National Federation of the Blind Applauds the Introduction of the Access Technology Affordability Act
Baltimore, Maryland (March 15, 2019): The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, applauds the introduction of the Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA) of 2019 (S. 815) by Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Ben Cardin (D-MD). This bipartisan legislation removes an employment barrier commonly experienced by blind Americans who cannot afford the high cost of access technology by creating a refundable tax credit in the amount of $2,000 to offset the cost of these technologies. Additional champions include Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Robert Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Doug Jones (D-AL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Senator Boozman said: “As an optometrist, I know how essential access technology is for blind Americans to achieve educational and employment goals. The high cost of this technology continues to be a barrier for so many who are ready and willing to work. With almost 71 percent of blind Americans unemployed, I am pleased to work with my colleagues and re-introduce this commonsense bipartisan legislation that will reduce the financial burden associated with these items and ensure that blind Americans can receive the tools they need to succeed in the classroom, the workplace, and within the community.”
“Making access technology affordable is critical to ensuring that blind individuals can participate fully in our communities and have equal access to every opportunity,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “I am proud we have bipartisan support for this empowering legislation, which gives blind Marylanders, and all blind Americans, flexible economic support to help them lead full and successful lives.”
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “My wife, my two daughters, and I are all blind, and the children’s technology needs are going to increase as they continue their education and start their careers. My family is not unique; blind people across the nation face this challenge, and this legislation will provide critical assistance. We thank and commend our outstanding senate champions for putting forward this legislation, which will help give blind people the technology they need to live the lives they want.”