Thanks for checking and confirming the behavior when the form document template is not in protected mode (and by that I presume you mean protected mode in the trust center, which happens these days to anything you download from the internet or an e-mail attachment unless you turn protected mode off in the trust center).
I have been using forms like this with blind and visually impaired clients for quite a while now. They are the perfect solution to, well, the electronic equivalent of paper forms where the end user, sighted or not sighted, is only supposed to fill in the blanks. NVDA and JAWS both read my status bar and help text exactly as I'd expect except for this first field (and I haven't tried it with JAWS 18 yet).
They're also quite handy to use for documents that have a huge pre-formatted component but that you might want to tweak certain aspects of the pre-formatted part after filling in what are "set fields." One can completely unprotect a MS-Word form, turning it into a plain word document, but I cannot for the life of me find the appropriate sequence of keyboard commands to do so.
Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.
~ Lauren Bacall