Social Security Administration Violates Rights of the Visually Impaired, Lawsuit Charges

If you or a loved one has a visual impairment and receives some form of Social Security benefit (which includes SSDI and SSI), or if you have a visual impairment and serve as a representative payee for someone who receives a Social Security benefit, a pending class action lawsuit filed in San Francisco may affect you. The lawsuit, authorized by the federal court in September, alleges that the Social Security Administration (SSA) violates the rights of people with visual impairments by sending official communications in formats that they cannot read.

Over the years, many people with visual impairments have complained that they miss out on important information about their benefits because they are unable to read the typical Social Security notices. The lawsuit claims that a federal law, called the Rehabilitation Act, requires the SSA to provide notices in alternate formats to people with visual impairments. Several proposals are included in the lawsuit, including sending notices in Braille, by e-mail, or on audio tape.

The case is scheduled to go to trial in the spring. If you are interested in learning more about the case, and how it may effect you or your loved ones, you should contact Arlene Mayerson or Silvia Yee at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (1-800-348-4232 or by email at

To read the full notice of class action, click here.

To review the order authorizing the creation of the class, click here. Article Last Modified: 01/05/2009