TODAY'S QUESTION: What do you think of the state's misuse of Blind Pension Fund resources?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:38 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On Friday, a judge ruled in favor of Missouri’s blind residents.  

Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce found that the state owes more than $30 million to 3,300 blind Missourians to make up for years of shortchanging payments to them through the Blind Pension Fund, according to a previous Associated Press story.

Joyce determined the Missouri Department of Social Services miscalculated benefits dating from 1992. She awarded nearly $19 million in unpaid benefits and more than $11 million in interest, the story stated.

Attorney Deborah Greider filed the class-action lawsuit on behalf of the St. Louis-based Missouri Council of the Blind and seven blind Missouri residents. After the lawsuit was filed about five years ago, Missouri recalculated the pension and now owes a fair amount, she said earlier.

The Missouri Constitution has required the General Assembly since 1875 to levy an annual property tax to fund the Blind Pension Fund. But starting in 1992, the state began using some of the money for other expenses, Grieder said in the story.

The average blind pensioner now receives about $651 a month from the state — the only source of income for many, according to the story. Most recipients are elderly, poor or considered unable to work.

What do you think of the state’s misuse of Blind Pension Fund resources? Do you think Missouri's blind residents should receive more money from the state?

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Mike Ryan April 23, 2010 | 7:32 p.m.

I believe that before any one makes a comment on this, they should walk 7 miles in a BlindMan’s shoes. Are you brave enough! I doubt it! Try it for a week. ( Of course you cant go to work or school blind ) I bet you will end up peeking and after a short while you will end up quitting. Cook your regular meals, no box lunches or frozen dinners.
Ok I will give you this one, go ahead and do a frozen dinner, but first go as a BlindMan to Wal-Mart and find your frozen dinner. No Peeking! Oh Yah! How do you first plan to get to Wal-M, a BlindMan does not drive a car. So take the bus or try a dishonest Taxi. ( Some taxi drivers tend to over charge the Blind. we can’t read their meter ) And of course do all your regular shopping when you go to Wal-M, and you can’t write down a grocery list, or you can make one in Braille. And while you are at Wal-M make sure that you get the lowest price on what you are buying, most of us who are visually impaired are low income. Oh by the way none of the prices in a store are labeled in Braille. So have fun with that.
Don’t forget to stop into Subway for lunch and order something new that you never had from the menu. and by the way, there is no Braille menu. And the next time you go out for a yummy lunch try a buffet. and remember there is no peeking. One time I came back to my table and took a nice big bite, Yummy, a big lump of sour cream with brown gravy, where is the mashed potatoes?

continued on the next comment

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Mike Ryan April 23, 2010 | 7:34 p.m.

Comment continued

And after lunch, have fun finding the rest room and where the empty toilet stall is, the hand soap, the toilet paper, the sink and is there paper towels or a blow dryer on the wall some where. And then remember where the door is to get out of there. Oh what fun we are having feeling our way around a not so clean public rest room. And why was the toilet seat wet, I am sure some one just got done cleaning it. Right!
Now go home carrying everything you bought from Wal-M, hoping that you did not buy a can of beets, thinking you got green beans. And then you have to find the bus stop. You hear the bus pull up but where is the doorway onto the bus. Is there an empty seat on the bus. Oh no the bottom falls out of one of the Wal-M gads and your stuff goes rolling around on the bus floor. Will you find everything? You can’t read a bus schedule, so you did not know that there are 2 busses that stop at Wal-M, you are on the wrong bus.
You finally get home, now put your groceries away. Some things like a gallon of milk is easy to recognize, but a cans can be the same in size, is it green beans or chicken soup.
Now you need to clean your home, separate your colors for your laundry and don’t mismatch your white, blue, and black socks before putting them away, mow your yard, rake and clean up the leaves, trim your hedge, clean and organize the garage or shed …….. Remember no peeking.
Oh! How about using a personal computer, first go online and down load a 30 day free trial version of JAWS, ( a computer program for the blind, just to be able to use a computer ) and as a BlindMan teach yourself how to use the JAWS program so you can use a computer. Computers are designed for those who can see. you have around 40 icons on the desktop. You just see the one you want and double click. Try finding the right one when you are blind. Go into Outlook Express and set up a new yahoo email account. Try setting up an Ebay account and you have to have an PayPal account.
Go ahead and try being a BlindMan for a week,

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