Program Access under Title II

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State and local governments—

  • Must make sure buildings that house services, programs, and activities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Need not remove physical barriers in existing buildings so individuals with disabilities can access programs as long as they provide an alternative method to provide the program such as—
    • Relocate the program/service to an accessible facility (example:  moving a public information office from the third floor to the first floor).
    • Provide an aid or personal assistant to help the individual with disability obtain the service.
    • Provide the program/service at the individual's home or an alternate accessible site.
  • May not carry an individual with a disability as a method of providing program access except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Do not have to make any changes that will result in a fundamental alteration of the program or service or be an undue financial burden.

One of the purposes of the ADA is to integrate individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of society.  For this reason, public entities should not offer separate programs for individuals with disabilities unless a separate program is necessary to ensure benefits and services are equally effective.  

State and local governments can not require an individual with a disability to accept a special accommodation or benefit if the individual chooses not to accept. Even if separate programs are offered, individuals with disabilities have the right to choose to participate in the regular program. 42 U.S.C. § 12182.