Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-16) announced the reintroduction of the Access Technology Affordability Act, a bill to ensure that blind people can afford the high-cost access technology that helps them participate in the workforce. The bill creates a refundable tax credit for blind individuals to buy things like screen readers and Braille embossers which are not normally covered by insurance that individuals need to participate in every day workplace tasks.
“Blind individuals deserve the same access to economic opportunity through employment as anyone else in our nation. Sadly, the technology that gives blind people access to the workforce, such as screen readers or Braille note takers, can be prohibitively expensive,” said Thompson. “That’s why I am proud to reintroduce the Access Technology Affordability Act, a bipartisan bill to create a refundable tax credit so blind people can purchase these life-changing technologies and remain competitive in the workforce. This credit is a simple way to ensure broader economic opportunity for blind people in our community and I’m proud to champion this important bill.”
“All Americans deserve the opportunity to earn a living. Unfortunately, almost 70 percent of blind Americans are either unemployed or underemployed given the high cost of access technologies,” said Kelly. “Our legislation will make those tools more accessible and empower blind Americans to fully participate in the U.S. job market, a win for them and a win for America.”
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “My wife, my two daughters, and I are all blind, and the children’s technology needs will increase as they complete their education and start their careers. My family is not unique; blind people across the nation face this challenge, and this legislation will provide critical assistance. We thank and commend Chairman Thompson for continuing to be a champion for this act, which will help give blind people the technology they need to live the lives they want.”
You can click here to read the full text of the Access Technology Affordability Act, first introduced by Thompson in April 2019.
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means where he chairs the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. Rep. Thompson is Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He is also Co-Chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus and a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition.
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