Civil Rights

Crossroads believes in advocating and upholding the civil rights of all people regardless of disability.



American Disability Act


-law passed in 1990

ADA Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and Local Government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. It also applies to the US Congress.

What are civil rights?

Right to personal liberty established by the 13th and 4th Amendments to the US Constitution and certain Congressional acts, especially as applied to an individual or minority group.

The right to full legal, social, and economic equality extended to all peoples.

Key Federal Laws 2008-present


The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014  (P.L. 113-128) reauthorizes and updates existing federal workforce development programs including the Rehabilitation Act, which provides for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services for people with disabilities as well as promotes greater emphasis on transition services for youth with disabilities. 

The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-157) reauthorizes the Combating Autism Act of 2011 for five years and makes a number of improvements to it.  The legislation continues the increased autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research, surveillance, public awareness, and professional training efforts.  


Combating Autism Re-Authorization Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-32) will continue to support the programs established by the Combating Autism Act of 2006, which include screening and surveillance of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


The Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) will have a profound impact on all federal funding, including disability-related programs for fiscal years 2012 to 2021. This law will create a comprehensive 10-year plan to cut federal spending and reduce the deficit.  Learn more about the Budget Control Act


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, known as "the Health care reform law" (P.L. 111-148, as amended by P.L. 111-152).  The ACA contains numerous provisions that greatly benefit people with disabilities.  

Rosa’s Law of 2010 (P.L. 111-256) changes the terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” to “intellectual disability” and “intellectually disabled” in federal laws regarding education, employment and certain health programs (not including Medicaid however). Learn more about Rosa's Law.

The Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-374) makes many long-overdue reforms and improvements to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 811 program. Most importantly, the law authorizes more integrated models supportive housing units within affordable housing developments. To Learn more:

The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (P.L 111-260) will ensure that Americans with disabilities can more fully participate in society and enjoy all that new technologies have to offer--the new law will make it easier for people who are deaf, blind or have low vision to access the Internet, smart phones, television programming and other communications and video technologies. 


The Teacher Jobs and State Fiscal Relief Act of 2010 provides $16.1 billion in Medicaid funding and $10 billion in education funding that states can receive for 2011. Enactment of the law brings significant relief to advocates from across the country that had been bracing for further budget cuts to HCBS as well as special education teacher layoffs.

The Social Security Applicants Access to Representation Act of 2010 (P.L 111-142) provides for the permanent extension of the attorney fee witholding procedures to qualified non-attorney claimant representatives for the OASDI and SSI programs.


The Mathew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, contained in the National Defense Reauthorization Act for FY 2010 (P.L. 111-84), see section 123 stat 2835. The hate crimes law add disability as a protected class under the Hate Crimes Act.



The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) includes billions of dollars to protect and expand disability services and benefits. Most critical were the funding increases to Medicaid, special education, early intervention and vocational rehabilitation. To learn more:


The Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act of 2009 contained in Title XIV of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-1).  This Act is aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis by providing research and rehabilitation.


The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 (P.L. 110-325). The ADAAA will restore the workplace protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which had been eroded by several court decisions. The law redefines “major life activities” in ways that make it easier for people with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities to qualify for protections against employment discrimination under the ADA.

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (contained in P.L 110-343). The parity law mandates that commercial insurers must set mental health insurance co-payments and treatment limits equal to those for coverage of physical conditions. Learn More:

The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-374). The Act provides for the provision of scientifically sound information and support services to parents receiving a positive test diagnosis for Down syndrome or other prenatally and postnatally diagnosed conditions for their children.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-315) enacts the most significant federal efforts to date to assist students with disabilities to access and succeed in postsecondary education programs. The law also bolsters teacher training in special education.

The National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act of 2008 (included in P.L. 110-289) will develop 1.5 million new units of rental housing affordable to very low-income and extremely low-income households. 

The Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-432) reauthorizes Amtrak and requires Amtrak to report to Congress how they intend meet the 2010 ADA deadline to make all their stations accessible. It also authorizes funding to help Amtrak finance the accessibility improvements.

The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (P.L 110-233) will prevent employers from engaging in discriminative practices including firing, refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment based on genetic information. 

The SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-328). The law extends SSI eligibility for elderly and disabled refugees, those who have sought asylum, and other humanitarian immigrants from seven to nine years. In addition, a provision of the bill will cover those who have already lost their SSI benefits. 

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