[NFBC-Info] FW: [Nfbnet-members-list] Blind Americans Settle Lawsuit against Social Security Administration

tim at timeldermusic.com tim at timeldermusic.com
Sat Mar 14 00:22:17 UTC 2020





Blind Americans Settle Lawsuit against Social Security Administration

Agency Will Improve Nonvisual Access to Kiosks


Baltimore (March 12, 2020): The National Federation of the Blind, America's
civil rights organization of the blind, and two blind individuals, Lisa
Irving and Amy Bonano, have reached a court-ordered settlement of the
lind-individuals-file-lawsuit-against-ssa> lawsuit they filed in 2017
against the Social Security Administration (SSA). Under the settlement
agreement, the SSA will make improvements to the visitor intake processing
kiosks (VIPr kiosks) at its field offices so that blind visitors can use the
kiosks privately and independently, without revealing personally
identifiable information such as their Social Security numbers to third
parties like security guards or other office visitors.


The agreement requires SSA to work with a mutually agreeable third-party
kiosk accessibility expert to ensure that the kiosks are redesigned to
provide an equal opportunity for blind users. Anticipated modifications
include improved Braille and audio instructions and a headphone jack through
which audio instructions and information can be spoken to blind users in
English or Spanish, with other languages to be added as appropriate and
available. Blind users will therefore be able to enter required intake
information, including their Social Security number, with complete privacy
and independence. The redesigned kiosks will be deployed in field offices
throughout the country by December 31, 2021 and, in the interim, SSA will
report to NFB every ninety days on the status of the redesign and the
expert's work. The agreement requires SSA to train its personnel on the
nonvisual use of its kiosks, regularly test the kiosks to ensure proper
functioning, track and monitor accessibility issues related to the kiosks,
work collaboratively with NFB on outreach efforts, and report to NFB every
six months on these efforts.


"The National Federation of the Blind insists that blind Americans be
involved in the implementation of technology that affects our lives,
including our ability to access government information and services," said
Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "We are
pleased that the terms of this settlement will meaningfully incorporate
direction from the blind into the development of improved VIPr kiosks. We
hope that other government agencies, businesses, and other entities will
take note of this settlement and work with blind Americans as this kind of
technology continues to be deployed in locations ranging from retail stores
to medical offices."


"With this settlement, SSA is taking critical steps toward ensuring that
blind visitors to SSA offices are afforded the same level of privacy and
independence that others have," said Autumn Elliott, senior counsel at
Disability Rights California. "In this day and age, there is no reason that
electronic kiosks or other modern technology should provide people with
disabilities with anything less than equal access."


"Technology should be used as a tool to promote inclusivity. The Washington
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs is proud that, as a
result of this settlement, SSA will remove barriers to equitable access for
blind visitors," said Margaret Hart, counsel at Washington Lawyers'
Committee. "We hope that as other public entities implement new technology,
they do so with universal access, usability, and individual privacy in


The legal team in this matter consisted of attorneys from Brown, Goldstein &
Levy LLP of Baltimore, Maryland; Disability Rights California; and the
Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.




About the National Federation of the Blind 

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is
the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded
in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the
fifty states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of
blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families
with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We
believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to
transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and
initiatives at  <http://www.nfb.org> www.nfb.org. 


About Disability Rights California 

Disability Rights California (DRC) is the agency designated under federal
law to protect and advocate for the rights of Californians with
disabilities. The mission of DRC is to advance the rights, dignity, equal
opportunities, and choices for all people with disabilities.


About the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Founded in 1968, the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and
Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic, and social equity through
litigation, client and public education, and public policy advocacy. While
we fight discrimination against all people, we recognize the central role
that current and historic race discrimination plays in sustaining inequity
and recognize the critical importance of identifying, exposing, combatting,
and dismantling the systems that sustain racial oppression. For more
information, please visit  <http://www.washlaw.org> http://www.washlaw.org,
or call 202-319-1000. Follow us on Twitter at @WashLaw4CR.




Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

410-659-9314, extension 2330

410-262-1281 (cell)

 <mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org> cdanielsen at nfb.org


Melody Pomraning

Communications Director 

Disability Rights California


Melody.Pomraning at disabilityrightsca.org


Gregg Kelley

Director of Development and Communications

Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs


 <mailto:gregg_kelley at washlaw.org> gregg_kelley at washlaw.org


This press release is also available at:









Christopher S. Danielsen, J.D.

Director of Public Relations

200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

(410) 659-9314, Ext. 2330 | cdanielsen at nfb.org

Twitter: @rlawyer 




<https://twitter.com/NFB_Voice>      <https://www.youtube.com/NationsBlind> 


The National Federation of the Blind is a community of members and friends
who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation's blind. Every day we work
together to help blind people live the lives they want. 



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