THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Monday, July 26, 1999
CALLING ON CONGRESS TO PASS THE WORK INCENTIVES IMPROVEMENT ACT
"I am proud of the actions that this Administration has taken to fully integrate Americans with disabilities into the workplace. It is now time for Congress to act."
President Bill Clinton
June 26, 1999
Today at the White House, on the ninth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Clinton called on Congress to enact the Work Incentives Improvement Act. This historic bipartisan legislation would improve job opportunities for people with disabilities by increasing access to health care and employment services.
Removing Barriers to Employment. Since the beginning of the Clinton-Gore Administration, the American economy has added more than 18 million new jobs, and unemployment is at a 29-year low of 4.3 percent. Yet, the unemployment rate for adults with disabilities is nearly 75 percent. One of the biggest barriers to entering the workplace for people with disabilities is that, under current law, they often become ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare if they work, forcing them to choose between health care coverage and employment. The Work Incentives Improvement Act would remove this barrier by:
- improving access to health care through Medicaid;
- creating a "ticket to work" that enables an SSI or SSDI beneficiary to go to either a public or a private vocational rehabilitation provider;
- extending Medicare coverage for people with disabilities who return to work; and
- creating a new Medicaid buy-in demonstration to help people without medical assistance who have a specific physical or mental impairment that is expected to lead to a severe disability.
Urging Congress to Pass the Work Incentives Improvement Act. The Work Incentives Improvement Act has received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House under the leadership of Senators Jeffords, Kennedy, Roth, and Moynihan, and Representatives Waxman, Bliley, Dingell, and Lazio. Today, in recognition of the ninth anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Clinton urged Congress to move quickly to pass this important and long overdue legislation.
Committed to Expanding Opportunities for Americans with Disabilities. The Clinton-Gore Administration's record of increasing opportunities for people with disabilities includes:
- increasing the amount of income Americans with disabilities can earn without sacrificing critical cash and medical benefits;
- establishing the Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities and acting on all of its formal recommendations;
- expanding hiring opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities;
- improving worker training and placement options through the Workforce Investment Act of 1998;
- enacting and enforcing a stronger Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
- vigorously enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act;
- increasing access to home- and community-based long-term care services and support;
- protecting the Medicaid guarantee; and
- improving accessibility to public transportation, parks and wilderness areas, and technology.
The White House Briefing Room
The White House at Work Archives