In 2003, GAO designated modernizing federal disability programs as a high-risk area requiring urgent attention and organizational transformation to ensure that programs function as efficiently and effectively as possible. GAO found that although social attitudes have changed and medical advancements afford greater opportunities for people with disabilities to work, the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs have maintained an outmoded approach that equated disability with inability to work. We have prepared this report under the Comptroller General's authority as part of a continued effort to help policymakers better understand the extent of support provided by federal programs to people with disabilities and to assist them in determining how these programs could be better aligned to more effectively meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in the 21st century. This report identifies (1) the wide array of federal programs that serve people with disabilities, and (2) the major challenges these federal programs face in the 21st century. In addition, GAO presents factors policy makers and program administrators should address in assessing whether, and how, they could be transformed to better meet 21st century challenges.
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