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Progress report on status of people with disabilities released

November 14th, 2014  |  Deborah Hammonds

The National Council on Disability (NCD) recently released its 2014 edition of National Disability Policy: A Progress Report which provides details on the status of people with disabilities in the United States. The annual report gives an overview of the progress this country has made promoting and protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. The report also identifies opportunities to promote public policies that contribute to a more inclusive environment.

NCD’s report identifies six areas as being important to the wellbeing of people with disabilities: employment access and inclusion, subminimum wage, the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), education outcomes, Medicaid managed care, and mental health care. Recommendations to improve these areas are also included. For example:

“Employment is one of the most important pathways to economic self-sufficiency and independence for Americans, yet people with disabilities experience higher unemployment and lower pay rates than those without disabilities. NCD explores how such factors as transportation, workplace culture, and technology impact employment experiences and opportunities. The NCD advocates for an inclusive approach to these (and other) factors so that people with disabilities can focus on pursuing employment interests rather than on mediating obstacles that serve as barriers to employment.

Extending subminimum wage based on disability status has no place in American culture. This policy option was introduced in an era lacking protective legislation, such as the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA, and innovations in technology that now afford greater opportunity for Americans with disabilities to engage prominently throughout society. The NCD urges the U.S. Department of Labor to adopt its approach to phasing out subminimum wage provisions as they relate to people with disabilities.”

Data trends in disability policy are also highlighted in the report.

“With our 2014 Progress Report, NCD acknowledges the cultural context of the past while setting a vision for the future that is grounded in high expectations for both people with disabilities and the policymakers who are responsible for shaping an inclusive society,” said Councilmember Janice Lehrer-Stein in an agency statement.

NCD has reported on the status of people with disabilities since its inception. This year’s report takes on added significance as the agency celebrates its 30th anniversary. NCD was first established in 1978 as a small advisory Council within the Department of Education and in 1984 transitioned to its current status as a federal agency.

A copy of NCD’s 2014 Progress Report, including key findings, recommendations and objectives, is available on the agency’s website, www.ncd.gov.