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Social Security as Part of an Integrated National Disability Policy

By: Virginia Reno
Published: September 2004
April 14, 2004

In 1994, Congress created the Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB), an independent, seven-member bipartisan board to advise the President, Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security on policy matters related to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.

On April 14, 2004, the SSAB convened a forum of experts in the disability field to discuss the definition of disability within the context of Social Security. The forum addressed many of the issues put forth in SSAB's October 2003 report, “The Social Security Definition of Disability: Is It Consistent with a National Goal of Supporting Maximum Self-Sufficiency?” including whether the current Social Security disability program allows for a modern vision of disability policy, as well as possibilities for reform within the national disability support system.

Virginia Reno was asked to present the view that the current Social Security disability program framework can be maintained (with modest changes) and be consistent with an integrated national disability policy. This testimony is based on large part on the findings of the Academy's Disability Policy Panel.