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U.S. National Council on Disability

  • Published: 2010-01-19 (Revised/Updated 2010-07-21) : Author: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: The National Council on Disability (NCD) is an advisory board within the United States Department of Education to guarantee equal opportunity for people with disabilities.

Main Document

What is the National Council on Disability (NCD)

The National Council on Disability (NCD) was initially established in 1978 as an advisory board within the United States Department of Education to guarantee equal opportunity for people with disabilities.

Today the National Council on Disability is composed of 15 members, appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1984 made NCD an independent agency.

NCD is unique in that it is the only federal agency charged with addressing, analyzing, and making recommendations on issues of public policy that affect people with disabilities regardless of age, disability type, perceived employment potential, economic need, specific functional ability, status as a veteran, or other individual circumstance.

The statutory mandate of the NCD includes the following duties:

Gather information about the implementation, effectiveness, and impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

Provide Congress with advice, recommendations, legislative proposals, and other information that the National Council on Disability or Congress deems appropriate.

Review and evaluate all statutes and regulations pertaining to federal programs that assist people with disabilities, to assess their effectiveness in meeting the needs of these people.

Make recommendations to the President, Congress, the Secretary of Education, the Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and other officials of federal agencies regarding ways to promote equal opportunity, economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society for Americans with disabilities.

Advise the President, Congress, the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education, and the Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research on the development of programs to be carried out under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Advise the Commissioner on the policies and conduct of the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Make recommendations to the Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research on research affecting people with disabilities.

Review and evaluate emerging federal, state, local, and private sector policy issues that affect people with disabilities, including the need for and coordination of adult services, access to personal assistance services, school reform efforts and the impact of these efforts on persons with disabilities, access to health care, and policies that operate as disincentives for individuals to seek and retain employment.

Advise the Inter-agency Disability Coordinating Council on priorities for its activities and review the recommendations of the council for legislative and administrative changes.

Prepare and submit to the President and Congress an annual report, National Disability Policy: A Progress Report.

Review and evaluate federal policies, programs, practices, and procedures concerning people with disabilities, including programs established or assisted under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.

The National Council on Disability has written several position papers related to information technology accessibility.

In addition to the numerous meetings, discussions, consultations, comments, briefings, press events, awards, conferences, and various other activities in which NCD has engaged, NCD has generated a large quantity of documents over the past 30 years. NCD's Web site makes available different kinds of written products, including reports, papers, news releases, presentations, speeches, testimony, and monthly issues of the National Council on Disability Bulletin.


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