Standout Legislation

The civil rights movement for people with disabilities has made substantial progress through the enactment and implementation of several pieces of landmark legislation.  UCP continues to advocate for a life without limits for people with disabilities through its policy efforts.

Below is an index of some key pieces of legislation that has created meaningful change for people with disabilities and opened doors to employment, education, housing and other access to community life.

Every Student Succeeds Act


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was enacted in December 2015, was crafted in response to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act to redefine educational standards and give states more autonomy in directing schools and teachers.

NCLB had created a one-size-fits-all education plan that was a step in the right direction, but it was not necessarily addressing the underlying issues. The ultimate goal of the ESSA is to provide school districts the support they need to allow their students to compete in a global market.

One of the biggest changes from NCLB to ESSA was in the allocation of power. Under ESSA, state governments are in control of implementing accountability systems and evaluating their school districts without assistance from the federal government unless their methods prove to be failing. While states must meet federal parameters, they are to develop their own accountability tests designed to meet the needs of their state. This includes following graduation rates, creating standardized tests, and separating data into subgroups by characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, disability, and income to evaluate for any unmet education gaps.

Not only will the accountability tests provide critical information to that state on how the school is doing, it will also help tailor individual plans for children who are struggling academically. It will show parents and teachers if an individual is struggling with math, reading, or science and allow them to develop an education plan, accordingly.

This bill allocates a large portion of its budget towards improving schools that are consistently falling below the standard by giving grant money to develop innovative interventions that will improve the school’s curriculum.  Such interventions could include teacher training programs, incorporating new technologies, or making internet more accessible. Click here to learn more information.


Key Terms:

Accountability systems – ways for school districts to measure the success of programs and determine which areas need improvement. This can be measured though standardized tests, graduation rates, data analysis, or evaluation systems.


Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehab Technology Act


Complex rehab technology (CRT) consists of medically necessary technology that can include products such as manual or powered wheelchairs, alternative positioning systems, or other adaptive equipment essential to performing tasks of daily living.

CRT is currently covered under Medicare’s Durable Medical Equipment (DME) benefit category, but the coverage is not nearly enough. To create appropriate coverage, the Complex Rehab Technology (S.1013) (H.R. 1516) Act has proposed that CRT become its own Medicare benefit category to ensure adequate coverage, manufacturing standards, and insurance coding.

If this act is passed, CRT products would be more readily available to individuals who need it. It would require Medicare to cover all individually designed CRT items related to meeting an individual’s physical and functional needs as related to their medical condition.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services would require new medical eligibility criteria for CRT items and pay for replacement parts, if deemed necessary by a medical practitioner. This would ensure that CRT is being prescribed properly.

Overall, the passing of this legislation would increase the accessibility to assistive technologies and would allow individuals with a disability to lead a more full and independent life.



This bill was introduced in April 2015 by Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representative James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI5) and is currently still under review by the Senate Finance Committee and both the House Committee of Energy and Commerce and the House Committee of Ways and Means.


Supporting Organizations:
American Association for Homecare
American Association for Justice
Baxter Healthcare
Ernst & Young
Holland & Knight
Internet Association
Intuit Inc.
Invacare Corp
King & Spalding
Kozak & Salina
Monsanto Co
Muscular Dystrophy Association
National Association for Home Care
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Oak Health Strategies
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Parry, Romani et al
S-3 Group
United Spinal Association
US Chamber of Commerce


House of Representatives
Aguilar, Pete [D-CA31]
Barletta, Lou [R-PA11]
Barr, Garland “Andy” [R-KY6]
Barton, Joe [R-TX6]
Beatty, Joyce [D-OH3]
Black, Diane [R-TN6]
Blackburn, Marsha [R-TN7]
Bonamici, Suzanne [D-OR1]
Bost, Mike [R-IL12]
Boyle, Brendan [D-PA13]
Brady, Robert [D-PA1]
Brown, Corrine [D-FL5]
Brownley, Julia [D-CA26]
Buchanan, Vern [R-FL16]
Burgess, Michael [R-TX26]
Bustos, Cheri [D-IL17]
Cartwright, Matthew [D-PA17]
Cicilline, David [D-RI1]
Clark, Katherine [D-MA5]
Clarke, Yvette [D-NY9]
Cole, Tom [R-OK4]
Connolly, Gerald [D-VA11]
Conyers, John [D-MI13]
Cooper, Jim [D-TN5]
Costello, Ryan [R-PA6]
Courtney, Joe [D-CT2]
Cramer, Kevin [R-ND0]
Crowley, Joseph [D-NY14]
Cummings, Elijah [D-MD7]
Curbelo, Carlos [R-FL26]
Davis, Rodney [R-IL13]
DeFazio, Peter [D-OR4]
DeGette, Diana [D-CO1]
DeLauro, Rosa [D-CT3]
DelBene, Suzan [D-WA1]
DesJarlais, Scott [R-TN4]
Deutch, Theodore [D-FL21]
Dingell, Debbie [D-MI12]
Doggett, Lloyd [D-TX35]
Dold, Bob [R-IL10]
Doyle, Michael “Mike” [D-PA14]
Duckworth, Tammy [D-IL8]
Duncan, John “Jimmy” [R-TN2]
Ellison, Keith [D-MN5]
Engel, Eliot [D-NY16]
Eshoo, Anna [D-CA18]
Esty, Elizabeth [D-CT5]
Farr, Sam [D-CA20]
Fattah, Chaka [D-PA2]
Frelinghuysen, Rodney [R-NJ11]
Gibbs, Bob [R-OH7]
Gibson, Christopher [R-NY19]
Graham, Gwen [D-FL2]
Graves, Sam [R-MO6]
Grayson, Alan [D-FL9]
Gutiérrez, Luis [D-IL4]
Hanna, Richard [R-NY22]
Harper, Gregg [R-MS3]
Hastings, Alcee [D-FL20]
Herrera Beutler, Jaime [R-WA3]
Higgins, Brian [D-NY26]
Hill, French [R-AR2]
Honda, Michael “Mike” [D-CA17]
Hultgren, Randy [R-IL14]
Israel, Steve [D-NY3]
Jenkins, Lynn [R-KS2]
Johnson, Bill [R-OH6]
Johnson, Henry “Hank” [D-GA4]
Jolly, David [R-FL13]
Joyce, David [R-OH14]
Katko, John [R-NY24]
Keating, William [D-MA9]
Kelly, Mike [R-PA3]
Kennedy, Joseph [D-MA4]
Kildee, Daniel [D-MI5]
Kilmer, Derek [D-WA6]
King, Peter “Pete” [R-NY2]
King, Steve [R-IA4]
Kirkpatrick, Ann [D-AZ1]
Lance, Leonard [R-NJ7]
Langevin, James “Jim” [D-RI2]
Larsen, Rick [D-WA2]
Larson, John [D-CT1]
Lee, Barbara [D-CA13]
Lewis, John [D-GA5]
Loebsack, David [D-IA2]
Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA19]
Long, Billy [R-MO7]
Lujan Grisham, Michelle [D-NM1]
Lynch, Stephen [D-MA8]
MacArthur, Tom [R-NJ3]
Maloney, Carolyn [D-NY12]
Maloney, Sean [D-NY18]
Marino, Tom [R-PA10]
Matsui, Doris [D-CA6]
McCollum, Betty [D-MN4]
McGovern, James “Jim” [D-MA2]
McKinley, David [R-WV1]
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R-WA5]
Meehan, Patrick [R-PA7]
Moore, Gwen [D-WI4]
Mullin, Markwayne [R-OK2]
Napolitano, Grace [D-CA32]
Newhouse, Dan [R-WA4]
Noem, Kristi [R-SD0]
Nolan, Richard [D-MN8]
Norcross, Donald [D-NJ1]
Norton, Eleanor [D-DC0]
Nunes, Devin [R-CA22]
Palazzo, Steven [R-MS4]
Pascrell, Bill [D-NJ9]
Paulsen, Erik [R-MN3]
Perlmutter, Ed [D-CO7]
Peterson, Collin [D-MN7]
Pingree, Chellie [D-ME1]
Pocan, Mark [D-WI2]
Polis, Jared [D-CO2]
Pompeo, Mike [R-KS4]
Posey, Bill [R-FL8]
Price, David [D-NC4]
Price, Tom [R-GA6]
Quigley, Mike [D-IL5]
Rangel, Charles “Charlie” [D-NY13]
Reed, Tom [R-NY23]
Renacci, James [R-OH16]
Rice, Kathleen [D-NY4]
Rigell, Edward “Scott” [R-VA2]
Rothfus, Keith [R-PA12]
Ruppersberger, A. Dutch [D-MD2]
Rush, Bobby [D-IL1]
Ryan, Tim [D-OH13]
Sánchez, Linda [D-CA38]
Schakowsky, Janice “Jan” [D-IL9]
Schiff, Adam [D-CA28]
Sensenbrenner Jr., James [R-WI5]
Serrano, José [D-NY15]
Sessions, Pete [R-TX32]
Shimkus, John [R-IL15]
Slaughter, Louise [D-NY25]
Smith, Jason [R-MO8]
Swalwell, Eric [D-CA15]
Takano, Mark [D-CA41]
Thompson, Glenn [R-PA5]
Thompson, Mike [D-CA5]
Tiberi, Patrick “Pat” [R-OH12]
Titus, Dina [D-NV1]
Tonko, Paul [D-NY20]
Tsongas, Niki [D-MA3]
Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD8]
Walberg, Tim [R-MI7]
Walz, Timothy [D-MN1]
Watson Coleman, Bonnie [D-NJ12]
Williams, Roger [R-TX25]
Wittman, Robert [R-VA1]
Woodall, Rob [R-GA7]
Yoder, Kevin [R-KS3]
Young, David [R-IA3]
Young, Todd [R-IN9]
Bennet, Michael [D-CO]
Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]
Boozman, John [R-AR]
Capito, Shelley [R-WV]
Cochran, Thad [R-MS]
Coons, Chris [D-DE]
Gillibrand, Kirsten [D-NY]
Kirk, Mark [R-IL]
Merkley, Jeff [D-OR]
Moran, Jerry [R-KS]
Murphy, Christopher [D-CT]
Nelson, Bill [D-FL]
Schumer, Charles “Chuck” [D-NY]
Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI]
Wicker, Roger [R-MS]


Key Terms:

Complex Rehab Technology – medically-necessary devices that are individually configured to meet the person’s unique needs. Such technology consists of manual and powered wheelchairs, adaptive seating systems, alternative positioning systems, and other mobility devices.

Durable Medical Equipment – equipment covered under Medicare Part B that consists of long-lasting medical equipment meant to assist an individual with daily life in the home. Such technology may consist of blood glucose monitors, crutches, canes, oxygen equipment, nebulizers, etc.