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                            January 10, 2001

Today, at the celebration of the completion of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the President will take new actions to continue FDR's legacy of empowering all Americans, and to reaffirm the Clinton-Gore Administration's commitment to the goals of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for all Americans, including people with disabilities. The President will announce guidance by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help individuals with disabilities move from institutions to home- and community-based settings. He also will highlight a report by the President's Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities that documents the Administration's accomplishments and includes the Task Force's recommendations for further steps in promoting the employment of Americans with disabilities. President Clinton will launch the new President's Disability Employment Board charged with promoting public-private partnerships to increase the economic opportunities of people with disabilities. Finally, he will announce a rule that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plans to finalize, extending earned-income disregards as an employment incentive for individuals with disabilities to a broader range of housing assistance programs.

Unveiling the Completion of the FDR Memorial. Today, the President will dedicate the completed FDR Memorial, including an additional outdoor room at the main entrance depicting FDR in the small wheelchair he invented. Announced by Vice President Gore on July 2, 1998, this outdoor sculpture will complete the Memorial to honor the 32nd President of the United States. The Clinton-Gore Administration also helped secure $3 million last year to fund the Memorial completion, whose design shows how FDR became one of our greatest presidents while living with a disability, and left a lasting legacy of empowerment for all Americans.

Promoting Home- and Community-based Care for People with Disabilities. Today, HHS will release guidance for all 50 states to explain new regulations that invest $1 billion over 10 years to enable states to extend Medicaid coverage to more people with disabilities who need services and supports to live in the community. The guidance also includes information on how states can apply for: $50 million in systems change grants to help states improve the health and long-term care systems that make it possible for people with disabilities to live in their communities, and $20 million in grant funds from HHS, in coordination with HUD, to assist individuals transitioning from institutional to community-based care settings and to improve consumer-directed personal assistance services as part of Access Housing 2000. HCFA also is releasing guidance regarding the design and operation of home- and community-based services waivers.

Reporting Progress and Next Steps in Promoting Employment of Adults with Disabilities. As directed by the President in Executive Order 13078, the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities is releasing its third annual report today, documenting the Administration's activities in promoting employment of Americans with disabilities over the past year and offering recommendations for the future. The report commends the Clinton-Gore Administration for acting on last year's recommendations and includes a dedication to the President, Vice-President, and Members of the Cabinet on the Task Force for their leadership and commitment over the years to improving the lives of millions of individuals with disabilities.

Fostering Public-Private Partnerships to Improve Economic Opportunities for Americans with Disabilities. The President will fulfill one of the recommendations included in last year's report by signing an Executive Order to create the President's Disability Employment Partnership Board. This new Board, whose membership will include representatives from across the private sector, will give advice and help facilitate public-private partnerships aimed at increasing employment and other economic opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This Board will serve within the new Office of Disability Employment Policy, which the President proposed in his FY2001 budget and is funded in the final FY2001 Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations bill.

Expanding Employment Incentives for People with Disabilities to a Broader Range of Housing Assistance Programs. Today the President also will announce that HUD will be publishing a final rule to expand incentives for employment for people with disabilities, the rule will extend earned income disregards, currently applicable only to public housing, to tenant-based Section 8 housing vouchers, the HOME program, the Housing for Opportunities for People with AIDS program, and the Supportive Housing for the Homeless program. The rule, announced as a proposal by the Vice President in commemorating the 10th anniversary of the ADA, also clarifies that deductions for disability-related expenses, such as medical or attendant care expenses, are applicable to the entire range of HUD housing programs.

Improving Disability Benefit Claims Processing. As the Clinton-Gore Administration takes steps to promote employment access for people with disabilities, President Clinton also will be announcing improvements to the administration of programs for those who cannot work. The Social Security Administration is preparing to publish a proposed rule that would improve the consistency, accuracy, and efficiency of the process for determining whether a claimant is disabled for Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare and Medicaid. These proposed changes, which come after years of exploration, have been in place in 10 States on a test basis for the past year with positive results. The changes would streamline claims processing, eliminate bureaucratic hurdles for claimants who wish to appeal, and improve communication between claimants and disability adjudicators.

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