THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
July 29, 1998
MEMORANDUM FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES THE CHAIR OF THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION SUBJECT: Outreach Actions to Increase Employment of Adults with Disabilities
As we commemorate the eighth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), we have much to celebrate. This landmark civil rights law is making it possible for millions of Americans to participate more fully in society -- through employment, access to public facilities, and participation in community and leisure activities -- and to do their part to make us a stronger and better country. At the same time, we are reminded that significant challenges remain. Far too many of the 30 million working-age adults with disabilities are still unemployed, especially those with significant disabilities.
To address employment barriers for people with disabilities, I issued Executive Order 13078 on March 13, 1998, establishing the National Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities. The Task Force will issue in November the first in a series of reports on what the Federal Government can do to help bring the employment rate of adults with disabilities into line with that of the general population. The Task Force already has identified important ways to reduce barriers to work for people with disabilities, and I hereby direct you to act on these findings.
First, although awareness of the ADA is increasing among persons with disabilities, employers, and the general public, too many people still are not aware of their rights and responsibilities under the ADA. There is a particular need to educate the small business community, which employs most of the private work force and includes the vast majority of employers.
I therefore direct the Attorney General, the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to expand public education regarding the requirements of the ADA to employers, employees, and others whose rights may be affected, with special attention to small businesses and underserved communities, such as racial and language minorities that may not have ready access to information that is already available.
Second, lack of adequate private health insurance options is a disincentive to leave Social Security programs for work. Few private health plans cover the personal assistance and other types of services that make work possible for many people with disabilities. Recognizing this problem, I proposed and the Congress passed a new Medicaid option last year that allows people with disabilities to buy into Medicaid without having to receive cash assistance. A number of States have expressed an interest in offering this new option and the Secretary of Health and Human Services has been working with them to do so. Much more, however, needs to be done to increase the public outreach and education activities about these important laws and options.
I therefore direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to continue to take all necessary actions to inform Governors, State legislators, State Medicaid directors, consumer organizations, employers, providers, and other interested parties about section 4733 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Section 4733 allows States to provide Medicaid coverage for working individuals with disabilities who, because of their earnings, would not qualify for Medicaid under current law. Additional guidance, letters, technical assistance, and other efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services about the enormous benefits of this option can go a long way in encouraging States to adopt and use this Medicaid buy-in.
This memorandum is for the internal management of the executive branch and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable by a party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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