Thursday, July 27, 2000
If we could just remember a few basic things: that everybody counts, everybody deserves a chance, everybody has a role to play, we all do better when we help each other. That's what this Memorial represents, that's what the ADA represents, that's America at its best
President Bill Clinton
July 26, 2000
Today, at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, DC, President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton joined leaders of the disability community in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The President announced several new actions to further the goals of the ADA, including increasing federal employment opportunities for people with disabilities; ensuring that federal programs are free from disability-based discrimination; and reducing the barriers that Social Security beneficiaries face when they return to work. The First Lady announced a series of initiatives to increase opportunities for young people with disabilities to successfully transition to work and achieve independence. Yesterday, Vice President Gore announced initiatives to provide home- and community-based options for people with disabilities who face institutionalization.
INCREASING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES. President Clinton took new action to further increase job opportunities within the federal government for people with disabilities. Today, the President:
- Issued an Executive Order calling on federal agencies to hire 100,000 people with disabilities over five years;
- Directed federal agencies to establish effective procedures for processing requests for reasonable accommodation by employees and job applicants with disabilities; and
- Directed federal agencies to ensure that federal programs are free from disability-based discrimination.
REDUCING BARRIERS TO WORK FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFICIARIES. The President proposed to reduce the barriers that Social Security beneficiaries face when they return to work by:
- Automatically adjusting the amount that Social Security disability beneficiaries can earn while continuing to receive their benefits, relative to annual increases in the national average wage index; and
- Increasing the minimum amount of monthly earnings that count toward a monthly trial work period for Social Security beneficiaries who go to work.
SUPPORTING THE FAMILY OPPORTUNITY ACT. The President announced his support of the bipartisan Grassley-Kennedy-Sessions-Waxman Family Opportunity Act of 2000, which will help thousands of children with disabilities who lose their Medicaid coverage because of increased family income due to employment.
UNVEILING "ACCESS AMERICA" WEBSITE. The President announced a new website – Access America for People with Disabilities at www.disAbility.gov – that will provide a wide range of useful information for people with disabilities and their families.
HELPING YOUTH WITH DISABILITIES TRANSITION TO EMPLOYMENT. The First Lady announced a series of steps to help young people with disabilities successfully transition from education to employment, including:
- A plan to increase the amount that students can earn and still receive Supplemental Security Income;
- A new interagency Youth to Work Initiative to help young people make the transition from school to work; and
- The Able to Work Consortium, a public-private partnership to help youth access job opportunities.
URGING CONGRESS TO ACT NOW ON NATIONAL PRIORITIES. The President urged Congress to act now on national priorities that affect individuals with disabilities, including affordable, accessible Medicare prescription drug coverage for all beneficiaries, and a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights.