The Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Assessing the Progress Toward Achieving the Goals of the ADA

Source: National Council on Disability, July 26, 2007

Many people with disabilities, employers, and businesses, however, still do not understand major provisions of the ADA , particularly the employment provisions. The ADA is a civil rights law—requiring equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities, with broad coverage and setting clear, consistent, and enforceable standards prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. Title I of the ADA prohibits discrimination in employment. It does not provide for accessible housing, transportation to the work site, rehabilitation services, job training, job placement, or any form of affirmative action for people with disabilities. It does not address work disincentives, such as Social Security rules that make people with disabilities who work ineligible for Medicaid, the only form of insurance that provides the kind of services most people with disabilities need to function independently, nor does it require employers to provide the kind of insurance coverage people with disabilities need. While the ADA requires existing transportation services to become accessible, it does not provide transportation for people with disabilities to get to work if they work or live where there is no public transportation. To determine the impact of Title I, one must look at the degree to which employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities has decreased. One cannot measure the success of Title I solely by the employment rate of people with disabilities unless all other barriers to work are eliminated.

Many Americans with disabilities remain frustrated that disability discrimination has not been eliminated, despite ADA implementation. People with disabilities reported the ADA has not been fully enforced; the barriers they face remain primarily attitudinal. Additionally, there is a growing backlash against disability rights and the ADA . The lack of national consistency of access makes it difficult for people with disabilities to carry out daily activities, and access to public transportation, particularly in rural areas, remains a serious problem. Although, once on the job, accommodations are easier to obtain, people with visible disabilities do not appear to be significantly more likely to be hired than before the ADA , and some argue that they are having more difficulty getting hired than before.
See also: Implementation of the ADA: Challenges, Best Practices, and New Opportunities for Success

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