc: An electronic document accessible to screen reader software
  •  Large Print: A large-format version in 18-point print
  •  Braille: A double-sided Unified English Braille (UEB) volume

Need More Information or Help Getting Assistance?

We offer free sign-up help for those needing accommodations.

Want Us to Help Sign You Up?

* Your information will not be used by or sold to outside organizations and is held strictly confidential for the purpose of signing you up for NY Alternative Formats.

You may also request accessible formats directly from the following agencies:

NYC Human Resources Administration Department of Social Services

NY Office of Temporary Disability Assistance

NY State of Health Official Health Plan Marketplace

Building Awareness for a Pioneering Project

The alternative format mailing program is funded by the state government of New York as part of a recent legal settlement, and is a major step toward nationwide compliance with federal equal-access laws. The project helps to promote and expand accessibility services in New York as well as the rest of the United States, and its success will enable Americans with disabilities to independently access vital information across a much wider range of agencies and government departments.

The project has been underway for several months. State agencies are increasing efforts to raise awareness and enrollment. In addition, several nonprofit groups at both the national and state level are working to inform New York residents about the program and provide assistance in requesting alternative-format documents.

Inquiries: 888-771-5331 or

Hand buried under paperwork, reaching out to another helping hand.