The Decision Which Helped Give People with Disabilities Community Options  

On June 22, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999), a major step in achieving the goal of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities, including the practice of unnecessary segregation.

Olmstead Overview  

Olmstead involved two women with intellectual and other disabilities who lived in a state-run psychiatric institution.

Despite their physician’s recommendation that they return to life in the community, the women remained in the institution—the state of Georgia claimed there was no community-based option to support them.  

After suing for the right to home and community-based programs and services, the Court ruled in favor of the Olmstead plaintiffs, saying that the ADA requires the state to provide community-based services as an appropriate option.

The Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Final Rule  

  • Olmstead IS the law of the land, BUT many individuals with disabilities remain in segregated settings, including...
    - large group homes, some day programs, sheltered employment workshops.
  • HCBS Final Rule Goals:
    - increase community integration by establishing standards for settings that receive Medicaid Waiver funding;
    - require individualized person-centered planning for people opting to use their Medicaid dollars in the community rather than an institution.

For More Information

Jamie Ray-Leonetti