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Prior to 1970, Congress passed other legislation that reflected a growing recognition of disability issues, and efforts were begun to address and respond to some of these issues:

1950 A public assistance program for people who are "totally and permanently disabled" was added to the Social Security Act. Each state determined eligibility standards and assistance levels according to standards set out in the Act. The program was state administered with financial assistance from the federal government.
1954 The National Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1920, which established a system of state vocational rehabilitation agencies, underwent major revisions and became the Vocational Rehabilitation Act.
1958 Financial support was provided to colleges and universities under P. L. 85-926 for training personnel in leadership positions about teaching children with mental retardation. In 1963, this legislation was expanded to include grants for training higher education teachers and researchers in a broader array of disabilities.
1963 Title V of the Social Security Act was amended to establish a grant program to improve prenatal care for women from low income families because this group carries an extremely high risk of children with mental retardation and other birth defects.
The Mental Retardation Facilities Construction Act
authorized federal support for the construction of mental retardation research centers, university affiliated training facilities, and community facilities for children and adults with mental retardation.
1965 The Social Security Act of 1965 established the Medicare program under Title XVIII. Statutory authority for the Medicaid program is contained in Title XIX. The initial goal of the Medicaid program was to improve access to and the quality of medical care for all low income people; there were no provisions that related solely to individuals with disabilities. States were required to provide certain services to individuals who were categorically needy, and could offer optional services and choose to cover individuals who were medically needy.
1965 The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 authorized a multi-billion dollar financial aid program to help states and local school districts educate children who were considered "educationally deprived." Local districts were required to provide supplementary services to meet the needs of these children. The legislative history of the Act refers to children with disabilities as "educationally disadvantaged children."
1967 The Mental Retardation Amendments of 1967 expanded the 1963 Act by authorizing funds to help with the costs of starting services in community mental retardation facilities. The Bureau of Education for the Handicapped was established within the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Parents continued to advocate for legislative changes, particularly during the 1970s. Following are some legislative milestones in the history of the disabilities movement: