[NFBMO] Blind Pension Legislation

Julie McGinnity kaybaycar at gmail.com
Wed May 23 05:53:35 UTC 2018

How often do they change the amount of blind pension?

I agree with Randy that the problem is we have laws no one takes the
time to enforce.  It's the same with the service animal laws we have
put in place.  Businesses don't know their rights, so we have fake
service animals all over the place.  But yeah, we were talking about
blind pension...  Even before we practice our little elevator
speeches, we need to figure out what we would like to say.

I had to educate myself quickly about blind pension and fear I still
don't know everything.  It seems to me that we should all be on the
same page regarding what we want to protect and what we can let go.  I
think the driver's license rule is a little overkill, but their
sighted spouse requirements seem to, like Gary said, prevent
integration or promulgate the idea that our sighted spouses (but not
our blind ones) can take care of us.  What's clear to me is that
blind/disabled people don't write these laws or design the systems
that many of us live on.  There's something wrong with that.  Ok, so
we don't hold the purse strings as it were, but we are citizens who
should not be punished for being disabled.  SSI discourages people
from saving, unless you want to save for something very specific.  And
now we're talking marriage and the disadvantages to marrying as blind
or blind and sighted couples...  It seems to me that we should be
discussing these things more often and coming up with those elevator
speeches Gary mentioned.  We can't change these things unless we have
a collective voice.


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On 5/22/18, Gary Wunder via NFBMO <nfbmo at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> 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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Julie A. McGinnity
President, National Federation of the Blind Performing Arts Division,
Second Vice President, National Federation of the Blind of Missouri
"For we walk by faith, not by sight"
2 Cor. 7

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