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abling conditions. Most recently, a report by the National Academy for State Health Policy identified 129 separate programs administered by 14 different federal agencies, with annual funding of $175 billion. Approximately 95 percent of this money is allocated for income support and medical coverage. The remainder is divided among research and a variety of service-related activities, especially in the areas of education, housing, and transportation.
The federal government's largest program in rehabilitation research is located in the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education. As mandated by the U.S. Congress, NIDRR also has primary responsibility for coordinating rehabilitation research among federal agencies. The NIDRR director is the chair of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR), which is charged with promoting communication and joint research activities among the committee's member agencies.
Other agencies involved in conducting rehabilitation research include the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In 1984, NIH described 688 rehabilitation-related research projects in addition to other basic studies that help to elucidate the biological underpinnings of impairment and disability. In 1990, a new center, the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR), was established at NIH to help coordinate and focus specifically on medical rehabilitation research. VA supports a rehabilitation-related research program that allocates approximately $22 million to fund more than 175 separate projects at 60 VA medical centers.
Major National Surveys
The main source of statistics on people with disabling conditions are the federal surveys based on nationally representative samples of the noninstitutionalized U.S. population.
National Health Interview Survey
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is a household survey sponsored by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and is designed to assess the health status of Americans. In 1994, the survey consisted of interviews with 116,179 people in 45,705 households. It includes questions related to disability such as degree of activity limitation and provides information by demographic variables such as age, race, and gender.