Legislative Agenda

Legislative Agenda of Blind Americans: Priorities for the 116th Congress, Second Session

The National Federation of the Blind is a community of members and friends who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation’s blind. Every day we work together to help blind people live the lives we want.

The Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA) (H.R. 2086/S. 815)

The cost of critically needed access technology is out of reach for most blind Americans. By providing a refundable tax credit for qualifying purchases, Congress will stimulate individual procurement of this technology and promote affordability of these tools. Learn more about the Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA) (H.R. 2086/S. 815).

The Greater Access and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology (GAIN) Act (H.R. 3929)

Advanced digital interfaces create barriers that prevent blind individuals from independently operating essential devices that enhance quality of life. Congress must end the digital divide that threatens the independence of blind Americans by developing minimum accessibility requirements for such devices. Learn more about the Greater Access and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology (GAIN) Act (H.R. 3929).

The Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HIGH) Act (H.R. 5312/S. 3095)

Until a market-driven solution for accessible instructional materials is achieved, blind college students are denied access to critical course content. The AIM HIGH Act will remove these barriers to equality in the classroom by creating a set of guidelines that clearly define accessible instructional materials. Learn more about the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HIGH) Act (H.R. 5312/S. 3095).

Elimination of Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare Waiting Periods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis in the United States, people who are blind or disabled can be expected to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare benefits for which they are eligible. For those found eligible, however, actual receipt of benefits cannot begin before the waiting periods for disability insurance or Medicare have been served. Therefore, needed cash benefits and medical assistance will not be available to these eligible individuals and their families in need. To address this situation, the National Federation of the Blind requests the following emergency actions:

  • For individuals who apply for and are eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance cash benefits the requirement for an initial five-month waiting period should be waved effective March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. This waver should be included in Section 223 of the Social Security Act.
  • Likewise, the initial twenty-four-month waiting period for disability insurance beneficiaries to be eligible for Medicare should be waved. This waver should be included in section 226 of the Social Security Act.

THESE PRIORITIES WILL REMOVE OBSTACLES TO EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT, AND INDEPENDENT LIVING. WE URGE CONGRESS TO SUPPORT OUR LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES.


2020 Legislative Agenda (PDF)