Key Provisions and Regulations Implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
V of the Rehabilitation Act has several key sections:
501: Covers Federal employment and
requires the Federal Government to be a model employer of persons
Created the U. S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers
Compliance Board to ensure effective enforcement of the Architectural
Barriers Act of 1968, and authorized the Board to develop minimum
standards for architectural access to certain Federally constructed,
leased or financed buildings and facilities.
Covers contractors? employment and provides for nondiscrimination
in employment by Federal contractors.
504: Provides for nondiscrimination in all programs, services
and activities receiving federal financial assistance; and in
programs, services and activities conducted by Executive agencies.
Provides that the rights, remedies and procedures available
under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall be available
to individuals who wish to file a complaint under Section 504.
In addition, Section 505 allows attorney?s fees for the
508: Requires that Federal agencies? electronic and
information technology be accessible to people with disabilities,
including employees and members of the public.
webpage focuses on Section 504, and on HUD?s regulations implementing
Section 504 in federally assisted programs services and activities.
These regulations are codified at 24 CFR Part 8.
otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States...
shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from
participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to
discrimination under any program, service or activity receiving
Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted
by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal Service.?
regulations at 24 CFR Part 8 apply to all applicants for, and recipients
of, HUD financial assistance in the operation of programs or activities
receiving such assistance.
with Disabilities Defined
Section 504 regulations define an individual with a disability as
any person who has a physical or mental disability that substantially
limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an
impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment [24 CFR
8.3]. Major life activities include walking, talking, hearing, seeing,
breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, and caring for oneself.
The law also applies to individuals who have a history of such impairments
as well as those who are perceived as having such an impairment.
person who meets the above definition, and who is otherwise qualified
for the program, service or activity, is covered under Section 504.
To be otherwise qualified means the individual meets the essential
eligibility requirements, including, for example, requirements for
tenancy, if the program is a housing program.
regulations define ?recipient? as any State or its political
subdivision, any instrumentality of a State or its political subdivision,
any public or private agency, institution, organization, or other
entity, or any person to which Federal financial assistance is extended
for any program or activity directly or through another recipient,
including any successor, assignee, or transferee of a recipient,
but excluding the ultimate beneficiary of the assistance. An entity
or person receiving housing assistance payments from a recipient
on behalf of eligible families under a housing assistance payments
program or a voucher program is not a recipient or sub-recipient
merely by virtue of receipt of such payments
[24 CFR 8.3].
504 covers all programs, services and activities of recipients of
HUD financial assistance, including, for example:
Outreach and public contact, including contact with program
applicants and participants
Admission to the program
Tenancy, including eviction
Employment policies and practices
504 Prohibitions Against Discrimination
Denying a qualified individual with disabilities the opportunity
to participate in, or benefit from, the housing, aid, benefit,
to afford a qualified individual with disabilities the opportunity
for equal participation and benefit.
Failing to provide a qualified individual with disabilities
a program or service that affords the same opportunity to
benefit as that afforded others.
unnecessary difference or separateness
different or separate housing, aid, benefits or services on
the basis of disability unless providing such is necessary
to provide housing or benefits that are as effective as that
provide to persons without disabilities.
assistance to entities that discriminate
significant assistance to an agency, organization or person
that discriminates on the basis of disability in any aspect
of a federally assisted activity.
to serve on boards
a qualified individual with disabilities the opportunity to
participate as a member of planning or advisory boards.
denial of right to a dwelling
a dwelling to an otherwise qualified buyer or renter because
of a disability of that buyer or renter or another prospective
discriminatory limitation of benefits
in any other manner a qualified individual with disabilities
in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity
afforded to others.
programs or services to qualified individuals with disabilities
in settings that are unnecessarily separate, segregated or
Recipients? Responsibilities Under Section 504:
order for recipients to comply with Section 504, they must:
steps to ensure effective communication with applicants, beneficiaries,
and members of the public. [24 CFR 8.6]
steps to ensure that employment activities, including job announcements,
recruitment, interviews, hiring, work assignments, promotions
and dismissals, do not discriminate on the basis of disability.
[24 CFR 8.10 - 8.13]
that all non-housing programs are operated in a manner that
does not discriminate on the basis of disability and that new
construction and alterations of non-housing facilities are made
accessible in accordance with applicable standards. [24 CFR
existing housing programs in a manner that does not discriminate
on the basis of disability, and take steps, as needed, to ensure
that existing housing programs are readily accessible to and
usable by persons with disabilities. Develop and implement a
transition plan to assure compliance. [24 CFR 8.24]
reasonable accommodations which may be necessary for a person
with a disability to use or participate in the program, service
or activity; unless the recipient can demonstrate that the accommodation
will result in an undue financial and administrative burden
or a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program, service
or activity. A reasonable accommodation is an adaptation or
modification to a policy, program, service, or workplace which
will allow a qualified person with a disability to participate
fully in a program, take advantage of a service, or perform
a job. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited
to, adjustments or modifications to buildings, facilities, dwellings,
and may also include provision of auxiliary aids, such as readers,
interpreters, and materials in accessible formats.
[24 CFR 8.4, 8.11, 8.20, 8.21, 8.24, 8.25, 8.33]
for a reasonable accommodation needed by the individual (e.g.,
a ramp to a unit) unless providing that accommodation would
be an undue financial and administrative burden or a fundamental
alteration of the program.
[24 CFR 8.4, 8.11, 8.20, 8.21, 8.24, 8.25, 8.33]
that all new construction of housing facilities is readily accessible
to and usable by persons with disabilities, and meets the requirements
of applicable accessibility standards. [24 CFR 8.22 and 8.32]
that substantial alterations, when undertaken, meet the requirements
for new construction. [24 CFR 8.23(a)] Ensure that all other
alterations, to the maximum extent feasible, meet the requirements
of the applicable accessibility standards. [24 CFR 8.23(b)]
any required needs assessments (for recipients who are public
housing agencies) to determine the extent to which the housing
needs of persons with disabilities are being met in the recipient?s
program and in the community. [24 CFR 8.25]
accessible dwelling units throughout projects and sites and
make such units available in the same ranges of sizes and amenities
to provide housing choices for persons with disabilities that
are the same as those provided to others. [24 CFR 8.26]
suitable means to ensure persons with disabilities are made
aware of the availability of accessible units and to maximize
use of accessible units by individuals needing the features
of these units. [24 CFR 8.27]
any required self-evaluations of programs, services, and activities
to determine if they are programmatically and physically accessible
to persons with disabilities, and involve persons with disabilities
in these evaluations.
[24 CFR 8.51]
with 15 or more employees?designate an employee to ensure
the recipients? programs, services and activities meet
the requirements of Section 504; adopt a grievance procedure
to effect due process standards and prompt and equitable resolutions
of complaints. [24 CFR 8.53]
with 15 or more employees?notify participants, beneficiaries,
applicants and employees of their nondiscriminatory provisions.
[24 CFR 8.54]
records and reports of efforts to meet the requirements of Section
504, and keep these records on file so that they are available
if a complaint is filed, or if HUD conducts a compliance review.
[24 CFR 8.55]
of Persons with Disabilities
with disabilities can help assure compliance with Section 504 in
a variety of ways:
with disabilities are encouraged to assist in educating recipients
about Section 504 and letting recipients know where they may
obtain more information, such as through this Web site, or by
contacting the nearest fair
is the responsibility of the person with a disability to request
a reasonable accommodation if such accommodation may be necessary
to allow him or her to participate in the recipient?s program,
service or activity. [24 CFR 8.4, 8.11, 8.20, 8.21, 8.24, 8.25,
with disabilities, just like any other persons, are expected
to comply with any applicable requirements of programs, including,
for example in the case of housing programs, the requirement
to meet obligations of tenancy.
with disabilities who believe they have been subjected to discrimination
prohibited by Section 504 should file a complaint with the Department.
Any person who believes that any specific class of persons has
been subjected to discrimination prohibited by Section 504 and
who is a member of that class or who is the authorized representative
of a member of that class may file a complaint with the Department.
[24 CFR 8.26(c)] To file
a complaint, contact the HUD
Field Office nearest you for assistance and guidance.
effects compliance with Section 504 in two primary ways:
1) We may initiate a compliance review of all aspects of the
recipient?s program, services and activities, and
We investigate complaints of discrimination filed by individuals
with disabilities who allege discriminatory behavior in violation
of Section 504 by a recipient.
the latter case, our investigation focuses on the issues raised
by the complainant, but we may seek to address the interests of
other persons similarly situated and the public interest.
one desirable outcome of the complaint process is the complainant?s
satisfaction, this is not the primary goal. Our primary goal is
to assure compliance with Section 504 by recipients of HUD assistance.
Thus, while we will always encourage the complainant and the recipient
to resolve their differences voluntarily, we may not close a case
once its investigation has begun until we have determined that the
recipient is in compliance with the law and that it will not discriminate
against other persons with disabilities who are similarly situated.
will not require the complainant?s consent to any voluntary
agreement it reaches with the recipient although every effort will
be made to protect the complainant?s interests and to remedy
the effects of the discrimination.