Law and Legislation
Human Rights in Action: American Council of the Blind v. Social Security = Win for Accessibility
After four years of litigation, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) and co-counsel Howrey LLP, went to trial on September 14, 2009, on behalf of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and a class of 3 million blind and visually impaired plaintiffs. Closing arguments were presented on September 23, 2009, and on October 20, 2009, a major disability rights precedent was set. Judge William Alsup ruled that by April 15, 2010, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must provide blind and visually impaired SSI recipients, retirement benefits recipients, and representative payees a choice of receiving notices and other communications in the alternative formats of Braille, navigable Microsoft Word CDs, or a telephone call from an SSA representative. The agency is also required to take steps to notify class members of these alternative format options, as well as class members' right under Section 504 to request any other alternative format in accordance with procedures set forth under regulations enacted under Section 504.
This ruling signals a major victory for the disability rights movement in the United States and it sets precedent for the obligations of other federal and state agencies to provide alternative formats and effective communication to people who are blind or have visual impairments, and to notify such individuals of their rights under federal law.
Please read the entire press release from: http://www.dredf.org/SSA/SSA-Judgment-10-20-09.pdf.
Source: The Discover Human Rights Institute
Mail from: Frank Mulcahy