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Social Security Sued for Failing to Accommodate Blind Beneficiaries

The Social Security Administration, the one federal agency "that should know more about disability than any other," nonetheless continues to send critical information to beneficiaries in print only, even when it knows them to be blind or vision-impaired, says the attorney for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

Saying they lost benefits when they failed to get critical information in an accessible format and as a result, did not respond to the SSA, a group of blind individuals sued the SSA last week under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The American Council of the Blind has also joined the suit. According to papers filed in the suit, over 100,000 bllind and visually impaired people get Social Security benefits. Yet the SSA has not done anything to provide its information via email, which blind people have requested. Arlene Mayerson, the DREDF attorney handling the case, told reporters the only "accommodation" SSA had made was to offer to read benefits documents over the phone, but said the service was sporadic and poorly publicized -- and unsuitable to reading complex documents.

Read Associated Press coverage of the suit

Read the lawsuit from DREDF