2002 Leadership Challenges on Employment Policy

Audio Conference Series - April 25, 2002

Welfare Reform: TANF Recipients with Disabilities Legal Requirements, Policy Guidelines and Promising Practices

Featured speakers:

Moderator: Michael Collins
Co Director and Principal Researcher
RRTC on Workforce Investment and Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities

Eileen P. Sweeney
Director of State Low Income initiatives
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Robert Silverstein
Director of the Center for the Study and Advancement of Disability Policy

Johnette Hartnett
Associate Professor, Department of Special Education
University of Vermont

Dennis Lieberman
Director, Welfare-to-Work Grant Implementation Team
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

Dick Ensor
Division of One-Stop Operations
Employment and Training and Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

Doris Fretz
Division of One-Stop Operations
Employment and Training and Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

This presentation discusses:

For some low-income individuals, opportunities to obtain and maintain employment are hindered due to having a disability that has not been identified and/or adequately addressed. Research indicates that some of the more common disabilities occurring among low-income families today include mental retardation, mental illness, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and addictive disorders. Previously, states automatically exempted individuals with disabilities (including caretakers of disabled children) from work and other program requirements under their welfare programs. However, the recent movement toward a "work first" philosophy in welfare reform and workforce development programs, combined with an increasing acceptance on the behalf of employers to hire individuals with disabilities, is changing the way some states structure employment-related policies and services for people with disabilities.

On January 19, 2001 the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued policy guidance on the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability as stated in Section 504 and Title II of the ADA in the administration of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (Manual of Policy and Procedures Division 21-101). OCR issued this guidance to respond to questions raised by state agencies, counties, service providers, and persons with disabilities regarding administrative methods of the TANF programs and to alert providers of federal penalties for failure to comply with ADA and Section 504. OCR found in studies on employment of adults with disabilities that as many as 40% of the population may have learning disabilities and up to 28% of welfare beneficiaries may have mental health conditions. In addition, OCR found that a significant number of these beneficiaries also have physical disabilities.

This audio conference will feature an in-depth look at the collaborative strategies of state agencies in Vermont to support and return to work TANF recipients with disabilities. The audio conference will also feature current policy developments and analysis from a federal perspective regarding welfare reform and individuals with disabilities


Conference transcript (.pdf)
Conference transcript (HTML)

Audio Conference Brochure

Testimonial of Paul Marchand, Assistant Executive Director, Policy and Advocacy, Arc, And Co-Chair, TANF Task Force, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, before the Human Resources Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, April 11, 2002
· (This document includes the CCD Principles Guiding the Reauthorization of TANF and the CCD Policy Priorities.)

HHS Guidance Explains How Federal Law Barring Discrimination Against People with Disabilities Apply in State and County TANF Programs, Eileen Sweeney, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, February 2001
http://www.cbpp.org/2-26-01wel.htm (html)
http://www.cbpp.org/2-26-01wel.pdf (pdf)

Improving TANF Outcomes for Families with Barriers to Employment, Heidi Goldberg, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, January 2002
http://www.cbpp.org/1-22-02tanf3.htm (html)
http://www.cbpp.org/1-22-02tanf3.pdf (pdf)

WIA Reauthorization, Doris Fretz
wia_reauthorization.doc (Word)

Laura Farah
Program Associate
Law, Health Policy & Disability Center
University of Iowa
College of Law