Events in the Development of Disability Policy

1636 - Colonial law by Pilgrims at Plymouth gave benefits to disabled soldiers.


1830s - Schools for the blind were established in New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.


1862 - U.S. General law established a pension system for soldiers disabled in the line of duty, and widows and other dependent relatives of soldiers who died in the line of duty.


1864 - Legislation for the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind was signed by President A. Lincoln, enabling the institution to confer college degrees.  It later became Gallaudet University.


1865 - President A. Lincoln called upon Congress & American people care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan... These words later became the motto of the Veterans Administration.


1879 - An Act to promote the Education of the Blind provided annual funds for books and educational materials to blind children.


1885 - First rehabilitation workshop financed fully from public funds was established in Oakland, California.


1911 - Joint Congressional Resolution P.R. 45 authorized a federal commission to investigate the subject of workers compensation and compensation to disabled workers.


1917 - Smith-Hughes Act provided federal funding for state vocational educational programs, which included retraining of dislocated industrial workers.


1918 -Soldier Rehabilitation Act (the Smith-Sears Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Act) began a national rehabilitation program for veterans.


1920 *  Smith-Fess Act (P.L. 66-236) began program of Vocational Rehabilitation of civilians with physical disabilities.


1930 - Veterans Administration was established.


1931 - Pratt-Smoot Act established a program for the blind through the Library of Congress.


1931 - Disabled American Veterans (DAV), which had formed in 1920, was chartered by Congress to represent disabled veterans in dealings with the federal government.


1935 * Social Security Act (P.L. 74-271) was passed establishing federal old-age benefits, and grants to states for assistance to aged and blind individuals, dependent and crippled children.  It also extended and provided the first permanent authorization for the federal Vocational Rehabilitation Program, emphasizing that vocational rehabilitation of persons with disabilities is a social responsibility.


1936 - Randolph-Sheppard Act (P.L. 74-732) authorized blind vending stands in federal buildings. 


1938 - Wagner-ODay Act (P.L. 75-739) gave special preference in federal purchasing to workshops employing blind persons.


1943 * - A separate veterans rehabilitation law was established. 


1943 Barden - LaFollette Act expanded the VR program, including emotionally disturbed and mentally retarded; began physical restoration services; authorized separate blind agencies to administer the VR program; and, required states to submit a written state plan to the federal government.


1945 - Joint congressional resolution (P.L. 79-176) was signed by President Harry Truman, calling for the creation of an annual National Employ the Handicapped Week.


1946 - Hill-Burton Act (the Hospital Survey and Construction Act) was passed authorizing federal grants to the states for construction of hospitals, public health centers, and health facilities for rehabilitation of people with disabilities.


1950 - Social Security Amendments (P.L. 81-734) extended state-federal public assistance programs to the permanently and totally disabled by providing grants-in-aid to the states.


1952 -  The Presidents Committee on National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week became the Presidents Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, a permanent organization reporting to the President and Congress.


1954 * Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1954 (P.L. 83-565) enacted extensive revisions.  These included financing improvements, establishment of research and demonstration project funding, funding for counselor education, and funding for construction of rehabilitation facilities.  Financing improvements provided for allocation of funds to states based on a formula reflecting population and per-capita income.


1954 - Social Security Amendments (P.L. 83-761) established the first operating Social Security disability program under Title II provisions for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to provide monthly disability insurance payments to workers with disabilities and their eligible dependents.


1956 - Social Security Amendments (P.L. 84-880) created the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program for disabled workers aged 50-64.


1958 - Social Security Amendments (P.L. 85-840) extended SSDI benefits to the dependents of disabled workers.


1959 - Housing Act (P.L. 86-372) provided loans for construction or rehabilitation of housing for the elderly and people with handicaps (Section 202) and a voucher rent subsidy program (Section 8).


1960 - Social Security Amendments (P.L. 86-778) eliminated the restriction that disabled workers receiving SSDI benefits had to be aged 50 or older.


1963 - President Kennedy, in an address to Congress, called for deinstitutionalization and increased community services for persons confined to residential institutions for the mentally ill and mentally retarded.


1965 - Social Security Amendments (P.L. 89-97) established Title XVIII (Medicare) and Title XIX (Medicaid) programs providing hospital and medical insurance protection to disabled workers as well as funding for state medical assistance programs for the poor, including persons with disabilities.


1965 * Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1965  (P.L. 89-333) made comprehensive revisions following an extensive review of the Act. These included expansion of services to a broader population of rehabilitation clients and establishment of the National Commission on Architectural Barriers to Rehabilitation of the Handicapped. They also provided federal funds to help construct new rehabilitation centers and workshops.


1967 * Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1967 (P.L. 90-99)established a national Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults.


1968 - The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-480) required buildings and facilities designed, constructed, altered or financed by the Federal government after 1969 to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.  This can be considered the first federal disability rights legislation.


1968 - Vocational Education Act Amendments (P.L. 90-576) required each state to earmark 10% of its basic grant for services for youth with disabilities.


1969 - National Citizens Conference on Rehabilitation of Disabled and Disadvantaged (NCCRDD) was held.


1969 - Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act provided for compensation to miners for black lung disease.


1970 - Elementary and Secondary Education Act Amendments of 1970 (P.L. 91-230) created a separate Act - The Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA). Part B authorized grants to states to assist them in initiating, expanding, and improving programs for the education of children with disabilities. EHA also established several competitive grant programs such as personnel preparation, research and demonstration.


1970 - The Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Amendments of 1970 (P.L. 91-517)included broad responsibilities for a state planning and advisory council to plan and implement a comprehensive program of services for persons with developmental disabilities. It provided the first legal definition of developmental disabilities. In addition, the legislation authorized grants to support interdisciplinary training in institutions of higher education of personnel providing services to persons with developmental disabilities (currently known as university affiliated programs).


1970 - Urban Mass Transit Act declared it a national policy that elderly and handicapped persons have the same right as other persons to utilize mass transportation facilities and services. The law had little immediate impact because it included no provisions for enforcement, and a subsequent court injunction barred implementation of the proposed regulations.


1971 - Amendments to Title XIX of the Social Security Act (Medicaid Program) (P.L. 92-223) authorized public mental retardation programs to be certified as intermediate care facilities and required that these programs offer, among other things, "active treatment."


1971 - Amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 brought people with disabilities other than blindness into the sheltered workshop system.


1971 - Amendments to Wagner-O' Day Act extended federal purchasing preference to all sheltered workshops for the handicapped and permitted purchase of services as well as products.


1972 - The private Center for Independent Living (CIL) was founded in Berkeley, California.  This is generally acknowledged as the first CIL.


1972 - Social Security Amendments of 1972 (P.L. 92-603) repealed existing public assistance programs and replaced them with a new Title XVI (Supplemental Security Income, SSI) program. This program was the one major provision of the hotly debated HR 1" welfare reform bill to be passed. It authorized national cash benefits for aged, blind, and disabled individuals. In addition, it authorized a new assistance program for children under 18 years of age with disabilities or blindness, provided that their disabilities were comparable in severity to adult recipients.


1973 - The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-112) represented a total rewrite of the state formula grant supporting the vocational rehabilitation program and competitive programs supporting personnel development, research, and demonstrations. It established priority to serve persons with severe disabilities; mandated an Individualized Written Rehabilitation Program (IWRP) for every client; and, changed Vocational Rehabilitation Act to Rehabilitation Act. It established Title VI civil rights protection for people with disabilities, including "Section 504," which prohibits discrimination against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities in any program or activity receiving federal funds. In addition, it established the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board to enforce the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and provide technical assistance to agencies subject to Section 504 regulations.


1973 - Federal-Aid Highway Act Amendments of 1973 (P.L. 93-643) amended (P.L. 93-87 to require access to public mass transportation facilities, equipment and services for elderly and persons with disabilities. It included authorization of federal funds for curb cuts.


1974 * Broader definition of handicapped individual was included in the Rehabilitation Act.


1974 - The Housing and Community Development Amendments of 1974 (P.L. 93-383) expanded the low-income rent subsidy program under "Section 8" to include families consisting of single persons with disabilities. The legislation also extended the "Section 202" direct loan program to nonprofit agencies to projects for persons with mental as well as physical disabilities.


1974 - Elementary and Secondary Education Amendments of 1974 (P.L. 93-380) included amendments to Part B of the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA) that laid the basis for comprehensive planning, the delivery of additional financial assistance to the states, and the protection of handicapped children's rights.


1974 - The Community Services Act (P.L. 93-644) stipulated that 10% of children enrolled in the Head Start program must be children with disabilities.


1974 - The Social Services Amendments of 1974 (P.L. 93-647) consolidated social service grants to states under a new Title XX of the Social Security Act.


1975 - Department of Transportation Appropriations Act (P.L. 93-391) directed that none of the funds under the act be available for purchase of mass transit equipment or construction of facilities unless they meet the requirements of the elderly and handicapped.


1975 - The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (P.L. 94-103) created a "bill of rights" for persons with developmental disabilities, funded services for persons with developmental disabilities, added a new funding authority for university affiliated facilities, and established a system of protection and advocacy organizations in each state.


1975 - The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142) amended the Education of the Handicapped Act to mandate a free appropriate public education for all children with disabilities in a state, regardless of the nature or severity of the child's disability (Part B of the Education of the Handicapped Act).  It established requirements for the Individualized Education Program (IEP).


1975 - National Housing Act Amendments (P.L. 94-173) provided for the removal of barriers, hazards, and inconvenient features of housing for people with handicaps.


1976 - White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals brought together some 3,000 people with disabilities to discuss federal disability policy, resulting in numerous recommendations.


1978 * The Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendments (P.L. 95-602) represented the first major attempt to serve people with severe disabilities. The legislation established the national Independent Living (IL) program by adding the new Title VII to the Rehabilitation Act. It established the National Institute of Handicapped Research, the National Council of the Handicapped, and new programs for people with disabilities, including recreation programs and pilot programs for employment. It also updated and made functional the definition of the term developmental disability" and clarified the functions of the university affiliated programs.


1980 - The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (P.L. 96-247) authorized the U. S. Department of Justice to sue states for alleged violations of the rights of institutionalized persons, including persons in mental hospitals or facilities for people with mental retardation.


1980 - Social Security Act Amendments (P.L. 96-265) and the related Omnibus Reconciliation Act (P.L. 96-499) authorized special cash payments (Section 1619(a)) and continued Medicaid eligibility (Section 1619(b)) for individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits but, nonetheless, engage in substantial gainful activity. This provision was made effective for three years.


1981 - The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (P.L. 97-35):

  • Consolidated six programs authorized under Title V of the Social Security Act into a single block grant authority (Maternal and Child Health) to address, among other things, the needs of children with special health care needs;

  • Converted the existing Title XX program into a Social Services Block Grant Program; authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services to grant "home and community-based" waivers to enable states to furnish personal assistance and other services to individuals who, without such services, would require institutional care provided that costs under the waiver do not exceed the cost of providing institutional care to the target population.


1982 - The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-248) permitted states to cover home care services for certain children with disabilities under their Medicaid plans, even through family's income and resources exceeded state's normal eligibility standards.


1982 - The Job Training Partnership Act (P.L. 97-300) revamped the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). The Act emphasized training for private sector jobs, and established a estate Job Training Coordinating Council" and the "Private Industry Council (PIC)".


1982 - Telecommunications for the Disabled Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-410) mandated telephone access for deaf and hard-of-hearing people at important public places, such as hospitals and police stations, and that all coin-operated phones be hearing aid-compatible by January 1985.  It also called for state subsidies for production and distributions of telecommunications devices for the deaf.


1984 *  The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1984 (P.L. 98-221) transformed the National Council on Disability from an Advisory Board in the Department of Education into an independent Federal agency.  The legislation also required that each state operate a Client Assistance Project (CAP).


1984 - The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (P.L. 98-435) required that registration and polling places for federal elections be accessible to persons with disabilities.


1984 - Child Abuse Amendments of 1984 (P.L. 98-457) required states to enact procedures or programs within child protection agencies to respond to cases in which medical treatment is withheld from disabled infants.


1984 - The Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-460) extended the Section 1619 worker incentive program under SSI for an additional 3 years.


1984 - Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-524) and its predecessors offered vocational education to handicapped students, primarily at the secondary level.


1984 - The Developmental Disabilities Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-527) added a statement of purpose to the Act, authorized protection and advocacy systems to have access to the records of persons with developmental disabilities residing in institutions.


1985 - The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-272) authorized states to cover case management services on less than a statewide or comparable basis to targeted groups under Medicaid; expanded the definition of "habilitation" for Home and Community-Based Waiver recipients with developmental disabilities to cover certain pre-vocational services and supported employment for previously institutionalized individuals; authorized states to cover ventilator-dependent children under the waiver program if they would otherwise require continued inpatient care.


1986 - Toward Independence An Assessment of Federal Laws and Programs Affecting Persons with Disabilities With Legislative Recommendations was published by the National Council on the Handicapped.  It outlined the legal status of Americans with disabilities, documenting the existence of discrimination and citing the need for federal civil rights legislation.


1986 - The Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-139) established a formula grant program operated by existing protection and advocacy systems primarily focusing on incidences of abuse and neglect of mentally ill individuals.


1986 - The Handicapped Children's Protection Act (P.L. 99-372) overturned a Supreme Court decision and authorized courts to award reasonable attorneys fees to parents who prevail in due process proceedings and court actions under part B of the Education of the Handicapped Act.


1986 - The Air Carrier Access Act (P.L. 99-435) prohibited discrimination against persons with disabilities by air carriers and provided for enforcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation.


1986 - The Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments (P.L. 99-457) included a new grant program for states to develop an early intervention system for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families and provide greater incentives for states to provide preschool programs for children with disabilities between the ages of three and five.


1986 - Amendments to the Job Training Partnership Act (P.L. 99-496) required special consideration for persons with disabilities in the awarding of discretionary grants.


1986 * The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986 (P.L. 99-506) broadened the Acts purposes, including rehabilitation engineering and supported employment services, and emphasizing services for persons with severe disabilities and individualized service planning. It required direction of CILs by consumer-controlled boards, and it required states to establish State Independent Living Councils to provide guidance for the development and expansion of IL programs and concepts on a statewide basis and to develop a five-year plans for IL services in the state. It also specified that states must plan for individuals making the transition from school to work.


1986 - The Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act (P.L. 99-643) made the Section 1619(a) and 1619(b) work incentives a permanent feature of the Social Security Act.  The Act also added provisions to enable individuals to move back and forth among regular SSI, Section 1619(a) and Section l619(b) eligibility status.


1987 - The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act Amendments of 1987 (P.L. 100-146) updated language in the legislation, strengthened the independence of the State Planning Councils, strengthened authority of protection and advocacy systems to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, and created separate line items for core funding and training for university affiliated programs.


1987 - The Housing and Community Development Act of 1987 (P.L. 100-242) required HUD to earmark 15 percent of Section 202 funds for non-elderly persons with disabilities.


1988 - The Civil Rights Restoration Act (P.L. 100-259) amended the Rehabilitation Act's definition of an individual with a disability and defined coverage of Section 504 as broad (e.g., extending to an entire university) rather than narrow (e.g., extending to just one department of the university) when federal funds are involved.


1988 - The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-360) clarified the circumstances under which Medicaid reimbursement would be available for services included in a child's individualized education program (IEP) or individualized family services plan (IFSP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.


1988 - Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-394) required most telephones manufactured or imported into the U.S. must be compatible for use with telecoil-equipped hearing aids.


1988 - The Temporary Child Care for Handicapped Children and Crisis Nurseries Act of 1986 (P.L. 100-403)authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make grants to states for public and nonprofit agencies to furnish temporary, non-medical care services to children with disabilities and special health care needs.


1988 - The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act (P.L. 100-407) provided assistance to states in creating consumer-responsive statewide programs of assistive technology for individuals of all ages and disabilities.


1988 - The Fair Housing Act Amendments (P.L. 100-430) added persons with disabilities as a group protected from discrimination in housing and ensured that persons with disabilities are allowed to adapt their dwelling place to meet their needs.


1989 - The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-239):

  • Specified, among other things, that at least 30% of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant under Title V of the Social Security Act must be used to improve services for children with special health care needs;
  • Included a major expansion in required services under Medicaid's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program (EPSDT).


1990 - The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (P.L. 101-336) provided a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including titles on employment, public services (general and transportation), public accommodations and services operated by private entities, telecommunications, and miscellaneous provisions.


1990 - Carl D. Perkins Vocational Educational Applied Technology Amendments (P.L. 101-392) rewrote the vocational legislation, eliminated the 10% earmarking for disabled youth but included specific language to assure students with disabilities access to qualified vocational programs and supplementary services.


1990 - The Television Decoder Circuitry Act (P.L. 101-431) required closed caption circuitry (compute chip) to be part of all televisions with screens 13 inches or larger manufactured for sale and use in the United States.


1990 - The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA) (P.L. 101-476)renamed the Education of the Handicapped Act and reauthorized programs under the Act to improve support services to students with disabilities, especially in the areas of transition and assistive technology.  Placement in the least restrictive environment was emphasized.


1990 - The Developmental Disabilities Act Amendments of 1990 (P.L. 101-496) maintained and further strengthened programs authorized under the Act.


1990 - The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-508):

  • Established a limited purpose optional state coverage of community supported living arrangements services for persons with mental retardation and related conditions; (This authority has since expired.) authorized community supported living arrangements and stressed individualized support rather than the standardized services common to the ICF/MR program;
  • Included a provision called the "access credit" that enables small businesses to claim credit against taxes for half of the first $10,000 of eligible costs of complying with the ADA.


1990 - National Affordable Housing Act (P.L. 101-625) established a distinct statutory authority to fund supportive housing for people with disabilities, with a separate financing mechanism and selection criteria.


1991 - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1991 (P.L. 102-119) enhanced infants and toddlers program and extended the BEA support programs.


1991 - The Civil Rights Act of 1991 (P.L. 102-166) reversed numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions that restricted the protections in employment discrimination cases and authorized compensatory and punitive damages under Title V of the Rehabilitation Act and Title I of the ADA.


1992 - The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1992 (P.L. 102-569) made comprehensive revisions that provided explicit national legislative findings, public policy commitments, and statutory purposes, emphasized access to state vocational rehabilitation systems for those with the most significant disabilities, enabled consumers to have greater choice and control in the rehabilitation process, and provided opportunities for career advancement.  State Rehabilitation Advisory Councils (SRACs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) were established, with the SILCs being given responsibilities and authority to work with the Designated State Units in developing, submitting, and implementing the State Plans for Independent Living (SPILs).


1993 - The Family and Medical Leave Act (P.L. 103-3) allowed workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for newborn and adopted children and family members with serious health conditions or to recover from serious health conditions.


1993 - National Voter Registration Act (P.L. 103-31) required states to liberalize their voter registration rules to allow people to register to vote by mail, when they apply for driver's licenses or at offices that provide public assistance and programs, for individuals with disabilities such as vocational rehabilitation programs.


1993 - National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-82) established a national service program, including tuition assistance and a living allowance for individuals age 17 and older who volunteer part-time or full-time in community service programs.


1994 - Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments (P.L. 103-218)reauthorized the 1988 "Tech Act," which was established to develop consumer-driven, statewide service delivery systems that increase access to assistive technology devices and services to individuals of all ages with disabilities. The 1994 amendments emphasize advocacy, systems changes activities and consumer involvement.


1994 - The Goals 2000: Educate America Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-227) provided a framework for meeting national educational goals and carrying out systemic school reform for all children, including children with disabilities.


1994 - Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Amendments of 1993 (P.L. 103-230) totally rewrote and updated provisions pertaining to State Planning Councils and extended and strengthened provisions pertaining to protection and advocacy systems, university affiliated programs and programs of national significance.


1994 - The School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-239) authorized funds for programs to assist students, including students with disabilities, in the transition from school to work.


1994 - Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (IASA) (P.L. 103-382) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The ESEA provided the framework of federal grants to states for elementary and secondary education programs. Among other provisions, the legislation amends the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to establish a new state program supporting statewide systems of support for families of children with disabilities.


1995 - Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) Amendments of 1995 (P.L. 104-235) included new family resource and support program that supports state efforts to develop, operate, expand and enhance a network of community-based, prevention-focused, family resource and support programs which would be equipped to address, among other things, the additional family support needs of families with children with disabilities.


1996 - Telecommunications Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-104) required telecommunications manufacturers and service providers to ensure that equipment is designed, developed, and fabricated to be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if this is readily achievable.


1996 - The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act Amendments of 1996 (P.L. 104-183) extended authority to fund Developmental Disabilities Councils, Protection and Advocacy Systems, University Affiliated Programs, and Projects of National Significance.


1996 - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-191) improved access to health care for 25 million Americans by guaranteeing that private health insurance is available, portable, and renewable; limiting pre-existing condition exclusions; and, increasing the purchasing clout of individuals and small employers through incentives to form private, voluntary coalitions to negotiate with providers and health plans.


1996 - Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193) provided a new, more restrictive, definition of disability for children under the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI), mandated changes to the evaluation process for claims and continuing disability reviews and required redeterminations to be performed before a child turns 18.


1996 - Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-204) included a provision that prohibits insurance companies from having lower lifetime caps for treatment of mental illness compared with treatment of other medical conditions.


1997 - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (P.L. 105-17) included the first major changes to part B since enactment in 1975, extended the early intervention program, and included a significant streamlining of the discretionary programs.


1997 - Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-33) established the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to expand health insurance coverage for low-income children not covered by Medicaid.  It:

  •   authorized the Social Security Administration to make redeterminations of childhood SSI recipients who attain age 18 using adult disability criteria one year after they turn 18;
  •   provided that states must continue Medicaid coverage for disabled children who were receiving SSI benefits as of August 22, 1996 and would have been eligible except their eligibility terminated because they did not meet the new SSI childhood disability criteria;
  •   permitted states to allow workers with disabilities whose family income is less than 250% of poverty to buy into Medicaid (and pay premiums based on sliding scale of income);
  •   eliminated the requirement of prior institutionalization with respect to habilitation services provided under the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Waiver;
  •  directed the Secretary in consultation with specified organizations to conduct a study of Medicaid's EPSDT program;
  •  permitted states to mandate adults (including adults with disabilities into Medicaid managed care by an amendment to state Medicaid plan and not having a waiver approved; exempted SSI eligible kids, certain foster care and adopted kids and certain Native Americans; and directed the Secretary to undertake a study of any special challenges of serving children with special health care needs and chronic conditions in Medicaid managed care.


1998 * Workforce Investment Act (WIA) (P.L. 105-220) was passed, consolidating several employment and training programs including the Rehabilitation Act into statewide systems of workforce development partnerships.  Cooperative partnerships are required in order to create the statewide workforce development systems.  Within the Rehabilitation Act, consumer choice is enhanced and the State Rehabilitation Advisory Council is renamed the State Rehabilitation Council and given expanded responsibilities to work with the state agency to jointly develop, agree to, and review state goals and priorities.


1999 -  Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (WIIA) (P.L. 106-170) was passed.  It establishes a Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program to provide SSDI and SSI beneficiaries with a ticket they can use to obtain vocational rehabilitation services, employment services, and other support services from an employment network of their choice.  It includes an array of provisions to eliminate Social Security and Medicaid disincentives to employment, and to promote the development of supports and incentives for persons with disabilities to work.


Note: I have assembled this listing from several different sources and fully expect it includes some inconsistencies or errors.  I welcome any corrections, or suggestions for other laws or provisions which should be noted.


    T. Haworth

January 24, 2000




(* identifies items specific to the legislative history of the Rehabilitation Act.)