Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Year Anniversary logoOn July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which gives civil rights protections to people with disabilities - similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age and religion. The ADA also ensures equal opportunity for people with disabilities for access to businesses, employment, transportation, government programs and services and telecommunications.

As celebrations observing the 25th anniversary of the ADA take place across the country, David Weaver, Associate Commissioner at the Office of Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support at Social Security, reflects on the progress the law has made for people with disabilities.

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Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
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Recognizing the ADA on its 25th Anniversary

Jul 16, 2015

Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Year Anniversary logoBy David Weaver, Associate Commissioner, Office of Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support, Social Security Administration

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which gives civil rights protections to people with disabilities - similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age and religion. The ADA also ensures equal opportunity for people with disabilities for access to businesses, employment, transportation, government programs and services and telecommunications.

As celebrations observing the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA take place across the country, we reflect on the progress the law has made to reduce barriers, change perceptions and promote full participation in community life for people with disabilities. Social Security is proud to provide supports to adults and children with disabilities every day through programs like Ticket to Work to help them lead better lives. These programs have helped disability beneficiaries such as Andraéa LaVant, who has muscular dystrophy, to successfully navigate college and the workforce to eventually mentor and counsel youth. Or beneficiaries such as Larry Clay, a young man with autism, start work at a Department of Defense facility in Alexandria, Virginia.

While these stories demonstrate true progress, this anniversary milestone also reminds us that our work is not done. Despite the law, the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy reports that only 19.8% of people with disabilities in this country are part of the labor force. That's compared to 68.8% of people without disabilities. The full promise of the ADA can only be reached if we continue to remain committed to fully implementing the goals of the law.  

One effort in place to help more people with disabilities enter the workforce is Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires that federal contractors and subcontractors - companies doing business with the federal government - take affirmative action to recruit, hire, employ, promote, train and retain employees with disabilities. The Ticket to Work program's employment service providers are actively becoming familiar with the regulations and working to build relationships with federal contractors who are eager to hire with qualified job-seekers with disabilities. To get more information about Section 503, register for and attend the July Work Incentives Seminar Event, More Jobs for People with Disabilities: What New Regulations Can Mean for You, or visit the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs website. If you're already receiving assistance from a Ticket to Work service provider, ask them how Section 503 can help you.

For more information about how Ticket to Work can help you or someone you know to find employment opportunities and begin their journey to financial independence, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work. You can also email us at support@choosework.net, or call 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY).