Appeals Court Rules that U.S. Currency Must be Redesigned to be Accessible: American Foundation for the Blind Hails the Decision
Washington, DC (May 20, 2008)—Today, the American Foundation for the Blind applauded a federal appeals court ruling that the U.S. Treasury Department is violating the law by not designing and issuing accessible paper money. The decision, issued earlier today, upholds a 2006 federal district court ruling in a case filed by the American Council of the Blind against the U.S. Treasury.
"This is an important victory for people who are blind and visually impaired," said Mark Richert, Director of Public Policy for the American Foundation for the Blind. "We applaud the American Council of the Blind for championing this issue, and look forward to the day when people with vision loss have as reliable access to paper money as everyone else."
There are many ways to make paper bills accessible, including changing the size of bills for different denominations, adding raised markings, or implementing other design features. Most countries in the world include details on their currency that make it possible for visually impaired people to tell paper bills apart. At least 20 million Americans say they have trouble seeing, even with glasses or contacts. And these numbers are projected to increase substantially as the U.S. population ages. This means a significant number of people will need money to be vision loss-friendly.
"Paying with cash, surfing the Internet, or making a cell phone call are essential features of modern life, and ensuring that all people can participate in society should be a critical concern for our government," said Paul Schroeder, Vice President of Programs and Policy for the American Foundation for the Blind.###
The American Foundation for the Blind is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information, visit us online at www.afb.org.
Contact: Adrianna Montague-Gray