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?