March 2012 Update from DREDF: SSA has issued nearly 250,000 alternate formats since ACB v. Astrue Judgment.
DREDF's successful class action against the Social Security Administration has reached nearly 250,000 class members to date. We want to reach all class members. We would like to be sure you are informed of the case and we especially want to hear from you if you are not getting the alternate format of your choice.
The October 2009 judgment issued by federal district court in Amer. Council of the Blind v. Astrue required SSA to provide class members, who are blind and visually impaired SSA recipients, beneficiaries, representative payees and applicants, with the right to receive communications and notices in accessible formats from SSA under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Prior to this case, SSA provided blind and visually impaired with standard print notices and communications and the option to receive notices by certified mail or to get a follow up telephone call. In 2008, only about 18,000 blind and visually impaired beneficiaries, recipients and applicants had selected one of these limited options.
Since the judgment, a total of 232,957 requests from class members have been made and automatically approved by SSA. There have been over 6,000 requests for Braille, almost 10,000 requests for MS Word on CD, over 3,000 requests for audio CD and over 46,000 large print requests. Over 35,000 class members have requested first class mail plus a follow up telephone call and over 7,000 have requested certified mail in lieu of regular mail.
These are great strides toward ensuring that class members receive notices and communications about their SSA benefits in formats that they can understand.
If you would like to receive notices in an alternate format and have not yet made your request, you can visit the SSA website at www.socialsecurity.gov/notices and follow the steps provided, call SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213, or write or visit your local Social Security office.
DREDF is actively monitoring this judgment and remains concerned about failures to grant requests for alternate formats that SSA is supposed to automatically approve and others such as bold large print. Please contact DREDF at 1-800-348-4232 for further information or assistance. Thank you.