Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blind (in)justice

The plight of Bill DeLa Font is reaching fairly far. I got a call this morning from Don Adams from Jacksonville, Fla. Adams hosts a weekly two-hour radio talk show that focuses on physical disability issues.

A portion of his show tonight will be on DeLa Font. He's asked me to call in as well as DeLa Font. Tony Foster, a friend of DeLa Font's, may also be on the show.

I wrote a column on DeLa Font on Sunday. He is blind and lost his job in April when Goodwill Industries closed its Amarillo and Canyon stores. Disabled employees are unable to receive unemployment benefits, unlike those with no disabilities, because of a loophole in the Texas Workforce Code.

The statute says those non-profit organizations that offer "training programs" for the disabled to learn to work there are not required to offer them unemployment benefits because they aren't classified as true employees. This, despite the fact that all the usual taxes were taken out of their paychecks.

What DeLa Font wants is to be treated like any "normal" person. What he'd really like is a paycheck. If not for that, unemployment would be nice in the interim.

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