The History of the Money Makeover

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Not Just a Face

When major news sources reported on the upcoming money makeover changes to the U.S. currency the focus was primarily on the printed faces versus the tactile changes. While, these changes represent great historical transformation and a positive cultural shift, the real purpose for the changes were overlooked or buried at the bottom of the articles. Tactile changes will provide greater independence for people who are visually impaired or blind. The U.S. Department of Treasury has been slow to comply with federal laws, and has lagged behind over 180 nations. The new look will bring positive changes.

Scattered dollar bills with lipstick and makeup brushes on top

Feel the Money

Some people are looking to be shown the money, but many people with a visual deficit need to feel the money to independently manage their finances. What started as a journey to equality and independence in 2005, ended with a partial victory on May 20, 2008. The American Council for the Blind (ACB) was able to prove the U.S. Department of Treasury discriminates against people with visual impairments and people who are blind after the federal court of appeals court upheld a previous ruling of the U.S. Treasury being found guilty of discrimination. The American Council for the Blind cited over 180 other nations had accessibility built into their currency.

A Lot of Green

In 2010 almost 2.5 billion $20.00 notes were printed, and around 7 billion $20.00 notes since then. This is a lot of money entering circulation that ignored the ruling of the court system. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) reported delivering seven billion notes to the Department of Treasury in 2015. Most of this money was to replace money currently in circulation. This appears to have been an outright refusal to comply with federal ADA laws and Title II laws.

Canadian banknote with embossed braille dots

Canadian banknote with embossed braille characters to identify the denomination.

We Have Come a Long Way; But…

Despite the court’s ruling nothing was changing in identifying paper money; the ACB continued fighting for the rights of people with visual deficits and people who are blind. In 2014 currency readers were being distributed as part of the solution to resolve the non-compliance in altering the U.S. currency; more was still required.

Waiting For Social Consciousness in the US Department of Treasury

May 20, 2016 marks the 8-year anniversary since the Department of Treasury was found to discriminate against people with visual deficits. The U.S. Department of Treasury realizes the power of social conscious marketing and is not only providing accessibility for more people they are raising awareness of the female leaders and civil rights leaders who fought for the rights of many people.

Chart showing the braille character used to identify different Canadian denominations

Chart showing the braille character used to identify different Canadian denominations.

Money Makeover is a Long Time Coming

The U.S. Department of Treasury is expected to rollout the first batch of accessible $10.00 notes in the year 2020. It is anticipated that accessible notes of all denominations will be in wallets by the year 2030. This seems like an unwillingness to comply with accessibility when you consider the amount of notes that are introduced into circulation each year. However, the change is coming and as the changes come and more people are dependent on tactile and audio assistance to replace failing vision accessibility is likely to be in greater demand.

How Compliant is Your Business?

Contact a professional at Braille Works to assess your federal compliance, and to create a timeline to implement accessible documents and PDFs. Being proactive in ADA and Title II and Title III compliance is vital to the integrity of your organization.

Phone: 1-800-258-7544



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This post was written by Braille Works

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