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National Federation of the Blind Praises Bill to Create Work Incentives and Opportunity

Blind Persons Return to Work Act of 2009 Introduced by Congressman Lewis

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) has introduced legislation designed to help blind persons receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to return to work. The Blind Persons Return to Work Act of 2009 (H.R. 886), will eliminate penalties that prevent blind persons from reentering the workforce and will facilitate their transition to employment.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, which has long advocated this change in policy, said: "This proposal will allow thousands of blind people to rejoin the workforce and become productive, tax-paying citizens. Many blind people are understandably reluctant to take entry-level jobs because they are penalized by an immediate loss of SSDI benefits, and their work income rarely compensates for that loss. This legislation will allow blind persons to make a smooth transition from dependence to opportunity. We will work with Congressman Lewis to ensure the swift passage of this landmark legislation."

Congressman Lewis said: "Americans who are blind deserve the same opportunities as all other Americans. Their blindness does not prevent them from making valuable contributions to our society, as evidenced by the many successful blind people I have personally met over the years. The gifts and opportunities of these citizens should not be hindered by policies that discourage them from entering the workforce. That is why I am proud to stand with my blind brothers and sisters and introduce this much-needed legislation."

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 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.

SOURCE National Federation of the Blind
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