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29 November 2006 | 7603 views | 0
A federal judge has ruled that the US government discriminates against blind and visually-impaired people by keeping all denominations of paper dollar bills the same size and texture.
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) claims the US has stubbornly resisted incorporating any changes that would help visually impaired people - including shape, size, texture, or meaningful colour contrast - in US bank notes.
But that looks set to change after a federal appeals court upheld a ruling stating that the US Treasury Department discriminates against blind and visually-impaired people by keeping all denominations of paper dollar bills the same colour, size and texture.
The ACB originally filed suit against the US Treasury Department over the issue in 2002. In 2006 a federal court ruled that the department's failure to design and issue paper currency that is distinguishable to visually impaired people violates the Rehabilitation
Earlier this week an appeals court rejected the Treasury Department's arguments that "making currency accessible would impose an undue burden on the government".
The ACB has previously proposed a number of ways of making US bills more user-friendly for blind people, including providing notes of differing sizes, adding embossed dots or foil to notes and using raised ink.
In a statement following the appeal court ruling, Mitch Pomerantz, president of the ACB, says: "We hope that the Treasury Department will now sit down with us to come up with a mutually satisfactory way of making our currency accessible."
Although US dollar billls are arguably the most recognised and most accepted currency in the world, it seems a makeover is now on the cards.