[Nfbmo] Senators Dodd and McCain Introduce Blind Persons Return to Work Act

Freeh, Jessica JFreeh at nfb.org
Fri Jan 29 03:04:59 UTC 2010



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

Senators Dodd and McCain Introduce
Blind Persons Return to Work Act

National Federation of the Blind Applauds a Common Sense
Work Incentive for Blind Social Security Beneficiaries

Washington, D.C. (January 28, 2010): Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) 
and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today introduced the Blind Persons 
Return to Work Act of 2010 (S. 2962), which will allow blind 
Americans to more easily transition from Social Security 
beneficiaries to income-earning, productive members of the workforce.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a program meant to 
provide disabled Americans with financial support, actually 
discourages blind people from seeking employment by placing a limit 
on how much money they can earn.  This bipartisan bill replaces the 
monthly earnings limit with a gradual phase-out, allowing blind 
beneficiaries to systematically replace benefits with earned income.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, 
said: "The National Federation of the Blind applauds Senators Dodd 
and McCain, both longtime champions of the blind and other Americans 
with disabilities, for advancing this wise proposal to reform SSDI so 
it encourages blind beneficiaries to reach their full employment 
potential rather than discouraging them from becoming 
independent.  Blind people want to work, and with the right training 
and opportunity, we can hold any job to which we aspire.  Yet because 
of misconceptions about blindness and flawed work incentives in the 
SSDI program, 70 percent of working age blind people are unemployed 
or underemployed.  We are confident that the Blind Persons Return to 
Work Act will reduce the fear of termination of benefits resulting 
from an earnings limit and encourage blind people to join the workforce."

"Blind Americans deserve the opportunity to enter or advance in the 
workplace without their financial security being threatened by some 
arbitrary limit," said Senator Dodd.  "We can encourage blind people 
to take advantage of their independence without punishing them for 
working.  This bipartisan legislation will protect millions of 
Americans from the risk of losing their benefits and will increase 
the productivity of our workforce."

"Blind Americans who want to work should not be discouraged from 
pursuing employment," added Senator McCain.  "The current SSDI 
program creates government dependency and limits achievement among 
blind people.  The proposed reform will enable blind Americans to 
fully reach their potential in the workforce and reduce the overall 
number of federal beneficiaries, saving tax dollars for every American."

This legislation joins its House companion bill, H.R. 886, introduced 
by John Lewis (D-GA) earlier this year.


About the National Federation of the Blind

With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind 
is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind 
people in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = 
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />United States.  The 
NFB improves blind people's lives through advocacy, education, 
research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and 
self-confidence.  It is the leading force in the blindness field 
today and the voice of the nation's blind.  In January 2004 the NFB 
opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the 
first research and training center in the United States for the blind 
led by the blind.

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