National Council on Disability report highlights seven areas for improvement

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Recommendations for Inclusive Society

The National Council on Disability released its annual progress report late last month, identifying a series of recommendations for improving the nation’s efforts to create a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities.

The 128-page report focuses on seven main topics: the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), employment, subminimum wage, education, Medicaid managed care, mental health and data trends in disability policy.

First, the report attempts to “dispel myths” about the CRPD and urges the Senate to vote on it for ratification. The treaty narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds vote threshold in 2012.

Next, the report tackles employment issues, specifically the impact of “transportation, workplace culture and technology” on the stubbornly high unemployment rate for people with disabilities. This past month, just 20 percent of people with disabilities were in the workforce, compared to 68 percent of the rest of the population.

The NCD calls for the end of subminimum wages for people with disabilities, which employers are allowed to pay in certain circumstances under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Legislation to end these practices has been stalled in Congress, although President Obama signed an executive order last February, prohibiting federal contractors from paying subminimum wages.

On the education front, the NCD focuses on the necessity of providing high quality education and high expectations for students in the nation’s classrooms.

In regard to Medicaid managed care, the NCD calls for “enhanced monitoring and increased engagement of beneficiaries” in state plans.

The report proposes new preemptive measures to prevent mental health issues from escalating, specifically in regard to providing community-based mental health services and supporting veterans.

Finally, the report contains an extensive set of charts and tables displaying statical trends regarding people with disabilities.

The NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising Congress and the president on disability issues.

The full report can be read here.