Disability grants to be spent on job services, Internet access

The department's January proposal called the Internet "a fundamental tool for employment, education, civic participation, entertainment, and purchase of goods and services." It noted, however, that "participation in such activities on the Web for people with disabilities lags behind that for the general population."

Often software is not developed for people with disabilities and can be inaccessible to them, the department said.

In addition to the new priorities, the Education Department is also proposing to give preference to projects aimed at assisting people with disabilities in rural areas.

The grant program, called the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects, awarded more than $24.5 million in funding during fiscal 2011.

Grants have previously funded employment placement models and systems for traumatic brain injury and burn injury, among other projects.