|How Census 2000 Will Help People with Disabilities|
Approximately 20 percent of Americans have some type of disability and about 10 percent have a severe disability. How do we know? This information, as well as other important information about people with disabilities, is gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau. The law requires the Census Bureau to ask about disability; the resulting statistical information supports programs that help people with disabilities.
Federal and state governments use the data to determine the distribution of funds and to develop programs for people with disabilities. The information helps ensure that transportation services are accessible to all segments of the population and that employment opportunities and job training programs serve people with disabilities. Information on people with disabilities is used by state and county agencies to anticipate the number of eligible recipients under the Medicare and Medicaid. Local governments want the information to plan services and develop needed facilities for people with disabilities in their communities. And the health care industry uses it to design the products that help improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
In March 2000, most households will receive a Census 2000 questionnaire. It will be easy to read and fill out. If for some reason, a form is not received in the mail, they will be available at public locations. And questionnaire assistance centers will be established for people who need help filling out the forms. Assistance also will be available by calling the toll-free telephone number printed on the questionnaire. And people with Internet access can visit the Census Bureau's home page: http://www.census.gov to get more information.
One out of six housing units will receive a long form which contains questions about physical, mental and emotional conditions. Even though the long form does not go to every house, the 1-in-6 sample is big enough to produce reliable information on people with disabilities for neighborhoods and larger areas. The answers on your questionnaire are combined with those from other questionnaires to produce statistical summaries for publication. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share information on individuals with any other government agency, including welfare agencies, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service, courts, police and the military. No one will be able to connect your answers with your name or address.
When you receive your questionnaire, list everyone who lives in your household. This includes anyone receiving short term care at a hospital. People receiving long term care will be enumerated at that care facility by a census taker. By filling out your questionnaire, you help ensure that people with disabilities continue to receive the services they need.