Fact Sheet: President Clinton and the First Lady Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (7/26/00)
|                                                                         |
|                 OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT                  |
|      Announcing New Action to Expand Employment Opportunities and       |
|            Ensure Equality for Individuals With Disabilities            |
|                              July 26, 2000                              |
|                                                                         |

Today, in an event at the FDR Memorial, President Clinton joined by the
First Lady and leaders of the disability community, will celebrate the 10th
Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and take new
action to further the goals of the ADA by: increasing Federal employment
opportunities for people with disabilities; ensuring that Federal agencies
establish effective procedures for addressing reasonable accommodation
requests and that federal programs are free from disability-based
discrimination; and reducing the barriers that Social Security
beneficiaries face when they return to work.  The President will also
announce his intention to work with the Congress in the context of an
overall budget framework to enact legislation that builds on the success of
the Work Incentives Improvement Act by allowing children with disabilities
to continue their Medicaid coverage even if their parents have returned to
work.  Finally, the President will unveil the Access America for People
with Disabilities website created to provide quick access to services and
other resources for people with disabilities and their families.  In
addition, the First Lady will announce a series of initiatives to improve
and increase opportunities for young people with disabilities to
successfully transition to work and achieve independence.  Yesterday, Vice
President Gore announced a number of initiatives to provide home- and
community-based options for people with disabilities who frequently have no
choice but institutionalization. These announcements build on the
Clinton/Gore Administration?s commitment to advancing the rights of people
with disabilities as full participants in all of society and preserving the
spirit and intent of the ADA.

GO TO WORK.  The President?s announcements reflect the ADA?s focus on
helping individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the workforce
by reducing the barriers that Social Security beneficiaries face when they
return to work.

?    Automatically adjusting the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level
for individuals with disabilities.  The Administration proposes to
encourage additional disabled individuals to return to work with enhanced
security by increasing the SGA levels to reflect the annual increases in
the national average wage index.  Since the beginning of the Social
Security disability program in 1956, there have been no regularly scheduled
increases in SGA.  Last year, the Administration increased the amount that
Social Security disability beneficiaries can earn - from $500 to $700 per
month - and continue to receive their benefits.  Each year, approximately
400,000 disability beneficiaries participate in the workforce.  Many
hesitate to work because they cannot afford to give up critical benefits.

?    Increase the amount of monthly earnings that count during a trial work
period for Social Security beneficiaries who go to work.  This increase
will encourage beneficiaries with disabilities to contribute their talent
and energy to the workforce and test their ability to maintain a level of
work activity without affecting their disability benefits by increasing
from $200 to $530 the minimum amount of monthly earnings that count toward
a monthly work period.  In the future, the amount will be automatically
adjusted based on any annual increases in the national average wage index.

IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.  The President will issue an Executive Order
calling on Federal agencies to hire 100,000 people with disabilities over a
five-year period. This ambitious commitment exceeds current hiring trends
by 60 percent, reflecting this Administration?s strong commitment to making
the Federal government a model employer by recruiting a diverse and
well-qualified workforce.  The President believes that the Federal
government is ready to meet this challenge. This Executive Order calls on
agencies to recruit individuals with disabilities for the full range of
levels and occupations in the Federal government.  The President will also
direct Federal agencies to establish effective procedures for processing
requests for reasonable accommodation by employees and job applicants with
disabilities.  A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work
environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a
disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.  Although many
individuals with disabilities can apply for and perform jobs without any
reasonable accommodations, workplace barriers - whether physical or
procedural - may keep others from performing jobs that they could do with
some form of accommodation.  Finally, to harness the power of new
technologies to promote employment of people with significant disabilities,
the President will call on Federal agencies that already operate customer
service centers to identify positions that could be relocated to home-based
or off-site facilities. If the agencies determine that it is feasible and
appropriate to establish home-based positions, they are then required to
develop a plan and guidelines that encourage the recruitment and employment
of individuals with disabilities for such positions.

will direct all Federal agencies to engage in a plan to ensure that today?s
Federal programs are free from disability-based discrimination, using
specific steps designed by the Department of Justice and the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reach this important goal.  As
we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ADA, we should renew our
commitment to ensure that people with disabilities have equal employment
opportunities within the Federal government and are fully able to
participate in all Federal government programs.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore?s vision of using information
technology to increase and improve customer service, the President
announced a new website, Access America for People with Disabilities -
www.disAbility.gov. - that will serve as a "one-stop" electronic link to an
enormous range of useful information for people with disabilities and their
families.  The website contains information relating to children and youth;
employment, self employment, and entrepreneurship; transportation; health
care and long term services and supports; choice and self-determination;
recreation and travel; civil rights and protections; college, adult and
vocational education; housing; technology; income supports; tax credits and
deductions; disability statistics; and emergency preparedness.
WORKING FAMILIES WITH DISABLED CHILDREN.  Today, the President will applaud
the efforts of members of Congress to pass the
Grassley-Kennedy-Sessions-Waxman Family Opportunity Act of 2000 (S. 2274
and HR 4825), sponsored by a bipartisan majority in the Senate and a
growing coalition in the House.  This bill, which is the next logical step
beyond the Jeffords-Kennedy Work Incentives Improvement Act, creates a new
Medicaid buy-in option and will help thousands of children with
disabilities who lose their Medicaid coverage because of increased family
income due to employment.  It will also include a time-limited
demonstration that extends Medicaid coverage to children who have a
disabling condition that, without health care coverage, would cause them to
become so severely disabled as to be eligible for SSI.  The President will
announce that he will work with the Congress to enact legislation that
achieves these goals in the context of a fiscally responsible budget

Lady will announce a series of steps to help young people successfully
transition from education to employment including:

?    Helping to bridge the transition from education to employment for
students with disabilities.  Young people with disabilities face enormous
challenges when transitioning from education to employment.  The First Lady
will announce the Administration?s plan to increase the amount that
students who receive SSI can earn while continuing to receive the important
protection SSI provides.  The Administration will increase the maximum
monthly earned income exclusion for students who receive Supplemental
Security Income from $400 to $1,290 and the yearly exclusion from $1,620 to
$5,200.  The Administration is proposing to automatically adjust these
amounts thereafter based on any annual increases in the cost-of-living

?    Working with youth to reach adult employment: the youth to work
initiative.  Recognizing that starting early is key to helping adults with
disabilities gain employment skills and thrive in the workplace, the First
Lady will unveil a new interagency Youth to Work Initiative.  This
Initiative would be created by amending the Executive Order that
established the Presidential Taskforce on Employment of Adults with
Disabilities to focus the mission on the important issue of helping young
people make the transition from school to work.  Youth with disabilities
who want to enter the workforce face many barriers to employment, including
low educational attainment, as well as low educational and employment
expectations.  Under the structure of the Taskforce, the Youth to Work
Initiative will strengthen interagency research, demonstration projects,
and education and training activities for youth to work activities.  It
will create a public awareness campaign to focus on youth with disabilities
and reduce the stigma of their entering the workforce.  To ensure fairness,
this Initiative will ensure that youth with disabilities are included in
all youth programs in federal agencies.  To help ease the transition to
work, it will explore how to increase access to health care and
postsecondary education and training for youth going to work.

?    Able to work consortium to help youth with disabilities access job
opportunities.  The Presidential Taskforce on the Employment of Adults with
Disabilities has worked with several major corporations to begin a
public-private partnership that will help ensure that youth with
disabilities are afforded the employment opportunities needed to lead to
meaningful careers.  These corporations, representing technology,
pharmaceuticals, banking and investment, manufacturing, and communications,
have volunteered to lead by example and demonstrate to other major
corporations the importance and viability of hiring young people with
disabilities.  These pioneering companies will actively serve as mentors to
other companies hiring youth with disabilities.

Yesterday, Vice President Gore announced that the Clinton-Gore
Administration will launch a series of major new initiatives designed to
promote the delivery of home- and community-based care for people with
disabilities of all ages.  These initiatives include a new $50 million
investment in FY 2001 to help states more easily offer services to people
with disabilities of all ages in the setting most appropriate to their
needs; new guidance to state Medicaid directors to help them comply with
the recent Olmstead Supreme Court ruling requiring Medicaid coverage for
home- and community-based services; and a new public-private partnership
between the Administration and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help
individuals with disabilities in institutional settings transition into
community-based care.  In addition, the Vice President also announced new
action to increase home ownership; expand incentives for employment for
individuals with disabilities to a broader range of housing assistance
programs; and promote the development of new assistive technology for
people with disabilities.

WORKING TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS OF THE ADA.  Throughout this Administration,
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked hard to achieve the
ADA?s core goals - equality of opportunity, full participation, independent
living, and economic self-sufficiency.  This Administration has vigorously
defended the ADA in court cases across the Nation; collaborated with state
Medicaid directors to implement the Supreme Court?s 1999 Olmstead decision,
which prohibits unjustified isolation of institutionalized persons with
disabilities; helped ensure that 80 percent of America?s public transit
buses are now accessible; implemented the Ticket to Work and Work
Incentives Improvement Act, which the President signed into law last
December; and developed far-reaching policies for a comprehensive,
coordinated employment agenda through the Task Force on Employment of
Adults with Disabilities

WITH DISABILITIES.  The President will urge the Congress to act now on
national priorities that will address the unique needs of individuals with
disabilities and are fully funded in his budget, including:

?    A new $1,000 tax credit to offset the formal and informal
employment-related costs incurred by working people with disabilities.
This tax credit would provide a new incentive for approximately
200,000-300,000 people with disabilities to begin working, and help those
people with jobs maintain them.  It would complement the Work Incentives
Improvement Act and would be available to all people with disabilities,
irrespective of their state Medicaid eligibility options.  For participants
in the Work Incentives Improvement Act Medicaid buy-in, this tax credit
could pay for services not covered (e.g., assistive technology,

?    A new $3,000 long-term care tax credit. This initiative supports
almost 2 million Americans with long-term care needs and the family members
who care for them through a $3,000 tax credit, an investment of $27 billion
over 10 years.  This new tax credit supports the diverse needs of families
by compensating a wide range of formal or informal long-term care for
people of all ages with three or more limitations in activities of daily
living (ADLs) or a comparable cognitive impairment.

?    Providing an affordable, accessible Medicare prescription drug benefit
option for all beneficiaries. The President has proposed a voluntary,
affordable Medicare prescription drug benefit for all beneficiaries,
including up to 5 million people with disabilities.  Beginning in 2002, it
would provide prescription drug coverage that would have a zero deductible
and cover half of all prescription drug costs up to $5,000 when fully
phased in.  It will also limit all out-of-pocket medication costs to
$4,000.  This optional benefit would also provide negotiated discounts that
would ensure that Medicare beneficiaries no longer pay the highest prices
in the marketplace.  The President?s proposal is part of a broader set of
reforms that would take the Medicare Trust Fund off budget, extend its life
to at least 2030, make the program more efficient and competitive, and
dedicate $40 billion over 10 years to improve health care provider payment

?    A strong, enforceable Patients? Bill of Rights.  This legislation
endorsed by over 200 health care provider and consumer advocacy groups, is
the only bipartisan proposal currently being considered that includes:
protections for all Americans in all health plans; protections for patients
accessing emergency room care from financial sanctions; requirements that
all health plans ensure continuity of care for patients in the middle of a
course of treatment; guarantees that assure access to necessary and
accessible health care specialists; meaningful enforcement mechanisms that
ensure recourse for patients who have been harmed as a result of a health
plan?s actions.

?    Establishing an Office of Disability Policy.  The Clinton-Gore
Administration supports establishing an Office of Disability Policy within
the Department of Labor, and improving access for adults with disabilities
to employment services offered through one-stop career center systems.  The
President?s FY 2001 budget includes $21 million for the Office of
Disability Policy, which was recommended by the Presidential Task Force on
Employment of Adults with Disabilities.

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