----- Original Message ----- From: "ccassandra jessie" <cjessie@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Charles Atkins" <catkins@xxxxxxx> Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 2:39 AM Subject: Fw: [fcb-l] Social Security Told To Modernize For the Blind
check this out . -- Cassandra "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. --Winston Churchill----- Original Message ----- From: "Don Moore" <don.moore48@xxxxxxxxxxx>To: <fcb-l@xxxxxxx> Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 10:13 PM Subject: [fcb-l] Social Security Told To Modernize For the Blindhttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/10/20/MNQ21A8D2F.DTL&t ype=printable Social Security told to modernize for the blind Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer Tuesday, October 20, 2009(10-20) 17:17 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- The Social Security Administration must give the nation's 3 million blind or visually impaired recipients the option of receiving benefit notices in braille or by audio computer disc, a federaljudge in San Francisco said Tuesday.Ruling in a nationwide class-action suit, U.S. District Judge William Alsupsaid that by sending notices only by mail and phone calls, the agency is violatinga law that guarantees the disabled equal access to its programs. He orderedthe government to make the additional choices available by April 15. The case involves some of the 100 million notices the Social Security Administration sends each year to its 61 million beneficiaries, advising them of scheduled appointments, program changes, tax filings and possible benefit cuts.About 250,000 Americans receive benefits because of blindness, and another2.7 million blind or sight-impaired people get Social Security for other reasons.Under rules authorized by Congress in 1988 and 1990, they can choose to benotified of agency actions by mail, with a follow-up phone call, or by certifiedmail with a return receipt. Those who make no choice are contacted by mailwithout a phone call.Alsup said the current system may have been effective 20 years ago, but nolonger provides the "meaningful access" the law requires, in light of advanced technology.Little evidence was presented that blind people had lost benefits because of inadequate notice, Alsup said, but the current system is ineffective for atleast some recipients. For example, he said, a blind person who needs to respond to a writtennotice must wait until someone is available to read it aloud, and may haveproblems meeting government deadlines.Alsup said the Social Security Administration refused to acknowledge that itwas even covered by the anti-discrimination law until after the suit was filed in 2005, and "has been quick to find lame excuses for noncompliance."The agency must inform all blind and visually impaired recipients by Dec. 31 that they will have the choice of getting notices in braille or by MicrosoftWord CD in mid-April, Alsup said. He said those who want another option,such as notification by e-mail, must be allowed to request it and show whythey need it."This is a huge benefit," said attorney Silvia Yee of the Disability RightsEducation and Defense Fund in Berkeley, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. She said the ruling will allow many recipients "to have an independence in working with the (Social Security Administration) that they've never had before."Many sight-impaired recipients, particularly the young and those who becomeblind later in life, can't read braille, Yee said, "but for people who do readbraille, it's their first choice." She said the CD option would particularlyhelp younger recipients. Lowell Kepke, spokesman for the Social Security Administration's regionaloffice in Richmond, said the agency "will review the order and take whateveractions are appropriate." E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx _______________________________________________ fcb-l mailing list fcb-l@xxxxxxx http://www.acb.org/mailman/listinfo/fcb-l-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- No virus found in this incoming message. Checked by AVG - www.avg.comVersion: 8.5.422 / Virus Database: 270.14.24/2449 - Release Date: 10/20/09 18:42:00
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