Part 135- Money

 We all know what currency/money is and can easily recognize it. But what about people who can’t? What do they have to do? 

Many countries have their currency in different sizes depending on the denomination, but in the United States, only the coins are different. Otherwise, the paper bills are all the same size. Frankly, the idea of having different colors or sizes for US dollars didn’t exist. Plus, it was cheaper to print them all in the same color and paper. Nowadays, it is expected for them to be the same color and size because it’s stayed this way. 

Countries such as India, Australia, and Malaysia, have a distinct length for each denomination. Not only are they different sizes, but a simple, money identifier card can be used. 

Tactile marks along the tool can help identify which bill is which when lined up to the card. Money identifier tools are also very useful. The user has to insert the money into one of the devices, and then the device will provide information about the bill through speech, or a combination of beeps or vibrations. 

Some governments tried a more direct approach. In Canada, money is produced in such a way that there are braille dots to indicate the value of the bill. 

A very simple way to identify the denomination of bills can be through folding. Particular bills can be folded in particular ways to identify which is which. To be honest, I don’t find this very efficient. Yes, folding may help but it also may be a hassle to fold a bill every single time in a very specific/particular way each time you get one. 

Okay, okay. I know I’m not some cheesy reporter or spokesperson telling you stuff, but I’ve really got to explain one- no two more things. Laws! Yes, laws. Specifically, ADA and IDEA laws. ( Oh and maybe a mention of the U.S. Currency Program in between.)
ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act. This is a civil rights law that “…prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and public places that are open to the general public.” This law is to make sure people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone. IDEA stands for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Similar to the ADA, IDEA provides students with a disability with Free Appropriate Public Education. There are 4 parts to this law. Part A covers the general provisions of the law; Part B  covers assistance for the education of all children with disabilities; Part C covers infants and toddlers with disabilities; lastly, Part D consists of the national support programs administered at the FEDERAL level. 

Under the U.S. Currency program, U.S. citizens who are blind or visually impaired can obtain a currency reader device at no cost. The story behind this is quite interesting. You see, the BEP ( Bureau of Engraving and Printing) was directed to file a status report every six months on their project to provide meaningful access to the United States currency for blind and other visually impaired people. In May 2010 the Department of Treasury and the BEP issued a notice in the Federal Register to inform the public of the features BEP was proposing to the Secretary of Treasury. This included raised tactile features, large, high numerals, and a supplementary currency reader program. 

In April 2011 BEP developed an app called EyeNote to assist blind and visually impaired people in identifying U.S. currency. 2 years later, in June, BEP submitted its plan for Meaningful Access to U.S. Currency for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals to the Treasury and the Senate Committee Appropriations. However, in September 2014, the GAO released a report saying that BEP fell behind schedule in its plans to produce U.S. currency with raised tactile markings. BEP estimated that currency with tactile features could be delayed until 2020. Until then, the GAO encouraged the government to focus on distributing currency readers while the plan for tactile features was developed. 
Maybe we will have a new type of U.S. Currency. Or I wonder if it will be a special order once only disabled people have this type of currency. Hmmmmmmm. I wonder… Or would that be harder? I personally think that tactile marks or even a bill reader are the best options for finding the denomination of bills. Only 1 out of 10 students learn braille so tactile marks may not be very common or effective unless we do something to increase the learning of braille. ( But we can’t force people.) Maybe just get them to memorize the tactile marks. They wouldn’t necessarily have to learn braille but instead just the needed dots/marks that are associated with the currency. Even if people don’t learn braille, we can always have bill readers which are already effective and useful today. Either way, they both help disabled people with bill denominations.
Even though the U.S. has come up with a solution- as I mentioned above- I think that they should consider or even try printing currency of different sizes. Even though we’ve been used to printing them all the same size would it be more effective to just change the size or would it be costly and a problem? It really doesn’t matter, to be honest. ADA was made to prevent discrimination against visually impaired people yet it can’t help with money? What if they’re out in public and don’t know how is around them? That person would know how much money they have, right? So now, when you think about it, the United States hasn’t really come up with anything for this problem. ( And it took me nearly 7- 8 paragraphs to get it through.)