FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Monday, August 24, 2009
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind and Blind Social Security Beneficiary File Complaint with Social Security Administration

SSA’s Inaccessible Web Site Discriminates Against the Blind

Baltimore, Maryland (August 24, 2009): The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people and the leading advocate for equal access by the blind to information technology, and Margot Downey, a blind Social Security beneficiary from Buffalo, New York, filed an administrative complaint today with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The complaint asserts that the SSA’s Web site violates Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act because it is inaccessible to blind people who use text-to-speech screen access technology or Braille displays to access information on the Internet. Because of the inaccessibility of the SSA Web site, blind people cannot fill out forms and questionnaires on the site or access information about their benefits.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “In an age where the Internet is a part of everyday life, blind people must have equal access to the information and resources provided on the World Wide Web. In particular, the United States government has a legal and moral obligation to ensure that the information it provides on the Internet is equally accessible to all Americans, including the blind. The National Federation of the Blind demands equal access for blind Social Security beneficiaries and will tolerate nothing less.”

Margot Downey, a blind Social Security beneficiary from Buffalo, New York, said: “As an active and productive blind individual, I depend on the Internet to access and update all kinds of information, including the Social Security and Medicare benefits I receive. I hope that the Social Security Administration will take swift action to correct the accessibility problems with its Web site so that blind Americans like me will have equal access to the valuable information the SSA Web site contains.”

Complainants are represented by attorneys Daniel F. Goldstein and Allison L. Harper of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, 120 E. Baltimore Street, Suite 1700, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, (410) 962-1030, fax: (410) 385-0869, dfg@browngold.com, ah@browngold.com, www.browngold.com.