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January 13, 1999

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Increased access to health care; more assistance at home and in the workplace; remarkable new technologies: that is how we will make sure that all Americans, no matter what their abilities, can take their place in the workplace.

President Bill Clinton
January 13, 1999

Today, President Clinton will unveil a historic new initiative that will remove significant barriers to work for people with disabilities. This three-part budget initiative, which invests $2 billion over five years, will help provide better health care options for people with disabilities who work, a $1,000 tax credit for work-related expenses, and invest in technology that can enhance their ability to participate in the workplace

Removing The Barriers That Stop People With Disabilities From Going To Work. Since the President and Vice President took office, the American economy has added 17.7 million new jobs, and unemployment is at a 29-year low; however, the unemployment rate among working-age adults with disabilities is nearly 75 percent. People with disabilities often become ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare if they work, putting them in the difficult position of choosing between health care coverage and work. In addition, advances in technology and communications are often not accessible to people with disabilities

A Historic Plan To Improve Economic Opportunity For Americans With Disabilities. The President's budget proposal will include a three-part initiative to bring greater opportunity to Americans with disabilities:

  • Funding the Work Incentives Improvement Act. Health care, particularly prescription drugs and personal assistance, is essential for people with disabilities who work. The President's budget fully funds the Work Incentive Improvement Act, that would:

Improve access to health care by:

-- Expanding states' ability to provide a Medicaid buy-in to people with disabilities who return to work;!!Extend Medicare coverage, for the first time, for people with disabilities who return to work;!!Create a new Medicaid buy-in demonstration to help people with a specific physical or mental impairment that is not severe enough to qualify for health assistance, but is likely to lead to a severe disability in the absence of medical treatment;

Modernize the employment services system by creating a "ticket" that will enable SSI or SSDI beneficiaries to use a range of public or private providers for vocational rehabilitiation. If the person goes back to work and achieves substantial earnings, providers would be paid a portion of the benefits saved;

Create a Work Incentive Grant program to provide benefits planning and assistance, facilitate access to information about work incentives, and better integrate services to people with disabilities working or returning to work.

  • Providing a $1,000 Tax Credit For Work-Related Expenses For People With Disabilities. Under the President's proposal, workers with significant disabilities would receive an annual $1,000 tax credit to help cover the costs associated with employment, including, special transportation and technology;
  • Improving Access to Assistive Technology. This new initiative will accelerate the development and adoption of information and communications technologies that can improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and enhance their ability to participate in the workplace.

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