2018 Legislative Agenda
President Riccobono announced the legislative priorities of the National Federation of the Blind for the 115th Congress, Second session. During the 2018 Washington Seminar, we will be discussing:
1. The Accessible Instructional Materials In Higher Education “Aim High” Act, (S. 2138/H.R. 1772) Electronic instructional materials have replaced traditional methods of learning in postsecondary education, but the overwhelming majority of educational technologies are inaccessible to blind students. The law requires equal access in the classroom but fails to provide direction to schools for the way it applies to technology. The Aim High Act creates voluntary accessibility guidelines for educational technology to stimulate the market, improve blind students access to course materials, and reduce litigation for schools.
2. The Access Technology Affordability “ATAA” Act,
(S. 732/H.R. 1734) Currently blind Americans rely on scarce sources of funding to acquire access technology. By providing a refundable tax credit for qualifying access technology purchases, Congress will stimulate individual procurement of access technology and promote affordability of these tools for blind Americans.
3. Opposition to the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017,” H.R. 620 erodes protections for people with disabilities by removing incentives for businesses to comply with the law, and by placing excessive burdens on the very people the law aims to benefit. The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 would weaken the ADA and set the disability community back nearly three decades.
4. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled “Marrakesh Treaty” An international copyright treaty will give blind Americans access to millions of published works and improve the distribution of books around the globe.
Please be on the lookout for updated fact sheets and frequently asked questions. Once these are available, they will be posted to the Washington Seminar webpage.
2018 Social Security, SSI and Veterans Payments
Beginning with checks for the month of January, 2018, Social Security beneficiaries will receive a Cost of Living Adjustment of 2.0 percent. People who receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits will see this increase in checks issued after December 1, 2017. People who receive SSI payments will see the increase beginning December 29, 2017.
A change in the earnings limit for blind people who receive SSDI benefits will allow them to be able to earn up to $1,970.00 per month without penalty for engaging in substantial gainful employment, an increase of $20 per month from the 2017 earnings limit. People with disabilities other than blindness will be able to earn $10.00 more per month without a negative impact on their benefits.
Veterans receiving disability benefits, surviving spouses and children who receive dependency compensation, and veterans who receive a clothing allowance can expect to see a 2.0 percent increase beginning with checks issued after December 1 2017.
Apply for 2018 College Scholarships
The 2018 Scholarship Program application period began on November 1, 2017 and ends on March 31, 2018. To recognize achievement by blind scholars, the National Federation of the Blind annually offers blind college students in the United States and Puerto Rico the opportunity to win one of thirty merit-based, national-level scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000. All scholarships awarded are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership.
In addition to a scholarship, each winner will receive assistance to attend the 2018 National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention which will take place the first week of July 2018 in Orlando, Florida, providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions and occupations.
a href=”https://nfb.org/scholarships”>Learn More and apply for 2018 Scholarships.
Summer 2018 NASA Internship Program
The Summer 2018 NASA internship application period opened on October 18, 2017 and closes on Thursday, March 1, 2018. Submit Internship Applications to https://intern.nasa.gov
To subscribe to an announcement-only list about NASA internships for persons with disabilities, Email NasaInterns-Request@freelists.org with “subscribe” in the Subject field, OR
visit the NASA Interns list page at www.freelists.org/list/NasaInterns