The Corbin City mom lost most of her sight in 1998 to a rare hereditary condition. Now she can barely make out the large-print "20" on new bills - and she does this by holding the bill to the tip of her nose.
A federal court ruled last month that the U.S. Treasury Department discriminates against the blind. The split appellate court ruled that the agency denies "meaningful access" to American money.
The Treasury Department estimated that it would cost $3.5 billion to retool or replace America's 7 million snack and soda vending machines to accommodate the changes. This does not count the multitude of automated-teller machines.
The department spent $113 million redesigning currency in 2004. It has about two months to appeal the decision.
Atwell attends a blind support group at First United Methodist Church of Avalon. The Blind Center of the Jersey Cape meets twice a week to talk and listen to music.
Some of the members said they don't want any special accommodations.
Many of the group's members have learned to cope with consumerism by folding their bills in different ways depending on the denomination. But this sorting often requires the help of a friend or relative when store clerks make change.
Millicent Saraduke, the group's founder, keeps her singles in a separate coin purse. In her pocketbook, she sorts her large bills with an index card and then folds the smaller bills once or twice.