National Council on Disability
The National Council on Disability (NCD) is an independent federal agency headquartered in Washington, DC. NCD is composed of five Presidential appointees, four Congressional appointees, an Executive Director appointed by the Chairperson, and a full-time professional staff.
Under the original name of the National Council on the Handicapped, the agency was created as an advisory body to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Rehabilitation by the Comprehensive Services and Disability Amendments Act of 1978 as an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 780 et seq.). The Council was transferred to the Department of Education by the Department of Education Organization Act of 1979, and later became an independent agency in 1984 through the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1984 (PL 98-22).
In 1986, the agency recommended enactment of what became known as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the publication of “Toward Independence: An Assessment of Federal Laws and Programs Affecting Persons with Disabilities” and drafted the first version of the bill which was introduced in the House and Senate in 1988. The name of the agency was changed to the National Council on Disability through the Handicapped Programs Technical Amendment Act of 1988 (PL 100-630) on November 7, 1988.
Since enactment of the ADA, NCD has continued to shape the course of disability policy in the United States from within the federal government by advising the President, Congress and other federal agencies on current and emerging issues affecting the lives of people with disabilities.
A more comprehensive history of the agency can be found in NCD's 1997 publication titled “Equality of Opportunity: The Making of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
The authorizing statute specifying the agency's membership, purpose, and terms of office was amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (P.L. 113-128) in 2014 which reduced its membership from fifteen to nine and altered the composition from exclusively presidential appointees to a combination of presidential and congressional appointees. The Senate Majority Leader and Minority Leader; and the Speaker of the House and the House Minority Leader each appoint one member of the Council, and the other five members are presidential appointments. The President designates the Chairperson from among the members appointed.
The mission of NCD is to be a trusted advisor to the President; Congress; federal entities; state, tribal, and local governments and communities; and private sector entities. NCD fulfills its advisory role by publishing reports and promoting disability policies, programs, procedures, and practices that enhance equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability and empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.
Latest Reports and Publications
- National Disability Policy: A Progress Report (Published: October 2016)
- Medicaid Managed Care Community Forums: Final Report (Published: March 2016)
- Monitoring and Enforcing the Affordable Care Act for People with Disabilities (Published: February 2, 2016)
- Implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA): A Roadmap for People with Disabilities (Published: January 19, 2016)
- The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on People with Disabilities: A 2015 Status Report (Published: January 26, 2016)
Members of the National Council on Disability are individuals with disabilities, parents or guardians of individuals with disabilities, leaders on disability policy, or others who have substantial knowledge or expertise in disability policy, or other areas of interest that affect the quality of life and liberty of disabled Americans. Appointees are representative of the broad range of Americans with disabilities, national organizations staffed by and/or working on behalf of people with disabilities, providers and administrators of services to disabled individuals, those conducting medical or scientific research related to disability, business concerns, and labor organizations. A majority of members of the National Council on Disability are disabled themselves. Appointees to the Council shall be broadly representative of other minority groups, communities or ethnicities.
Current Leadership (as of February 2017)
- Clyde E. Terry, Chairperson (Concord, New Hampshire)
- Billy W. Altom (Little Rock, Arkansas)
- Dr. Rabia Belt (Stanford, California)
- James T. Brett (Boston, Massachusetts)
- Bob Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada)
- Lt. Col. Daniel Gade (New Windsor, New York)
- Wendy Harbour (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- Benro T. Ogunyipe (Chicago, IL)
- Neil Romano (Celebration, FL)