[NFBMO] Blind Pension Legislation

Gary Wunder GWunder at earthlink.net
Wed May 23 00:34:08 UTC 2018

I think there are significant philosophical implications we should think
about with regard to the blind pension and especially the changes. If you
are a blind person who cannot work, your situation is made even more
desperate in your family by the fact that to that family unit you are a
taker rather than a giver. I believe in marriage, and I think most
Missourians do as well. But the fact of the matter is that it has been
clearly demonstrated with seniors and others: if you put me at an economic
hardship, I will stay married in the eyes of God, but I may seriously
consider the legal arrangement that says I'm married. Ask recipients of SSI.
Ask recipients of pensions that say they are entitled until they remarry.

Under the blind pension law, as it exists now and as it exists when the
governor signs it, sighted people are placed at a economic disadvantage when
marrying blind people. Blind people are placed at risk by marrying sighted
people. This is not the kind of integration I want. I'm glad that the
earnings of blind people remain exempt, but I can't say there is any
fairness in this, and as for the dignity of blind people, I think it is
considered not at all in the law and in this legislation.

I think that we better be preparing arguments about keeping the medical
benefits that blind people receive. That issue appears to have gone away,
but it was not terribly unpopular when it was proposed. We need to work on
language that is persuasive and concise. Very often when people speak of
spin, they do so in a negative context, but spin can be very effective and
it has a purpose. When you deal with busy people, you better be able to
state your issue clearly and concisely. They don't have all day to listen to
your concerns. The spin must be honest, but we should figure out how to
positively get that message out in a form that is easily repeatable, easily
understood, and completely verifiable. Our credibility is everything. If we
can't figure out ways to communicate our message in an elevator speech, we
are headed for the basement.

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