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A Disability System for the 21st Century

September 8, 2006

In its October 2003 report, The Social Security Definition of Disability, the Social Security Advisory Board observed that, “The original Social Security disability programs were designed to serve those who had no realistic expectation of a return to the workforce because of a combination of severity of disability and attainment of near retirement age.” That report raised the question of whether or not the Social Security definition of disability facilitates an appropriate approach to supporting and enabling persons with disabilities.

After 3 years of intensive study of this question, the Board issued a followup report outlining its vision of a disability system for the 21st century that is in alignment with the Americans With Disabilities Act, which proclaimed ” the Nation’s proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for such individuals.”