NCD Releases Report on Trends of American Workers with Disabilities

In the 2012 report, NCD recommended the phase out of FLSA’s Section 14(c), which in 1938 made legal the payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities, and the phase in of supported employment options for people with disabilities.

The report describes trends of American workers with disabilities being paid below minimum wage, recent policy changes impacting this employment model, and characteristics of for-profit entities use of subminimum wage work in their supply chains.  Findings and recommendations in the report come from a review of six states and interviews with over 160 people in 26 states representing people with disabilities, their families, employers, advocates, supported employment service providers, direct support staff, private industry representatives, employer associations, university centers for excellence, technical assistance centers, sheltered workshop providers and their employees, institutions, federal and state agencies, protection and advocacy organizations, entrepreneurs, foundations, and other national and local subject matter experts.

Highlights of the report’s recommendations to improve opportunities for Community Integrated Employment, self-employment, and entrepreneurship for people with disabilities include:


  • Phasing out of 14(c) on a six-year timeline, concurrent with a “phase-up” of systems changes necessary to bring people with disabilities into CIE.
  • Department of Labor issuing a two-year moratorium on any new 14(c) certificates
  • Increasing oversight of the existing 14(c) system until phase-out is complete.
  • Retaining the current definition of CIE used by the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ regulations and guidance to build on systems-change success.
  • Amending the Javits Wagner O’Day Act, which requires all federal agencies to purchase certain supplies and services from nonprofits that employ people who are blind or have significant disabilities, to better support employment of people with disabilities in CIE.