Rehabilitation Act Amendments
Findings; and Purposes; Entire Act

This article is reprinted from the A.T. Quarterly, Volume 4, Number 1 (1993)

SEC. 2. (a) FINDINGS. Congress finds that-
"(1) millions of Americans have one or more physical or mental disabilities and the number of Americans with such disabilities is increasing;
"(2) individuals with disabilities constitute one of the most disadvantaged groups in society;

"(3) disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to-
"(A) live independently;
"(B) enjoy self-determination;
"(C) make choices;
"(D) contribute to society;
"(E) pursue meaningful careers; and
"(F) enjoy full inclusion and integration in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of American society;

"(4) increased employment of individuals with disabilities can be achieved through the provision of individualized training, independent living services, educational and support services, and meaningful opportunities for employment in integrated work settings through the provision of reasonable accommodations;
"(5) individuals with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination in such critical areas as employment, housing, public accommodations, education, transportation, communication, recreation, institutionalization, health services, voting, and public services; and

"(6) the goals of the Nation properly include the goal of providing individuals with disabilities with the tools necessary to-
"(A) make informed choices and decisions and
"(B) achieve equality of opportunity, full inclusion and integration in society, employment, independent living, and economic and social self-sufficiency, for such individuals.

"(b) PURPOSE. The purposes of this Act are -

"(1) to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society, through-
"(A) comprehensive and coordinated state-of-the-art programs of vocational rehabilitation;
"(B) independent living centers and services;
"(C) research;
"(D) training;
"(E) demonstration projects; and
"(F) the guarantee of equal opportunity; and
"(2) to ensure that the Federal Government plays a leadership role in promoting the employment of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with severe disabilities, and in assisting States and providers of services in fulfilling the aspirations of such individuals with disabilities for meaningful and gainful employment and independent living.

Findings & Purposes, Title I

SEC. 121. ...
"(a)(1) Congress finds that-

"(A) work-
     "(i) is a valued activity, both for individuals and 
     society; and
     "(ii) fulfills the need of an individual to be productive,
     promotes independence, enhances self-esteem, and
     allows for participation in the mainstream of life in
"(B) as a group, individuals with disabilities experience
      staggering levels of unemployment and poverty;
"(C) individuals with disabilities, including individuals with
     the most severe disabilities, have demonstrated their
     ability to achieve gainful employment in integrated 
     settings if appropriate services and supports  are 
"(D) reasons for the significant number of individuals with
      disabilities not working or working at a level not
     commensurate with their abilities and capabilities,
     "(i) discrimination;
     "(ii) lack of accessible and available transportation;
     "(iii) fear of losing health coverage under the 
     Medicare and Medicaid programs under titles XVIII
     and XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et
      seq. and 1396 et seq.) or fear of losing existing private
     health insurance; and 
     "(iv) lack of education, training, and supports to meet
     job qualification standards necessary to enter or retain
     or advance in employment;
"(E) enforcement of Title V and of the Americans with 
     Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.)
     holds the promise of ending discrimination for 
     individuals with disabilities; and
"(F) the provision of vocational rehabilitation services can
     enable individuals with disabilities, including 
     individuals with the most severe disabilities, to pursue
     meaningful careers by securing gainful employment
     commensurate with their abilities and capabilities.

"(2) The purpose of this Title is to assist States in operating a comprehensive, coordinated, effective, efficient, and accountable program of vocational rehabilitation that is designed to assess, plan, develop, and provide vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities, consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities, so that such individuals may prepare for and engage in gainful employment.

"(3) It is the policy of the United States that such a program shall be carried out in a manner consistent with the following principles:

"(A) Individuals with disabilities, including individuals with
     the most severe disabilities, are generally presumed to
     be capable of engaging in gainful employment and
     the provision of individualized vocational 
     rehabilitation services can improve their ability to
     become gainfully employed.
"(B) Individuals with disabilities must be provided the
     opportunities to obtain gainful employment in 
     integrated settings.
"(C) Individuals with disabilities must be active 
     participants in their own rehabilitation programs,
     including making meaningful and informed choices
     about the selection of their vocational goals and 
     objectives and the vocational rehabilitation services
     they receive.
"(D) Families and natural supports can play an 
     important role in the success of a vocational 
     rehabilitation program, if the individual with a 
     disability requests, desires, or needs such supports.
"(E) Qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors, other
     qualified rehabilitation personnel, and other qualified
     personnel facilitate the accomplishment of the 
     employment goals and objectives of an individual.
"(F) Individuals with disabilities and their advocates are 
     full partners in the vocational rehabilitation program 
     and must be involved on a regular basis and in a 
     meaningful manner with respect to policy development
     and implementation.
"(G) Accountability measures must facilitate and not
     impede the accomplishment of the goals and objectives
     of the program, including providing vocational 
     rehabilitation services to, among others, individuals
     with the most severe disabilities." 
[Emphases added]

Policy of the United States

It is the policy of the United States that all programs, projects, and activities receiving assistance under this Act shall be carried out in a manner consistent with the principles of --

"(1) respect for individual dignity, personal responsibility, self-determination, and pursuit of meaningful careers, based on informed choice, of individuals with disabilities;
"(2) respect for the privacy, rights, and equal access (including the use of accessible formats), of the individuals;
"(3) inclusion, integration, and full participation of the individuals;
"(4) support for the involvement of a parent, a family member, a guardian, an advocate, or an authorized representative if an individual with a disability requests, desires, or needs such support; and
"(5) support for individual and systemic advocacy and community involvement.

The A.T. Quarterly was a newsletter developed by the RESNA TA Project under a contract with the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education (ED). The content, however, does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of NIDRR/ED and no official endorsement of the material should be inferred.

RESNA TA Project
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Arlington, VA 22209-1903
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