Judge rules paper money unfair to blind

| tags: blind, enabling technology

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Treasury Department is violating the law by failing to design and issue currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired people.

Judge James Robertson, in a ruling on a suit by the American Council of the Blind, ordered the Treasury to devise a method to tell bills apart.

The judge wrote that the current configuration of paper money violates the Rehabilitation Act's guarantee of "meaningful access."

"It can no longer be successfully argued that a blind person has 'meaningful access' to currency if she cannot accurately identify paper money without assistance," Robertson wrote in his ruling.

He further ruled that finding a solution to the problem would not be an "undue burden" on the government and ordered the Treasury Department to begin working on a solution within 30 days.

The American Council for the Blind has submitted several alternatives, including embossing, holes punched in the paper or using different-sized bills for different denominations.

The Treasury Department had no comment on the ruling.