Judge Says Currency Discriminates

Paying for things with cash can be as simple as choosing the right bill and getting the correct change, but for someone without the ability to see that process can be a lot more difficult. 

Now, after a four-year legal fight that may no longer be an issue for the blind community. A federal judge has ordered the U.S Treasury to change the nation's paper money system, to end what he feels is discrimination against the blind.

The judge says our current currency violates the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in government programs.  However, he did not determine how the problem should be fixed. Changing the size of the bills or making them feel different are two of the options being considered.

"Braille would be great if they could put that on the money or some kind of identification putting one dot on a one, a couple dots on a five."  Bill Delafont is legally blind, he works at Goodwill Industries in Amarillo. He says it is about time the system is changed.
"Then we wont have to depend on people trying to cheat us out of our money or try to say 'let me help you set up your money' when we know how much money we have then you get it back and the amount's wrong".

Court documents from the federal case say the change would be massive and expensive...as much as 75 million dollars.

Local banks would also feel the pinch when upgrading systems like ATM's and currency counters.
Terri Boswell is Senior Vice President of Operations at Amarillo National Bank. She added "We'd have to get with the people that we purchase our machinery from and get new chips put in the machinery so it could detect and count those new bills correctly to make sure that they weren't kicked out like a counterfeit bill or something of that sort and that would be pretty impactful because we have that machinery in all of our locations". 

Boswell says getting this massive operation done quickly would be a priority, to keep their customers satisfied, and banking at their branches.

The Treasury Department has made no comment on how they plan to resolve the issue.

More on the Web: