Questions about The Americans With Disabilities Act

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.

Q. What requirements, other than those mandating nondiscrimination in employment, does the ADA place on State and local governments?

A. All government facilities, services, and communications must be accessible in accordance with the requirements of title II of the ADA. Those requirements are based on section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Individuals may file complaints with Federal agencies designated by the Attorney General or bring private lawsuits.

Q. Does the ADA cover private apartments and private homes?

A. The ADA generally does not cover private residences. If, however, a place of public accommodation, such as a doctor’s office or day care center, is located in a private residence, those portions of the residence used for that purpose are subject to the ADA’s requirements.

Q. Does the ADA cover air transportation?

A. Discrimination by air carriers is not covered by the ADA but rather by the Air Carrier Access Act (49 U.S.C. 1374 (c).

Q. What are the ADA’s requirements for public transit buses?

A. The Department of Transportation has issued regulations mandating accessible public transit vehicles and facilities. The regulations include requirements that all new fixed-route, public transit buses be accessible and that supplementary paratransit services be provided for those individuals with disabilities who cannot use fixed-route bus service.

Q. How will the ADA make telecommunications accessible?

A. The ADA requires the establishment of telephone relay services for individuals who use telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD’s) or similar devices. The Federal Communications Commission has issued regulations specifying standards for the operation of these services.

Q. Are businesses entitled to any tax benefit to help pay for the cost of compliance?

A. As amended in 1990, the Internal Revenue Code allows a deduction of up to $15,000 per year for expenses associated with the removal of qualified architectural and transportation barriers.

The 1990 amendment also permits eligible small businesses to receive a tax credit for certain costs of compliance with the ADA. An eligible small business is one whose gross receipts do not exceed $1,000,000 or whose workforce does not consist of more than 30 full-time workers. Qualifying businesses may claim a credit of up to 50 percent of eligible access expenditures that exceed $250 but do not exceed $10,250. Examples of eligible access expenditures include the necessary and reasonable costs of removing architectural, physical, communications, and transportation barriers; providing readers, interpreters, and other auxiliary aids; and acquiring or modifying equipment or devices.

Text of the Laws Enforced by the EEOC (pdf):

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (pdf)
Equal Pay Act of 1963 (pdf)
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) (pdf)
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Sections 501 and 505 (pdf)
Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
Civil Rights Act of 1991 (pdf)