National Council on Disability Calls for New Federal Approach to Disability Policy
March 31, 2009
WASHINGTON—The National Council on Disability (NCD) today released its annual report to the President and Congress calling for a new integrated approach to disability policy within the Federal Government.
According to NCD Chairperson John R. Vaughn, “The report focuses on the current quality of life of people with disabilities in America and the emerging trends that should be factored into both the design and evaluation of the Federal Government’s disability policies and programs in the coming years. Strides have been made in access to transportation, education, communications, technology, and employment. Other factors important to quality of life, however, impede progress toward full citizenship, such as lack of affordable, accessible housing, difficulty breaking into the job market, poor access to health care, the institutional bias in Medicaid, access barriers to technology, and negative public attitudes about people with disabilities.”
In preparing the report and developing our recommendations, NCD solicited and received input from hundreds of disability community stakeholder organizations and persons with disabilities from across the country. In addition, we analyzed several national disability-related data sources and also drew from NCD’s current research and the studies of other government agencies. NCD Emerging Trends Committee Co-Chair Marylyn Howe added, “Based on our findings, the report provides 17 specific recommendations to address many of the disability community’s most pressing concerns, as well as areas of disparity in the treatment of people with disabilities. Following those recommendations are several principles for reviewing and modernizing government programs to better serve people with disabilities and for promoting a more integrated, inclusive, and cost-effective approach to federal disability policy.”
“In addition to the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities, the United States faces a rapidly approaching demographic shift to an older population, with an attendant increase in the incidence of disability. Given this impending increase, as well as the significant impact of the current economic crisis on people with disabilities, who even in the best of times experience significant socioeconomic disparities, now is the time to develop a bold, coherent, comprehensive approach to disability policy within the Federal Government. In past economic recessions, government programs aimed at ensuring the full inclusion of people with disabilities into society have fared poorly. Recent and future efforts to stimulate the economy offer us a great opportunity to ensure that all government initiatives take into consideration the needs of people with disabilities and their families,” Howe concluded.
The report, National Disability Policy: A Progress Report, can be found at /progress_reports/Mar312009.doc.
The purpose of NCD, an independent federal agency, is to promote programs, practices, policies and procedures that ensure full inclusion of people with disabilities into all aspects of society. NCD accomplishes this mission by providing advice and making recommendations to the President, Congress, governmental agencies, and other stakeholders.