and Local Governments
Q. Does the ADA apply to State and local Governments?
A. Title II of the ADA
prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in
all programs, activities, and services of public entities. It applies to
all State and local governments, their departments and agencies, and any
other instrumentalities or special purpose districts of State or local
governments. It clarifies the requirements of section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for public transportation systems that receive
Federal financial assistance, and extends coverage to all public entities
that provide public transportation, whether or not they receive Federal
financial assistance. It establishes detailed standards for the operation
of public transit systems, including commuter and intercity rail (AMTRAK)..
Q. When do the requirements for State and local governments become
A. In general, they
became effective on January 26, 1992..
Q. What changes must a public entity make to its existing facilities to
make them accessible?
A. A public entity
must ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from
services, programs, and activities because existing buildings are
inaccessible. A State or local government's programs, when viewed in their
entirety, must be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with
disabilities. This standard, known as "program accessibility,"
applies to facilities of a public entity that existed on January 26, 1992.
Public entities do not necessarily have to make each of their existing
facilities accessible. They may provide program accessibility by a number
of methods including alteration of existing facilities, acquisition or construction
of additional facilities, relocation of a service or program to an
accessible facility, or provision of services at alternate accessible
Q. What does title II require for new construction and alterations?
A. The ADA requires
that all new buildings constructed by a State or local government be
accessible. In addition, when a State or local government undertakes
alterations to a building, it must make the altered portions accessible.
Q. Is the Federal government covered by the ADA?
A. The ADA does not cover the executive branch of
the Federal government. The executive branch continues to be covered by
title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination
in services and employment on the basis of handicap and which is a model
for the requirements of the ADA. The ADA, however, does cover Congress and
other entities in the legislative branch of the Federal government.