August 7, 2019

Blind Hoosiers Sue State Agencies, Say Rights Were Violated

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
The National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the Indiana state agency that handles Medicaid benefits. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the Indiana state agency that handles Medicaid benefits.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the Indiana state agency that handles Medicaid benefits. The lawsuit alleges the state agency has committed "systemic violations of the civil rights of blind Indiana residents."

The lawsuit names the heads of the Family and Social Services Administration and the Division of Family Resources.

Plaintiffs and siblings Christopher Meyer and Sarah Meyer say they repeatedly asked the FSSA for Braille or electronic documents readable via special software. But they were told the agency didn't have the capacity to provide those documents needed to enroll for benefits, according to the lawsuit.

Managing attorney with Indiana Disability Rights Tom Crishon says the FSSA has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

"To have to rely on a sighted individual to be able to read them their mail and communications related to their health insurance is inappropriate," Crishon says.

As a result, the lawsuit says, the plaintiffs missed filing deadlines and lost health coverage. They argue that they were not given equal access to file for state benefits.

In a statement, the FSSA says it has not received the lawsuit and doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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