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Americans With Disabilities Act Reaches 20th Anniversary
Date:7/24/2010

By Suzanne Robitaille
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- As the nation prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Monday, a new survey finds that the law has not made meaningful progress in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Many social and economic gaps still exist between the 54 million Americans with disabilities and those without, according to a survey conducted by the Kessler Foundation/National Organization on Disability. The report found that the disabled still lag in key areas such as employment, access to health care and socializing.

The survey shows that more must be done to help people with disabilities get ahead, said Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability. "While education has improved considerably, joblessness has not. We as a nation must figure this out," she said.

Some key findings from the survey:

  • 19 percent of people with disabilities said they did not get the medical care they needed in the past year, with lack of insurance coverage cited as the top reason.
  • 21 percent of disabled working-age Americans had a job in the past year, versus 59 percent for those without disabilities.
  • 17 percent of people with disabilities have not graduated from high school, compared to 22 percent in 2000 and 40 percent in 1986 -- the first year the survey was taken.
  • 48 percent of people with disabilities eat out at a restaurant twice a month, compared to 75 percent of those without disabilities.
  • 34 percent of disabled people say inadequate transportation is a problem, compared to 16 percent of those without disabilities, a gap that has widened 5 percentage points since 1986.

Meanwhile, a different survey looking at the impact of the law on the disabled community came to a more positive conclusion. This online survey, released Friday and create
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