Blind Missourians File Suit

1 decade 8 months 2 days ago Monday, September 24 2007 Sep 24, 2007 Monday, September 24, 2007 5:52:03 PM CDT September 24, 2007 in News

The suit isn't calling for more support from the blind, but rather it's looking at how the state splits up the money it currently spends. Concern about funding is in the Cole County Circuit Court.

The suit claims the state has used too much of the fund for rehabilitation services, which help the blind with every day things; instead of direct pensions.

According to the state, rehabilitation services can receive up 25% of the annual blind pension fund.

But the lawsuit alleges that percentage has been higher, taking money away from those who count on it. At the heart of it, this is an issue of whether pensions are the best way to help blind Missourians.

And that is an issue that divides the blind community.

"Folks need this money to be able to live, and we want this fund to be there for blind people who are eligible and who need it in years to come, and we don't want them to use it for other things that it's not permissible to use it for," said the Missouri Council of the Blind's Executive Director Beverly Armstrong.

"I want it to stay like it is right now. I think the suit is ridiculous, and I think it's devastating for a lot of people. I think it shows the 'I'm on welfare and I want to be there' syndrome," said Gail Bryant of the National Federation of the Blind.

Bryant hopes the blind community can find some way to work together to resolve this issue. The parties expect a decision on the case within the next couple weeks.

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