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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Policy on Available and Accessible Technology: Overview

NCIL strongly advocates for access to mainstream and assistive technologies (AT) that enable and enhance independence for people with disabilities through supporting the principles of universal design, inclusion, consumer control, and peer support as they apply to the use, development, and delivery of mainstream and assistive technologies.

A NCIL Member carries a sign that reads "Resist Injustice"People with disabilities are best served by available and affordable “hands-on” exposure to technology. NCIL encourages the use of universal design to make technology inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities and supports legislation and efforts that develop and enforce access standards in existing and emerging technologies.

Assistive Technology Act

NCIL supports funding of the Assistive Technology Act by Congress because it assists consumers in learning about, experimenting with, and acquiring assistive technology in pursuit of their independence.

Fourteen years after the 2004 amendments, many of the state AT Programs, not including the territories, have yet to receive the $410,000 minimum grant award authorized in the Assistive Technology Act. Many states do not have an Alternative Financing Program (AFP); and for many that do, their programs are small. By supporting AFPs and increasing their funding, Congress will make it possible for states to build and expand their programming. This will make it possible for people with disabilities to participate in financial education, develop money management skills and purchase assistive technology that supports greater productivity, financial stability and independence.

NCIL was encouraged by Congress’s support of the Assistive Technology Act in 2017 by infusing an additional two million dollars into the Act to support Alternative Finance Programs and strengthen consumer control measures for new entities competing for those funds.

Updated: March 5, 2018.