THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON APPLAUDS NEW LAW TO HELP INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES
RETURN TO WORK
Today, in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will praise Congress for responding to his challenge to pass the Work Incentives Improvement Act. This landmark legislation will make it possible for millions of Americans with disabilities to join the workforce without fear of losing their Medicare or Medicaid coverage. It also enhances the employment services system for people with disabilities. The President today will challenge states to take advantage of the new health insurance options provided by the legislation. He will also point out that this legislation, which has been included in the final budget agreement, captures the essence of what the Administration's efforts on the budget were all about: expanding opportunity, rewarding responsibility, and strengthening community.
MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES FACE BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT. At a time when the economy is performing at record levels, the unemployment rate among working-age adults with severe disabilities remains at nearly 75 percent. While people with disabilities can bring tremendous energy and talent to the American workforce, outdated institutional barriers can limit their opportunities to work. Under current law, people with disabilities often become ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare if they work, putting them in the untenable position of choosing between health care coverage and work.
THE PASSAGE OF THE WORK INCENTIVES IMPROVEMENT ACT ELIMINATES BARRIERS TO WORK FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES. Now, thanks to the Administration's efforts and the efforts of Senators Jeffords, Kennedy, Roth, and Moynihan, as well as Congressmen Lazio, Waxman, Bliley, and Dingell, the Work Incentives Improvement Act will help remove this barrier. This legislation, which costs about $500 million over 5 years, improves access to health care by providing greater state incentives and options for Medicaid coverage for workers with disabilities. Some states have already taken advantage of the option established by the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) to provide Medicaid coverage to certain low-income individuals with disabilities who are returning to work.
PRESIDENT CLINTON ENCOURAGES CURRENT EFFORTS TO HELP AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES RETURN TO WORK AND CHALLENGES STATES TO DO MORE. Today, President Clinton will:
THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION'S LONG-STANDING COMMITMENT TO INCREASE OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. The passage of the Work Incentives Improvement Act is a major achievement for President Clinton, who championed the proposal in his FY 2000 budget. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have a longstanding commitment to increasing the employment of people with disabilities. The Administration has taken a number of actions to bring more disabled Americans into the workforce, including: issuing an executive order in June expanding hiring opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities; putting in place new regulations in February to make work pay for people with disabilities receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), by allowing them to earn more and still receive critical cash and medical benefits; creating a task force last year to coordinate national policy on employment of people with disabilities in all sectors of the economy; and including in his budget a $1,000 tax credit for work-related expenses for people with disabilities and an investment in technology to help more people with disabilities work.