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Urging Congress to Alter Federal Policies that Disadvantage People with Disabilities

  • Published: 2017-10-28 (Revised/Updated 2018-03-15) : Author: National Council on Disability : Contact: ncd.gov
  • Synopsis: National Council on Disability recommends decoupling eligibility for cash and health benefits; amending small business act to benefit business owners with disabilities.

Main Document

"NCD focused on poverty in our report because it dramatically compounds the greatest areas of concern for people with disabilities."

Highlighting disability and poverty connection, federal agency urges congress to alter federal policies that disadvantage people with disabilities - National Council on Disability recommends decoupling eligibility for cash and health benefits; amending small business act to benefit business owners with disabilities.

The National Council on Disability (NCD) -- a nonpartisan, independent federal agency comprised of presidential and congressional appointees has released an advisory report to Congress and the President on poverty and disability during its business meeting in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

NCD's report addresses why people with disabilities are often destined to live in poverty and experience high unemployment despite existing federal regulations and public policies that were intended to improve their lives. The report asserts that the basic needs for people with disabilities go beyond what is covered in the official U.S. definition of poverty and that a new definition of poverty could help highlight the financial challenges facing people with disabilities and influence changes in policy.

"At a time when many respected scholars and policymakers are announcing plans to combat poverty, NCD wanted to shine a light on the unique ways in which existing policies hold back people with disabilities from economic self-sufficiency so those barriers can be addressed in any plans moving forward," said Clyde Terry, NCD Chairperson. "NCD focused on poverty in our report because it dramatically compounds the greatest areas of concern for people with disabilities."

The NCD report focuses on seven factors that are crucial for enhancing the economic independence of people with disabilities -- education, employment, financial assistance and incentives, health care, long-term services and supports, transportation, and housing -- and offers recommendations to policymakers in each area.

Report Recommendations:

A small sampling of the report's recommendations includes:

Quick Report Takes:

Report: The NCD report on poverty and disability is available for download at ncd.gov/progressreport/2017/national-disability-policy-progress-report-october-2017

National Council on Disability

First established as an advisory Council within the Department of Education in 1978, NCD became an independent federal agency in 1984. In 1986, NCD recommended enactment of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and drafted the first version of the bill which was introduced in the House and Senate in 1988. Since enactment of the ADA in 1990, NCD has continued to play a leading role in crafting disability policy, and advising the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policies, programs, and practices.

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