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Historical Legislation that Passed as a Result of Advocacy

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Important Legislation to Remember

 

Advocacy has resulted in the passage of landmark legislation affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families over the years. Basic human and civil rights, abuse protection, physical and social barriers have been addressed through life-altering legislation that has greatly improved lives of over 5 million people. Some of that legislation is described below.

 

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law on December 19, 2014 by President Obama. This legislation provides supplemental benefits to those provided by private insurance, Medicaid, the SSI program, employment and other sources. This bill amends Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 and creates tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities to cover qualified disability-related expenses. Some examples of those expenses are housing, transportation and education. Florida became the largest state to enact the ABLE Act when Governor Scott signed Senate Bill 642 into law in 2015.

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990 and is the most inclusive piece of legislation protecting individuals with disabilities. It is broken down into the following five sections:

  1. Employment
  2. Public Services
  3. Public Accommodations
  4. Telecommunications
  5. Miscellaneous provisions

 

The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights act of 2000 (DD Act), originally established in 1963 and reauthorized in 2000, created four programs that make up a network of program and training centers, advocacy, DD councils and research centers. Those programs are:

  1. State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (DD Councils)
  2. Protections and Advocacy (P&A) Systems
  3. University Centers for Excellence in Development Disabilities (UCEDDs)
  4. Projects of National Significance (PNS)

 

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act) contains provisions under seven titles affecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. They are as follows:

  1. Vocational Rehabilitation Services
  2. Research and Training and the creation of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research
  3. Professional Development and Special Projects and Demonstrations
  4. National Council on Disability
  5. Rights and Advocacy and the creation of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board)
  6. Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities
  7. Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living

 

Social Security Act was enacted in 1935 and has been amended a number of times since its inception to include programs for people with disabilities. These programs are:

  1. Disability Insurance Trust Fund
  2. Medicare
  3. Medicaid
  4. Early an Periodic Screening
  5. Diagnosis and Treatment Services for All Medicaid-Eligible Children
  6. Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
  7. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

 

 

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