Support Letters Needed

From: David Andrews (
Date: Wed Feb 19 1997 - 20:09:02 PST

Subject: support letters needed for Senator Mccain

Hello to all:

For those of you who can conveniently do so, it would be a good
idea to provide Senator John McCain with organizational support
letters regarding the earnings limit linkage bill. These letters
will be printed in the Congressional Record as attachments to his
statement on the bill when it is introduced on Monday, February
24. We should do what we can to show the broadest extent of
organizational support possible. Therefore, please do what you
can to have NFB affiliates and other groups fax such Letters to
Senator McCain. Since the letters will be attached to the
written statement, faxed copies on organizational letterhead
(rather than e-mail messages from individuals) should be
supplied. The fax number to use is (202) 228-2862--Attention:
Sonya Sotak. The text below, which is the support letter that I
have sent on behalf of the NFB, can be used as a sample. Include
your own edits, variations, etc. to make the letters express a
variety of perspectives.

The sample text follows:

                          February 12, 1997

The Honorable John McCain
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator McCain:

     I am writing to express our strong support for your bill to
restore the linkage of earnings limits under the Social Security
Act which apply to age 65 retirees and blind people of any age.
The position of the National Federation of the Blind on this
matter is best expressed in a resolution (copy attached) which
was unanimously adopted at our 1996 National Convention.

     Your leadership on behalf of beneficiaries who want to
contribute to society by working has earned our utmost respect.
The Social Security earnings limit, presently at $12,000
annually, is the greatest barrier to self-support for blind
people. In fact, I would say that the single factor of the
earnings limit is more destructive to the self-support efforts of
blind people than any other social condition.

     By raising the earnings exemption threshold for blind people
to $30,000 beginning in 2002, your bill would substantially
remove any disincentive to work for blind people. For that
reason, we applaud your efforts and pledge our full support.

     Thank you for responding to the need.

                              Very truly yours,

                              James Gashel
                              Director of Governmental Affairs
                              NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND


                        RESOLUTION 96-01

     WHEREAS, the Social Security Amendments of 1977 established
an identical earnings exemption threshold for blind people and
for individuals who retire at age 65; and

     WHEREAS, amendments to the Social Security Act which were
included in legislation recently passed to raise the ceiling on
the national debt have also raised the earnings exemption
threshold for seniors but not for the blind; and

     WHEREAS, while the Social Security Act limit on earnings for
blind people remains at the level established in January 1996
(subject to automatic annual adjustments), the senior citizens'
exempt amount will be increased in seven mandated increments
which far exceed inflation adjustments; and

     WHEREAS, the mandated increases for seniors will result in
an earnings exemption of $30,000 effective in 2002, while the
earnings limit for blind people in the same year is expected to
be $14,400; and

     WHEREAS, the decision to separate the blind persons' and
senior citizens' earnings exemptions reflects a pro-work policy
for seniors but, by comparison, continues a far more restrictive
work policy which blind people are still forced to endure; and

     WHEREAS, the disability of blindness is not defined by the
inability to work, and, therefore, blind people should be encour-
aged to become productive to the maximum extent possible by
lifting the restriction on earnings: Now, therefore,

     BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in
convention assembled this fifth day of July, 1996, in the City of
Anaheim, California, that this organization reaffirm its long-
standing view that provisions of the Social Security Act which
impose economic hardships on blind people who work must be
changed; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we request prompt action by
Congress at least to restore the earnings exemption policy by
which blind people and seniors have had an identical exempt
amount for almost twenty years.

David Andrews (
or BBS: (telnet to or call (612) 696-1975

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