Title II of the ADA: State and Local Government

Fact Sheet

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities from discrimination by state and local governments. It applies to all kinds of state or local governments and the services they provide. These include services from police departments, county councils, courts, and voting. The ADA covers state agencies like SC Department of Social Services (DSS) or SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN). Title II does not apply to private businesses. They are covered by another part of the ADA called Title III1

Your Rights under ADA Title II

1. Non Discrimination: There should not be different rules about when and where the government provides its services to someone with a disability. Special programs can be offered for people with disabilities, but they should be able to participate in programs open to the general public. The US Department of Justice has said that the integration of people with
disabilities into the mainstream of American life is a fundamental purpose of the ADA.
2. Reasonable Accommodations: The ADA requires public entities to make “reasonable modifications” in their usual ways of doing things when necessary so someone with a disability can take part in the program. Examples of accommodations could include:

Only “reasonable” modifications are required. The ADA does not required changes that would:

3. Effective Communication: A government office has a duty to communicate in a way that a person with a disability can understand. This includes someone who is deaf or blind. The government is to provide equipment or services that are needed for communication.

Governments are to provide the aid or service requested by the person with the disability. However, they can turn down that request if it would (1) fundamentally alter the nature of their program, service, or activity or (2) would result in undue financial and administrative burdens. Even then, the government must provide the most effective communication that is feasible. They cannot charge extra for communication services.

4. Accessibility of Government Buildings: The ADA’s basic requirement is that government programs be available to people with disabilities. One way for a program to be available is making the building or place physically accessible to people with disabilities. Under the ADA, government buildings built or altered since 1991 must be accessible. This includes the building’s parking areas, doors, and restrooms. In an older building that is not accessible, the government should offer its service in some other way. For example, if a social service agency is located in an inaccessible office, it could meet an applicant with a mobility disability at some other place that is accessible.

Enforcement of Your Rights

If you believe your ADA rights are being violated, you can:

This packet includes the following:


Contact List For More Information

1419 Mayson Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30324
1-800-949-4232 (V/TTY)
404-541-9001(Voice) 404-541-9002 (Fax)
Website: www.ADAsoutheast.org
Email: ADAsoutheast@law.syr.edu

Information hotline
1-800-514-0301 (voice) 1-800-514-0383 (TTY)
Where to file a complaint:
On Line in English: https://www.ada.gov/filing_complaint.htm
On Line in Spanish: https://www.ada.gov/complaint/?language=es

By Mail: US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section – 1425 NYAV
Washington, D.C. 20530
By FAX: (202) 307-1197

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
3075 Adeline Street, Suite 210
Berkeley, CA 94703
510.644.2555 (Voice) 510-841-8645 (Fax/TTY)

1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 2004-1111
1-800-872-2253 (voice) 1-800-993-2822 (TTY)
(202) 272-0081 (Fax)

Title II—Where to File Your Discrimination Complaint

State/Local Government Agencies: State or local government agencies with 50 or more employees are required to designate an ADA Coordinator and to adopt grievance procedures to resolve complaints of ADA violations. If the agency that you believe discriminated against you has 50 or more employees, ask to speak to the ADA Coordinator (ADA Coordinators are sometimes called Disability Coordinators or 504 Coordinators). You may also file a grievance. For smaller government agencies, contact the office of the person in charge of the agency and ask how you can file a complaint. This could be the mayor’s office or a commissioner’s office.

Federal Government Agencies: If you are not satisfied with action on your grievance by your local/state government agency, or if you do not wish to file a grievance, you may file a complaint of discrimination with the federal government. Complaints of discrimination under Title II are investigated by several different federal agencies. See designated agencies list below. You may always file your complaint with the Department of Justice; however, it may take some time for them to forward your complaint to the appropriate agency. If you can file with the appropriate agency, it may result in quicker action on your complaint.

Designated Federal Agencies For Filing Complaints

See P&A’s Fact Sheet, Americans with Disabilities Act (Title III): http://www.pandasc.org/resources/americans-with-disabilities-act-ada/

This publication is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (the Administration for Community Living and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). It does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding authorities.
P&A does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, color, creed, national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, citizenship, age, religion, sex or sexual orientation, veteran status or any other class protected by law in the provision of its programs or services.
Pete Cantrell is P&A’s designated coordinator for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA April 2017


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