THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Friday, December 17, 1999
BOOSTING THE EMPLOYMENT OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES
"Today, we say with a simple, but clear voice, no one should have to choose between taking a job and having health care."
President Bill Clinton
Friday, December 17, 1999
Today, at the FDR Memorial in Washington, President Clinton signed into law the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, landmark legislation that will enable millions of Americans with disabilities to join the workforce without fear of losing their Medicaid and Medicare coverage.The legislation will also modernize the employment services system for people with disabilities, and extend tax provisions for working families, education, the environment, and scientific research. The President praised the strong bipartisan efforts of Senators Jeffords, Kennedy, Roth, and Moynihan, and Congressmen Lazio, Waxman, Bliley and Dingell in passing this historic legislation, and directed his Cabinet to move swiftly to implement the Act.
Removing Barriers to Employment for People with Disabilities. Since President Clinton took office, the American economy has added over 20 million new jobs, and unemployment is at a 29-year low. But the unemployment rate among working-age adults with severe disabilities is nearly 75 percent, partly because outdated institutional barriers often limit their opportunities to work. Under current law, people with disabilities can become ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare if they work, forcing them to choose between health care coverage and employment. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, which the President signed today, will break down these barriers for the millions of Americans who are disabled by:
- creating new options and incentives for states to offer a Medicaid buy-in for workers with disabilities;
- extending Medicare coverage for an additional 4 ½ years for people on disability insurance who return to work;
- creating a $250 million Medicaid buy-in demonstration to help people whose disability is not yet so severe that they cannot work; and
- enhancing employment-related services for people with disabilities through the new "Ticket to Work" Program.
The President directed his Cabinet to work with states, providers, advocates and employers nationwide to swiftly implement this important legislation.
Offering Tax Provisions for Working Families, Education, Environment, and Research. In addition to helping people with disabilities return to work, the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act extend several important tax provisions that promote research and development, improve school facilities in poor communities, encourage employers to pay for their workers' continuing education, help people move from welfare to work, encourage businesses to clean up polluted "brownfields," stimulate clean energy, and ensure that American families continue to benefit from important tax credits.
A Commitment to Increasing Opportunity for People with Disabilities. The Clinton-Gore Administration has a record of opening the doors of the workplace for people with disabilities, including:
- creating a task force to coordinate national policy efforts to increase employment of people with disabilities;
- providing a $1,000 tax credit in last year's budget toward work-related expenses for people with disabilities;
- directing the federal government - the nation's largest employer - to hire more people with disabilities;
- investing in technology to help more people with disabilities work;
- fully funding the Work Incentives Improvement Act; and
- issuing an executive order to expand hiring opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities.
The White House Briefing Room
The White House at Work Archives