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Depending on the issue, you may file a complaint with a different federal agency listed below. The following agencies are designated for enforcement of Title II for components of State and local governments that exercise responsibilities, regulate, or administer services, programs, or activities in the following functional areas:. Public accommodations are private businesses, both for-profit and not-for-profit. A place of public accommodation is a facility whose operations affect commerce and falls into at least one of these categories:.

Places of public accommodation may not discriminate against people with disabilities and may not deny full and equal enjoyment of the goods and services they offer. There is a specific exemption for religious entities in the ADA. There are a lot of misunderstandings about this exemption. In some cases, a religious entity rents out space and, in that situation, the religious entity is a landlord and the business that rents space is the tenant.

If the religious entity rents space to a business like a day care center or a private school, the religious entity is still exempt, but the tenant business is not, unless it is also a religious entity. So if the tenant business is not a religious entity, then the religious entity landlord is still exempt from Title III of the ADA, even if the tenant business is covered.

So the obligations of a landlord for a place of public accommodation under Title III do not apply if the landlord is a religious entity. If the religious entity donates space for the use of a community organization, such as a scout troop, civic club, or social group, then, in that circumstance, both the religious entity and the nonreligious entity are exempt from the requirements of Title III of the ADA.

The nonreligious tenant is covered by Title III only if there is a lease that requires a payment of rent or some other consideration. No, there is also an exemption for private clubs, but it works a little differently than it does for religious entities. The concept of an exemption for private clubs was first mentioned in the Civil Rights Act of , which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, and national origin by places of public accommodation. When courts have interpreted the private club exemption, the issues considered include whether: members have a high degree of control over club operations; the selection of members is highly selective; there are substantial membership fees; the entity is operated on a nonprofit basis; and the club was not founded specifically to avoid being covered by federal civil rights laws.

Unlike religious entities, however, private clubs lose their exemption to the extent that they are made available for use by nonmembers as places of public accommodation. For example, if a private country club that is considered a private club for ADA purposes decides to rent space to a retail business that is open to nonmembers, then the private club would still be exempt for all of its other operation, but it would have ADA Title III obligations for the retail business.

Parking lots are also covered by the ADA, with specific requirements for the number of spaces that must be accessible relative to the total number of spaces in the parking lot. In addition to the chart above, the Accessibility Standards require that at least one of every six accessible parking spaces be van-accessible. If a parking facility serves multiple buildings or accessible entrances, accessible parking spaces should be dispersed throughout the facility. Accessible parking spaces are least eight-feet wide. Van-accessible spaces are at least eleven-feet wide.

Access aisles must be at least five-feet wide, and can be shared in between two parking spaces. The access aisles are important because they provide room for vehicle-mounted wheelchair lifts, as well as a place to unload and use mobility devices like wheelchairs and walkers. If the access aisle is at least eight-feet wide, then a van-accessible space may be eight-feet wide. Signs have to have the International Symbol of Accessibility, which is a line drawing of a person in a wheelchair.

While the updated Standards retain many of the original provisions in the Standards, they do contain some significant differences. These standards are the key for determining if a business or facility is accessible under the ADA. However, they are used differently depending on whether a facility or business is altering an existing building, building a brand new facility, or removing architectural barriers that have existed for years. If a facility was built or altered during the last 20 years in compliance with the Standards, or barriers were removed to specific elements in compliance with those Standards, then the facility is in compliance, even if the newer Standards have different requirements for them.

This provision is applied on an element-by-element basis and is referred to as the "safe harbor. Department of Justice illustrate how the safe harbor applies:. The Standards lower the mounting height for light switches and thermostats that can be approached from the side from 54 inches to 48 inches. If light switches are already installed at 54 inches in compliance with the Standards, a facility is not required to lower them to 48 inches. The Standards require one van-accessible space for every eight accessible spaces. The Standards require one van-accessible space for every six accessible spaces.

If the facility has complied with the Standards, it is not required to add additional van-accessible spaces to meet the Standards. The Standards contain new requirements for the input, numeric, and function keys for example, "enter," "clear," and "correct" on automatic teller machine ATM keypads. If an existing ATM complies with the Standards, no further modifications are required to the keypad. If a business chooses to alter elements that were in compliance with the Standards, the safe harbor no longer applies to those elements.

For example, if a parking lot is restriped, this would be considered an alteration. Therefore, it would then have to meet the ratio of van-accessible spaces in the Standards. Similarly, if a fixed ATM is relocated, this would be considered an alteration, and it would now have to meet the keypad requirements in the Standards.

The revised ADA rules and the Standards contain new requirements for elements in existing facilities that were not addressed in the original Standards. These include recreation elements such as play areas, exercise machines, miniature golf facilities, and bowling alleys. Because these elements were not included in the Standards, they are not subject to the safe harbor.

This means that, effective March 15, , places of public accommodation must remove architectural barriers to elements subject to the new requirements in the Standards when it is readily achievable to do so. When any business makes an alteration to any facility, it has an obligation to make the alteration accessible to the maximum extent feasible. Alteration is defined as remodeling, renovating, rehabilitating, reconstructing, changing or rearranging structural parts or elements, changing or rearranging plan configuration of walls and full-height partitions, or making other changes that affect, or could affect, the usability of the facility.

Examples from the U. Department of Justice include: restriping a parking lot, moving walls, moving a fixed ATM to another location, installing a new sales counter or display shelves, changing a doorway entrance, and replacing fixtures, flooring or carpeting. Normal maintenance, such as reroofing, painting, or wallpapering, is not considered to be an alteration. Day care centers cannot legally refuse to accept children with disabilities because of their disabilities unless it can show that it would cause an undue burden, considering all the financial resources available to the day care center, including tax incentives, or would fundamentally alter the services offered by the day care center.

That determination has to be made on a case-by-case basis. The ADA places the responsibility for compliance on both the landlord and the tenant. But the landlord and tenant might decide, through the terms of the lease, who will actually make the changes, remove the barriers, provide the aids and services, and pay for them. However, both the tenant and the landlord remain legally obligated. The ADA requires that all businesses remove architectural barriers in existing facilities when it is "readily achievable" to do so.

Readily achievable means "easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense. So, according to the U. Department of Justice, businesses with more resources are expected to do more than businesses with fewer resources. Readily achievable barrier removal may include providing an accessible route from a parking lot to the business' entrance, installing an entrance ramp, widening a doorway, installing accessible door hardware, repositioning shelves, or moving tables, chairs, display racks, vending machines, or other furniture.

When removing barriers, businesses are required to comply with the Standards to the extent possible. For example, where there is not enough space to install a ramp with a slope that complies with the Standards, a business may install a ramp with a slightly steeper slope. However, any deviation from the Standards must not pose a significant safety risk. Understanding how customers move into and through a business will go a long way in identifying existing barriers and setting priorities for their removal.


The ADA regulations recommend the following priorities for barrier removal:. The requirements about access and barrier removal may include a wide variety of activities, such as rearranging furnishings, widening doors, constructing ramps, installing visible alarm devices, and providing signage with Braille and raised characters. Businesses are encouraged to consult with people with disabilities in their communities to identify barriers and establish priorities for removing them.

A thorough evaluation and barrier removal plan, developed in consultation with members of the disability community, can save time and resources. In some instances, especially in older buildings, the removal of some architectural barriers may not be readily achievable. For example, a restaurant with several steps leading to its entrance may determine that it cannot afford to install a ramp or a lift. In this situation, the restaurant must provide its services in another way if that is readily achievable, such as providing takeout service.

Businesses should train staff on these alternatives and publicize them so that customers with disabilities will know of their availability and how to access them. It depends on the barriers that exist at the entrance. One small step at an entrance can make it impossible for individuals using wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or other mobility devices to go inside.

Removing this barrier may be accomplished in a number of ways, such as installing a ramp or a lift or regrading the walkway to provide an accessible route. If the main entrance cannot be made accessible, an alternate accessible entrance can be used. If there is more than one entrance and only one is accessible, a sign should be posted at each inaccessible entrance directing individuals to the accessible entrance. This entrance must be open whenever other public entrances are open. If a business has a public restroom, at least one toilet room must be accessible and must have a sign that says it is an accessible toilet.

There are very specific measurements and provision in the Standards regarding accessible restrooms. The obligation to remove barriers also applies to merchandise shelves, sales and service counters, and check-out aisles. Shelves and counters must be on an accessible route with enough space to allow customers using mobility devices to access merchandise. Shelves may be of any height since they are not subject to the ADA's reach range requirements.

Where barriers prevent access to these areas, they must be removed if readily achievable. However, businesses are not required to take any steps that would result in a significant loss of selling space. At least one check-out aisle must be usable by people with mobility disabilities, though more are required in larger stores. When it is not readily achievable to make a sales or service counter accessible, businesses should provide a folding shelf or a nearby accessible counter.

If these changes are not readily achievable, businesses may provide a clip board or lap board until more permanent changes can be made. People with disabilities need to be able to get to tables, food service lines, and condiment and beverage bars in restaurants, bars, or other places where food or drinks are sold. There has to be an accessible route to all dining areas, including raised or sunken dining areas and outdoor dining areas, as well as to food service lines, service counters, and public restrooms. In a dining area, tables should be far enough apart so a person using a wheelchair can maneuver between the tables when patrons are sitting at them.

Some accessible tables must be provided and must be dispersed throughout the dining area rather than clustered in a single location. If people with disabilities cannot access a raised, sunken, or outdoor dining area, then barriers must be removed if readily achievable. In restaurants or bars with only standing tables, some accessible dining tables must be provided. At least one ATM per location must be accessible. If a bank offers ATMs both inside and outside the bank, each of those is considered to be a different location and must have at least one accessible ATM inside and outside. If a drive-up ATM is a separate location, then it must be accessible and provide voice guidance and Braille instruction.

Sometimes people question why drive-up ATMs have to be accessible to people who have visual impairments. A person with a visual impairment might ask a friend or family member, or even a taxi, to drive him to the bank. The keypads on accessible ATMs may be different. The Standards require a left arrow symbol on the clear function key. Function keys must be designed to contrast visually from their background surfaces. And if non-banking services, such as the ability to purchase postage stamps or theater tickets, are available on the non-accessible ATMs, they must also be available at the accessible ATMs.

The input controls for accessible walk-up ATMs, including all buttons, touchscreens, receipt dispensers, card slots, cash slots, and deposit slots, must be between 15 and 48 inches from the ground to comply with the Standards. Accessible ATMs must have voice guidance and must include Braille instructions that explain how to initiate the voice guidance features. Eligible expenses may include the cost of undertaking barrier removal to improve accessibility, providing sign-language interpreters, or making material available in accessible formats such as Braille, audiotape, or large print.

Section of the IRS Code provides a tax deduction for businesses of all sizes for costs incurred in removing architectural barriers in existing facilities. Individuals can bring private lawsuits against public accommodation to get court orders to stop discrimination. People can also file complaints with the Department of Justice DOJ , which has the authority to file suit in cases of public importance or where there is a pattern or practice of discrimination.

In these cases, the DOJ may seek monetary damages and civil penalties. Communicating effectively and successfully with customers is an important part of doing business. The ADA requires businesses to communicate effectively with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities. Because the nature and complexity of communication differs, depending on the type of business, the rules allow for flexibility. A person who is consulting with a lawyer, completing a loan application at a bank, or going to an emergency center, will need a different level of communication than if the person is picking up dry cleaning, purchasing a meal at a restaurant, or making a cash withdrawal at a bank.

The goal of the effective communication provisions of the ADA is to find practical solutions for communicating effectively that work in specific situations. For example, if a person who is deaf is looking for a particular item at a store, exchanging written notes with a clerk may be effective communication. If a person who is deaf goes to a bank to deposit a check, the nature of the communication is different than when the same person is completing a mortgage application.

If a person who is deaf is going to the doctor to get a flu shot, the complexity of the communication is different than when the same person is going to the doctor to discuss medical test results and treatment options. And the examples above are also applicable in terms of flexibility, depending on the importance and complexity of the communication. If a person who is deaf is going to City Hall to pay a water bill, effective communication may likely be attained with written notes.

But if the same person wants to speak at a town hall meeting about a proposal to raise water rates, the written notes would likely not be effective. Remember that the ADA requires that people with disabilities be provided with effective communication. Effective communication would likely require a sign language or oral interpreter when, because of the nature, length, and complexity of the conversation, other means of communicating would not be effective. Providing an interpreter guarantees that both parties will understand what is being said.

The revised regulations permit the use of new technologies, including video remote interpreting VRI , a service that allows businesses that have video conference equipment to access an interpreter at another location, rather than having an interpreter be physically present.

Of course, if providing a sign language interpreter would be an undue financial or administrative burden, then it may be permissible for the entity to look at other ways of providing effective communication. The ADA does not guarantee a particular right to a sign language interpreter, but rather, to effective communication. Effective communication is not always achieved in the same way, even for the same person, as explained in the first question of this chapter. There may be many different situations in which a sign language interpreter would need to be provided by a place of public accommodation, but the most common situations are those in which the person who is deaf is meeting with a lawyer, a doctor, or another professional, such as a financial planner.

Interactions with people in these professions usually require the person who is seeking information to get detailed, often technical, information that can affect legal rights, financial status, or health. So there may be greater emphasis on the provision of truly effective communication in these situations. In this case, the lawyer must pay for the sign language interpreter unless the lawyer can prove that it would be an undue burden in light of all of the resources available to the lawyer, including tax credits and tax deductions.

In terms of providing a sign language interpreter, the lawyer cannot pass that cost to the individual client. Such individuals must have direct access to systems. What is required for effective communication is always somewhat flexible by its very nature because of the different communication needs of people with disabilities in different situations that require effective communication.

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When ordering at a restaurant, for example, Braille menus are not required, as long as the restaurant provides menus on tape or digital formats, or a person who can read the menu to the customer. In a store, if a person cannot read a label, the clerk can read the label to the customer, rather than providing it in an alternate format.

If it is offered by a state or local government, it is covered by Title II. If it is offered by a private company, it is covered by Title III. Publicly funded transportation includes, but is not limited to, bus and passenger train rail service. Rail service includes subways rapid rail , light rail, commuter rail, and Amtrak. Privately funded transportation includes, but is not limited to, taxicabs, airport shuttles, intercity bus companies, such as Greyhound, and hotel-provided transportation.

The ADA also covers how transportation service is operated. For example, bus stops must be announced. At this point, nearly all buses are required to be accessible. When the ADA was passed in , it required any new bus that was leased or purchased to be accessible to people who use wheelchairs, but it did not require retrofitting of older buses. Since buses are generally replaced after 10 or 12 years, it would be very rare to have an inaccessible bus still in the fleet, since the ADA was passed over 22 years ago. Bus drivers may not discriminate against people because of a disability.

Taxicabs are still covered by the ADA even if the drivers are not technically employees of a cab company. However, taxicabs that are sedans are not required to be wheelchair accessible. The ADA does not require a college campus to offer a shuttle bus system, but if it does, it must be accessible to people with disabilities. ADA paratransit is a transportation service that complements public transit bus and rail systems by providing origin-to-destination service for individuals with disabilities who cannot use the fixed route service.

But ADA paratransit fares are limited to twice the fare that may be charged to a passenger paying full fare on a comparable trip on the bus or train system. In the case of a train system, the transit agency must provide paratransit to and from places within circles with a diameter of 1. A transit agency must provide a paratransit ride if it is requested at any time on the previous day next day service.

Yes, passenger train service must be accessible to people with disabilities and level boarding is required under certain conditions. Train stations must be accessible. Each passenger train must have at least one accessible car and new cars must be accessible. Most passenger trains must provide level-entry boarding at stations in which no track passing through the station and adjacent to platforms is shared with existing freight rail operations. If the track shared with existing freight rail operations precludes compliance, the railroads are able to choose an alternative way to make sure that passengers with disabilities can access each accessible train car that other passengers can board at the station by either providing car-borne lifts, station-based lifts, or mini-high platforms.

Under the ADA, a service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Yes, with one exception. But there is a possible exception for miniature horses. But there are additional assessment factors for miniature horses.

To determine whether to allow a miniature horse into a specific facility, the entity must consider: the type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features; whether the individual has sufficient control of the miniature horse; whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and whether the miniature horse's presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability.

The crime deterrent effect of an animal's presence does not constitute work or tasks for purposes of the ADA definition of service animal. No, the ADA regulations are very specific on that. The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of the definition. So comfort animals, emotional support animals, or therapy animals are not service animals and are not covered by the ADA. Psychiatric service animals are trained to perform tasks that assist individuals with disabilities to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and ameliorate their effects.

Tasks performed by psychiatric service dogs may include reminding the handler to take medicine, providing safety checks or room searches for persons with PTSD, interrupting self-mutilation, and removing disoriented individuals from dangerous situations. The difference between an emotional support animal and a psychiatric service animal is the work or tasks that the animal performs. Generally, a service animal is allowed to go wherever the person with the disability can go, meaning that they can go wherever the public is allowed to go. A place of public accommodation must modify its policies to allow a service animal to accompany an individual with a disability, unless it would result in a fundamental alteration or would jeopardize the safe operation of the public accommodation.

In a restaurant, a service animal must be allowed to accompany the person with a disability in all areas that are open to other patrons. In a hospital, the same is true, except that there may be certain areas of the hospital where having a service animal could jeopardize safety, such as in the sterile environment of an operating room. The person with the service animal is responsible for its care and supervision at all times. The entity is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.

Unless it is readily apparent that the animal is a service animal and most of the time, it is apparent , then the entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability. It is not, however, allowed to require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.

An entity cannot ask or require an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees, or to comply with other requirements generally not applicable to people without pets. If an entity normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal. The regulations issued by the Department of Justice, which were effective as of March 15, , make it clear that ticketing is a covered activity under the ADA.

Prior to that, entities that sold tickets were covered by the ADA, but there were no specific regulations or guidelines related to ticketing. The regulations can be found at 28 C. An entity that sells tickets for a single event or a series of events has to modify its policies, practices, or procedures to make sure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to buy tickets for accessible seating:. Individuals with disabilities, and those purchasing tickets for accessible seating for individuals with disabilities, must be informed of the locations of all unsold or otherwise available accessible seating for any ticketed event at the facility.

Features of available accessible seating must be identified and described in enough detail to reasonably permit a person with a disability to decide independently whether a given accessible seating location meets his or her accessibility needs. Materials, such as seating maps, plans, brochures, pricing charts, and other information that identify accessible seating, must be provided to the same level of specificity as other seats, if such materials are provided to the general public.

No, entities cannot charge more for accessible seating, and they are not required to charge less, either. They must provide individuals with disabilities with the opportunity to purchase tickets at all price levels. To do that, they may price accessible seating tickets in proportion to the price of other tickets in the venue. They may not price tickets for accessible seating any higher than the price of other tickets in the same section for the same event, though. For example, if the venue has three different price zones, but all of the wheelchair accessible seats are physically located in the most expensive price zone, then the venue has to figure out what percentage of seats in the venue are priced in each of the zones and then price the accessible seats to that same percentage.

Individuals with disabilities who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices may purchase tickets for accessible seats. Other individuals with disabilities are eligible to purchase tickets for accessible seats if they require the use of the features of accessible seating. A ticket purchaser may, for example, have a service animal that requires the additional space offered by accessible seating. Or a ticket purchaser may, for example, be unable to navigate stairs, necessitating the need for accessible seating.

Tickets for accessible seats may be sold to individuals who require accessible seating themselves or to someone purchasing on their behalf. For each accessible ticket purchased by or for an individual with a disability, an entity must allow the purchase of up to three other tickets for companion seats immediately adjacent to and in the same row as the wheelchair space, so long as there are three such seats available at the time of purchase.

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The additional seats may include wheelchair spaces. If people are allowed to buy at least four tickets, and there are fewer than three such additional seat tickets available for purchase, a seller has to offer the next highest number of such seat tickets available for purchase and must make up the difference by offering tickets for sale for seats that are as close as possible to the accessible seats. If ticket sales are limited to fewer than four seats per patron, then the obligation is to offer as many seats to buyers with disabilities, including the ticket for the wheelchair space, as would be offered to buyers without disabilities.

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If buyers are allowed to purchase more than four tickets, then buyers with disabilities must be allowed to purchase up to the same number of tickets, including the ticket for the wheelchair space. If a group includes one or more people who need to use accessible seating because of a mobility disability, or because the disability requires the use of the accessible features that are provided in accessible seating, the group must be placed in a seating area with accessible seating so that, if possible, the group can sit together.

If it is necessary to divide the group, it should be divided so that the people in the group who use wheelchairs are not isolated from the group. Tickets for accessible seating may be released for sale in certain limited circumstances. Unsold tickets for accessible seating may be released only under the following circumstances:. A facility is not required to release tickets for accessible seating to individuals without disabilities, but it may under the three conditions above. When series-of-events tickets are sold out, and the entity sells the accessible seats to people without disabilities for a series of events, the entity must establish a process by which those seats are not automatically reassigned to those ticket holders for future seasons or years.

Individuals with disabilities who need accessible seating, and who become newly eligible to purchase tickets when these series-of-events tickets are available for purchase, must be given the opportunity to do so. When series-of-events tickets with an ownership right in accessible seating areas are forfeited or otherwise returned to an entity, there must be a process in place so that individuals with mobility disabilities, or individuals with disabilities that require accessible seating, have the chance to purchase such tickets in accessible seating areas.

Individuals with disabilities who hold tickets for accessible seating must be permitted to transfer tickets, meaning to give or sell, to third parties to the same extent as other individuals holding the same type of tickets, whether they are for a single event or a series of events. People with disabilities may use tickets purchased on the secondary ticket market under the same terms and conditions as other individuals who purchase tickets on the secondary ticket market for the same event or series. If a person with a disability gets a ticket to an inaccessible seat through the secondary market, the individual must be allowed to exchange the ticket for one to an accessible seat in a comparable location, if such a seat is available at the time the ticket is presented to the venue.

For the sale of single-event tickets, it is permissible to ask whether the person purchasing the tickets for accessible seating has either a mobility disability or a disability that requires the use of the features of the accessible seating, or is purchasing the tickets for a person who meets those criteria. For series-of-events tickets, it is permissible to ask the person purchasing the tickets for accessible seating to attest in writing that the accessible seating is for a person who has a mobility disability or a disability that requires the use of the features of the accessible seating.

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Individuals with disabilities must be able to make reservations for accessible guest rooms at a place of lodging during the same hours and in the same manner as others. This is true whether the reservation is made by telephone, in-person, or online through a website. Places of lodging have to describe the accessible features of the facility and the guest rooms that are offered through the reservation system in enough detail that the person with a disability is able to assess whether it meets individual accessibility needs.

Information, including photos or drawings, may be posted online or included in brochures. Staff members who provide customer service must know about the accessibility features so that they can answer questions about the features and accessible routes to and through the facility. Staff must be able to answer questions about the guest rooms and bathrooms, the availability of accessibility equipment such as bath benches or visual alert devices, and the accessibility of common areas such as meeting rooms, restaurants, bars, pools, business centers, and fitness centers.

Yes, but accessible guest rooms must be held for use by individuals with disabilities until all other guest rooms of that type have been rented. When a reservation is made for an accessible guest room, the specific accessible guest room reserved has to be held for that customer and the room must be removed from the reservation system.

Reservations made through travel agents or online travel services have to provide accessible rooms and must provide information about the accessible features of the facility and the rooms. The Rehabilitation Act of , often called the Rehab Act, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies, in programs receiving federal financial assistance, in federal employment, and in employment practices of federal contractors.

There is a right to reasonable modification under Section Individuals who meet the definition of disability are covered. The definition is the same as it is for the ADA. It applies to any entity that receives federal financial assistance. This includes a lot more places than you might think about when you first hear that. Of course, it covers nearly all government entities. It also covers nearly all colleges, universities, and trade schools. Many private schools and day care centers are also covered, as are most health care facilities. The plan is written by a team of people who are knowledgeable about the student.

Each federal agency has its own set of Section regulations that apply to its own programs. Agencies that provide federal financial assistance also have Section regulations covering entities that get federal aid. Those entities that get federal financial help must provide reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, program accessibility, effective communication with people who have hearing or vision disabilities, and accessible new construction and alterations.

Each agency enforces its own regulations. Section can also be enforced by people with disabilities who have been discriminated against through private lawsuits. Section requires affirmative action and nondiscrimination in employment by federal agencies. Federal employees with disabilities have the right to reasonable accommodations.

It also provides for a right to reasonable accommodations. For more information about Section , you can visit the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs website at www. Section has certain accessibility requirements for electronic and information technology used by the federal government.

Federal government websites must be accessible to people with different kinds of disabilities. IDEA has a list of eligibility categories. In addition to having a disability that fits into one of the categories, the child must, by reason of the disability, need special education and related services in order to receive a free appropriate public education sometimes referred to as FAPE.

The eligibility categories are: orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, auditory impairment, visual impairment, deaf-blindness, intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, learning disability, speech impairment, autism, multiple disabilities, and traumatic brain injury. Some of these include that the IEP must be developed by a team of knowledgeable persons and the IEP must be reviewed at least annually. Related services are services that students may need in order to benefit and receive a free appropriate public education from the educational program.

Only students who are eligible for special education services under IDEA are eligible for these related services. Some of the more common related services are: special transportation, assistive technology, speech therapy, rehabilitation counseling, counseling, psychological services, occupational therapy, social work, and orientation and mobility training.

Yes, if they are eligible for services under IDEA. From birth to age three, states have early intervention programs for children who have developmental delays. Services for eligible children who are three and older, but have not yet reached their 22nd birthday on September 1 of the current school year, are provided by local school districts. The school will ask you to sign a consent for testing.

You have the right to know about the abilities, skills, and knowledge that the school will evaluate, as well as a description and explanation of the procedures, tests, records, and reports they will be using in the evaluation. The IEP team is supposed to identify positive behavioral interventions and supports, recognize antecedents to inappropriate behavior, and develop other strategies to address the behavior. It is important that both the parents and the school make a good faith effort to come to an agreement about the IEP, but sometimes, agreement is not possible.

There are several options for parents in this situation. Parents may, of course, do nothing. In that case, the school will implement its plan, even over parental objections. Parents may choose to remove a child from public school in favor of private school or home school placement. Parents may request a mediation to try to resolve the areas of disagreement.

Parents may speak with the State education agency about the possibility of filing a complaint. As a last resort, parents may file for a due process hearing. This is an administrative hearing presided over by an independent hearing officer. There are four key federal disability rights laws that affect housing for people with disabilities. The first is the Architectural Barriers Act ABA , which covers all buildings owned or leased by the federal government. Section of the Rehabilitation Act also covers housing if the housing was built with federal funds or receives federal financial assistance.

The Architectural Barriers Act was the very first federal law that required certain buildings to be accessible to people with disabilities. It was passed in The ABA covers all buildings that are constructed or leased by the federal government, as well as any buildings built with a loan or a grant from the federal government, if the legislation authoring the grant or loan specifies compliance with the ABA.

Remember that covers all entities that receive federal financial assistance. So covers housing built with federal funds, as well as housing entities that get federal funds. Almost all public housing receives federal assistance. In addition, most post-secondary housing, like dorms or apartments run by an educational entity, is covered by because most post-secondary institutions get federal financial assistance.

Title II covers programs of state or local governments, which includes housing. Title II requires new construction and alterations to have no architectural barriers that restrict access or use. Each part of a facility built after January 26, must be designed and constructed to be accessible. Title II applies to individual housing units as well as offices, recreational areas, and other parts of a housing complex that might not be covered by the FHA. Title III covers places of public accommodation associated with housing. Just like under Title II, new construction and alterations must have no architectural barriers.

Facilities built for first occupancy after January 26, and before March 15, should have been built in compliance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Architectural and structural communication barriers in existing buildings must be removed if the removal is relatively easy to accomplish without much difficulty or expense.

Yes, they do. In fact, there are more than 40, state and local building code jurisdictions nationally. In addition, there are many state and local fair housing laws and those might have additional or different access requirements. No and yes. When the Fair Housing Act was first passed in , it prohibited housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin.

Sex discrimination in housing was added in Then, in the FHA was changed again to include familial status meaning that housing discrimination based on whether there were children under the age of 18 in the family was unlawful and disability. Including disability caused a lot of changes to the law because, for the other kinds of discrimination addressed by the law, it was enough to not refuse to sell or rent to, or otherwise treat unfairly, people in those protected classes.

With disability, though, design and construction requirements were also necessary so that people with disabilities could access housing. Yes, it is unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing to an individual with a disability because of the disability. It is important to note that the Fair Housing Act requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations to their policies so that people with disabilities have equal housing opportunities and to permit people with disabilities to make reasonable modifications to their units or common areas.

An apartment complex that does not allow pets would have to modify that policy to allow an individual with a disability who uses a service animal, or an emotional support animal, to have the animal. A housing project that does not allow reserved parking spaces would have to modify that policy so that a person who uses a wheelchair or who has very limited mobility could park in a spot close to the apartment unit.

The landlord is correct that he does not have to put that ramp in for you. However, he must allow you to put in the ramp for yourself. You will be responsible for the cost involved and you will need to restore the area to its previous condition when you move. Not all housing. The design and construction requirements are for multifamily dwellings that were designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, All the units are covered if the building has four or more units and has an elevator. If there is no elevator, then all ground floor units are covered. In addition to the usual kinds of housing, the FHA applies to time-shares, transitional housing, homeless shelters, student housing, and assisted living facilities.

I tried to rent an apartment, but because I have a child with Down Syndrome, the apartment manager said I would have to pay double the usual deposit. Is that legal? The FHA makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person who is associated with a person with a disability. The apartment manager cannot increase your deposit simply because your child has a disability. However, alarms and other emergency warning systems that are installed in public and common use areas must be accessible. Alarms placed in these areas must have audible and visual features.

The Fair Housing Act's design and construction requirements do not require installation of visual alarms on the interior of dwelling units; however, if there is a building alarm system provided in a public and common use area, then the system must have the capability of supporting an audible and visual alarm system in individual units. The Fair Housing Act's obligation on housing providers to make reasonable accommodations so people with disabilities may use and enjoy the property may require a housing provider to make adjustments in emergency alarm systems, whether located in public and common use areas or in individual units, so that they are accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

The garbage dumpster itself is not covered by the design and construction requirements. However, a sufficient number of garbage dumpsters must be located on an accessible route. If an enclosure is built around the dumpster, the opening must have a 32 inch clear width and an accessible route must be provided to the dumpster door.

If parking is provided at the dumpster, accessible parking must also be provided. You can go to the Fair Housing Accessibility First website at www. Washington DC www. Of course, all of the programs of the Social Security Administration SSA are available to people who have disabilities and people who do not have disabilities. There is also the Ticket to Work program that helps people who are getting SSI or SSDI to attempt to return to work with supports that protect benefits and gradually transition people to self-sufficiency. It provides cash assistance to meet very basic needs for food, gas, water, electricity, and shelter.

But remember that one of the requirements for SSI is that you have very limited or no income initially, and few financial assets or resources. It pays benefits to a person who has a disability as defined by SSA, but again, we will get to that later , and sometimes even to family members of the person with a disability, if the person worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. You may apply by calling You can also just go to a Social Security office without an appointment, but you will probably have to wait a long time. The easiest way is to do as much as possible of the application process online.

The Social Security Administration sends your application to a state agency that makes disability decisions. The state has medical and vocational experts who contact your healthcare providers to get information and records. The state agency might ask you to have a medical exam or tests. You do not have to pay for this. If the state does notify you that it is requesting that you be at a certain healthcare office or facility for an exam or test, be sure to keep that appointment.

You also may contact this agency to make sure they do not need anything else. They are receiving the information from the medical sources that you provided and can add any additional information that you may have forgotten initially. Most people will be denied when they first apply. You appeal that decision. The letter you get will tell you how to do that.

Or you can complete paper forms and submit them. But either way, you must request reconsideration within 60 days. Even on reconsideration, though, most people are still denied benefits. Reconsideration generally takes another months. Both can be submitted online or on paper.

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  6. Again, this appeal must be filed within 60 days. This is the time when you may want to find an attorney or advocate to help you develop what will be submitted both prior to and during the hearing. Actually, you will probably have to wait a lot longer than that to get to the hearing. In some places, the wait for a hearing is longer than a year. It is impossible to say how long your wait will be, but your lawyer or advocate can probably give you an idea of the wait you can expect in your area. That is a little difficult to answer because each hearing is a little different, but they do have some things in common.

    In the hearing, you will have a chance to explain to the judge why you believe that you should get benefits. You may want to have a vocational assessment to present as part of your evidence of your ability to work, rather than relying on the vocational assessment done by a vocational expert appointed by the agency. You cannot do this online at this time. It must be filed on paper.

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