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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:


The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act reauthorized all formula grants to state Developmental Disabilities Councils to address federal priority areas (employment, community living, child development, system coordination and community education) and an optional state selected priority area; University Affiliated Facilities (later University Affiliated Programs); and authorized the establishment of state protection and advocacy systems to protect the rights of people with developmental disabilities.

The 1993 Amendments recognize that "disability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to enjoy the opportunity to live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to society, and experience full integration and inclusion in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of American society" (Section 101). State Developmental Disabilities Councils are required to conduct "systemic change, capacity building, and advocacy activities" (Section 124).

1981 The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act authorized the home and community-based waiver program. This waiver program "waived" federal requirements so that states could provide personal care and other services to individuals who would require institutional care in a Title XIX facility if these services were not available.
 1982 The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) allowed states to cover home care services under Medicaid for children with disabilities, even when family income and resources exceeded the under Medicaid for children with disabilities, even when family income and resources exceeded the state's financial eligibility standards.
1986 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act required states to show that policies exist regarding the order in which individuals are selected to receive services ("order of selection" process) and to justify those policies; include in the state plan a plan for youth transition to employment; and reflect how the supported employment program would be implemented in the state. The definition of "severe handicap" was amended to include both functional and categorical criteria, and a definition of ''employability'' was added.
1986 The Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act made permanent the work incentives pro- visions, Sections 1619(a) and 1619(b), of the Social Security Act. These provisions authorize special SSI benefits and continued Medicaid coverage for people with disabilities who are working, but whose income exceeds ''substantial gainful activity" levels. Medicaid coverage is extended to people with disabilities who may lose SSI or Section 1619(a) benefits due to excess earnings, but who are unable to afford health care coverage that is equivalent to coverage under Medicaid.

The Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act established grant programs to encourage the development and distribution of assistive technology for people with disabilities. The primary purpose of the Technology Act was to close the gap between the development of innovative technologies and the actual use of those technologies by people with disabilities.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed. This landmark legislation affirms the rights of citizens with disabilities and prohibits discrimination in employment (Title I), public services (Title II), public accommodations and services that are operated by private entities (Title III), and telecommunications (Title IV).


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) authorized funding for competitive grants to states in which the state vocational rehabilitation agency and state educational agency jointly applied to develop, implement, and improve a system of transition services for students aged 14 and older.


Federal "Home of Your Own" initiative begins with a five year grant by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.