These forms will take you through the process of conducting a self-evaluation and developing a transition plan and an action plan. Feel free to edit the forms to suit your public entity.
- Departments and Programs
- General Nondiscrimination
- Effective Communication
- Web Accessibility
- Administrative Requirements
- ADA Standards for Accessible Design Checklists
- Program Accessibility
- Transition Plan
- Action Plan
For accessibility and ease of use, these forms are provided in three formats: PDF fillable, Word fillable, and plain text. The PDF fillable forms have been formatted to work well with assistive technology. To open these files download Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. This is a free and trusted standard for viewing and editing PDFs. Copyright © 2017 ADA Title II ADA Action Guide for State and Local Governments. You can freely reproduce and distribute this content. Include proper attribution. But you must get permission before using this content in fee-based products.
Departments and Programs
- List all the public entity’s services, programs, and activities in the Departments and Programs form.
- Evaluate departments and programs using the General Nondiscrimination form.
- Evaluate departments and programs using the Effective Communication form.
- Evaluate policies and procedures concerning your public entity’s web accessibility using the Web Accessibility form.
- The Administrative Requirements form can be used to document that your public entity has conducted a self-evaluation and provided public notice about their compliance with the ADA; and if your public entity has 50 or more employees, the entity has designated at least one employee to coordinate ADA compliance (the ADA Coordinator), adopted a grievance procedure and developed a transition plan.
ADA Standards for Accessible Design Checklists
- Survey the facilities in which services, programs, and activities operate. Be sure to include recreation areas such as playgrounds, swimming pools, routes to ball fields, and fishing piers since these areas were not in the original (1991) ADA Standards for Accessible Design but are in the current (2010) ADA Standards. The checklists are on a separate website listed below. You are welcome to edit the checklists.
- For services, programs and activities that are not in accessible facilities determine whether structural or non-structural changes will be provided to ensure program accessibility. Use the Program Accessibility form to list the structural and non-structural solutions. For many programs, such as recreation, accessibility of the physical environment is integral to participation in the program. For example a person can’t go swimming if she can’t get into the pool. A sloped entry or lift will be needed. For other programs non-structural solutions are possible, such as moving a meeting to the first floor in a building that doesn't have an elevator.
- List the structural changes that need to be made on the Transition Plan form. Include the access issues, solutions, target dates and person responsible for making sure the work gets done. You can also add columns for estimated costs, source of funds and priority of items, or anything else you want. An example of one municipality's transition plan is in the Sample Documents section below.
- For non-structural items use the Action Plan form. An example of one municipality's action plan is in the Sample Documents section below.
Public Notice - long and short versions
- Under Title II all public entities must provide information to the public, program participants, applicants and employees about the ADA and how it applies to the public entity. We recommend the following actions: post the notice at facilities, put the notice on the public entity’s website, include the notice in social media such as Twitter and Facebook, publish the notice in local newspapers, and broadcast the notice in public service announcements on local radio and television stations. Upon request, the information must be provided in “alternative” formats, such as Braille and large print, so that it is accessible to people with vision disabilities.
Grievance Procedure - long and short versions
- Public entities with 50 or more employees must have a grievance procedure. The Title II regulations do not specify the procedures for the grievance procedure. The long sample includes timeframes and a two-step process that allows for appeals. The short sample is simpler and more appropriate for small public entities.
Transition Plan Sample
- Over the years many public entities have asked to see a sample transition plan. This is an excerpt from one municipality’s plan. The plan is required to include the access issues, solutions, timeframes and person responsible for making the changes. This municipality added columns for costs and sources of funds.
Action Plan Sample
- The regulations don’t specify an Action Plan but it’s a helpful planning tool for items that don’t go in a transition plan. Here is an excerpt from one municipality’s Action Plan.
The ADA protects the rights of people who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as breathing, walking, hearing and thinking, Major bodily functions, such as normal cell growth and endocrine function are also considered major life activities. Therefore cancer and diabetes will, in virtually all cases, be considered disabilities . The ADA also applies to people who have a record of having a substantially limiting impairment, such as a person with cancer that is in remission, or are regarded as having an impairment, such as a person who has facial scars
Title II applies to state and local governments. Title III applies to the private sector such as businesses and non-profit organizations. Both titles require general non-discrimination, effective communication and accessible new construction and alterations. The major difference between the two titles is that Title II has administrative requirements for an ADA coordinator, self-evaluation, transition plan, grievance procedure and public notice; and Title III does not. The other big difference concerns facility and program accessibility. State and local governments must make sure that people with disabilities can participate in all programs, activities and services. People may not be denied participation because of inaccessible facilities. Title III entities are not required to ensure participation, but facilities must be made accessible when it’s “readily achievable” to do so. Readily achievable means “without much difficulty or expense.”
A public entity may make inquiries about disability when they are necessary. For example, a municipal recreation department summer camp requires parents to fill out a questionnaire and to submit medical documentation regarding their children's ability to participate in various camp activities. The questionnaire is acceptable, if the information is needed to ensure safe participation. Unnecessary inquiries are not permitted.
Not necessarily. New construction and alterations need to meet the Standards, but for facilities built before the ADA went into effect on January 26, 1992, the focus is on making sure people with disabilities have equal access to programs, services and activities. Sometimes this can be accomplished through non-structural methods. In a two story town hall built in 1968 that doesn’t have an elevator, staff on the second floor could meet with citizens on the first floor if meeting space is comparable to that on the second floor in terms of privacy, comfort, etc.
The Department of Justice considers websites to be an integral aspect of how Title II entities interact with their citizens and the public and therefore they need to be accessible. Until we have ADA Standards for accessible information technology, the Department recommends compliance with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.
In situations where it is not obvious that a dog is a service animal, a public entity may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff may not request documentation of training for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability.
Generally a public entity must provide an objective, qualified interpreter. However, a family member could be used in an emergency involving an imminent safety threat or where the person who is deaf requests that a family member interpret and using the family member is appropriate under the circumstances.
The ADA Title II regulations do not get to this level of detail. Public entities are required to “make available appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication.” Notifying the public of how to request auxiliary aids and services, such as large print, is usually sufficient.
Not all play areas must be upgraded to be accessible, but enough playgrounds must be upgraded to ensure that children with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate. This is the program accessibility standard: “A public entity may not deny the benefits of its programs, activities, and services to individuals with disabilities because its facilities are inaccessible. State and local governments should consider where the playgrounds are located, whether there are unique features in play areas and whether they are intended for different age groups when they are determining which ones to make accessible.
Only as a last resort and only if such an arrangement provides accessibility comparable to that provided to people without disabilities, who generally use front doors and passenger elevators. For example, a back door is acceptable if it is kept unlocked during the same hours the front door remains unlocked; the passageway to and from the floor is accessible, well-lit, and neat and clean; and the individual with a mobility impairment does not have to travel excessive distances or through nonpublic areas such as kitchens and storerooms to gain access. A freight elevator would be acceptable if it were upgraded so as to be usable by passengers generally and if the passageways leading to and from the elevator are well-lit and neat and clean.
As many people know, the self-evaluation was supposed to be conducted and the transition plan developed in the late part of the 20th century (1992-3). That’s a long time ago. Although there is no requirement to update them, updating is the best means to ensure compliance with current regulations and design standards. A lot has changed in 27 years. The current (2010) ADA Standards have design requirements for swimming pools, play areas, fishing piers, golf courses, accessible routes to ball fields and more. The current ADA Title II regulations address service animals as only dogs, miniature horses, ticketing policies, video-remote interpreting and other power-driven mobility devices. Public entities must make sure they are in compliance with the current reguations.
Title II is enforced by private lawsuit or by filing a complaint with the Department of Justice or one of the designated federal enforcement agencies, such as the Department of Education, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Transportation, to name a few, the full list is in the enforcement section of ADA Title II Requirements.
Title II Quiz
Test your knowledge. There are five quizzes. All the quizzes cover the same topics: general ADA, effective communication, facility/program accessibility, general Title II nondiscrimination requirements and Title II administrative requirements. Each quiz has ten true or false questions. Some of the questions will appear in more than one quiz.
We are generating a list of successful ADA implementation ideas. If you have one to include please fill out the form:
Selected Best Practices:
During the spring of 2016, NYC Mayor de Blasio and the City Council enacted legislation (Local Law 27) that requires all City agencies to hire or appoint full-time Disability Service Facilitator (DSF) positions. These individuals are liaisons to New Yorkers with disabilities, creating access points for them to obtain information, services, and assistance. The DSF’s responsibilities include ensuring their agencies, programs, and services comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act, the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law; learning about issues affecting people with disabilities; providing information to the public on programs and services; ensuring that construction projects within the agency’s control are compliant with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design and the accessibility provisions of the NYC Building Code; and serving as a liaison with the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). DSFs meet quarterly or as otherwise needed to discuss citywide coordination, policies, share resources and participate in trainings. For more information on DSFs including a list of each City agency’s DSF please visit nyc.gov/dsf.
Eli Fresquez, Assistant General Counsel
Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities
100 Gold Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10038
212.788.2505, New York Relay users dial
Municipal ADA Improvement Grant ProgramMassachusetts
This program will provide grants of up to $250,000 for any Massachusetts city, town, special purpose district and/or regional governmental organization. The grants will support capital improvements, including ramps, elevators, power lifts and Limited Use/Limited Application (LULAs), signage, communication access devices, curb cuts and/or any other features that are designed to improve architectural access and/or programmatic access for people with disabilities.
Municipalities that sign a Community Compact (CC) and select the "Public Accessibility Best Practice" option will be provided priority for grant funding. Planning Grants will also be available for applicants that have not yet met the administrative requirements set forth in Title II of the ADA and do not have Self-Evaluation or Transitions Plans.
Curb Ramp and Sidewalk ProgramCambridge, MA
The Cambridge Department of Public Works (DPW) consults regularly with the ADA Coordinator and the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) to ensure pedestrian access to sidewalks. The DPW evaluates each sidewalk, intersection, crosswalk and curb ramp at least every five years. Surface conditions, slopes, landings and detectable warnings are all rated using a 1-5 system, and the data is entered into the city geographic information system (GIS). From this data the DPW develops and annually updates (with CCPD input) a five year plan for sidewalk repairs and curb ramp replacement - currently $4.5 M per year. The DPW has experimented (again with CCPD input) with different sidewalk materials, for example rubberized asphalt, wire cut brick, etc. and detectable warnings types - plastic, composite, cast-iron - to find the most durable and accessible solutions. This experimentation resulted in standardization of materials across the public right-of-way. In addition, the City of Cambridge has budgeted $800,000 for FY 2018 for its Miscellaneous Sidewalk Program, allowing the City to address and correct smaller scale accessibility concerns that lie outside the scope of major street renovation projects. To learn more about the program visit the Cambridge website.
Contact: Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities, 51 Inman Street, Cambridge MA 02139. 617-349-4692.
ADA Law, Regulations and Design Standards
The ADA law identifies who is a person with a disability, who has obligations under the ADA, general non-discrimination requirements and other basic obligations. It delegates fleshing out those obligations to federal agencies. The agencies issue regulations and design standards. The regulations have the details on the rights of people with disabilities and responsibilities of employers, state and local governments, transportation providers, businesses and non-profit organizations. The design standards specify how many entrances need to be accessible, how many toilet rooms and the design for those elements. To know what the ADA requires, you need to read the law, regulations and design standards.
ADA Statute (the Law)
ADA Regulations and Design Standards
- ADA Standards for Accessible Design
- ADA Title I Employment Regulations
- ADA Title I Regulations on Employer Wellness Programs
- ADA Title II Regulation for State and Local Governments
- ADA Title III Regulations for Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities (private sector)
- Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities: Paratransit, Over-the-Road Buses, Taxis, Vehicle Acquisition
- Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities: Reasonable Modification of Policies and Practices
- Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities: Passenger Vessels
- ADA Standards for Transportation Facilities
- ADA Specifications for Transportation Vehicles
- ADA Title IV Telecommunication Relay Services Rules
Many federal agencies issue regulations, provide technical assistance and enforce different sections of the ADA. For example the Department of Justice is responsible for title II, which applies to state and local governments, and title III, which applies to businesses and non-profit organizations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles all things related to the ADA and employment. Below is a list of the relevant federal agencies.
Department of Justice (DOJ)
The DOJ issues, enforces and provides technical assistance on the ADA regulations governing public accommodations and state and local government services. Technical assistance is provided by telephone and by web-based material on Title II and Title III issues such as service animals, polling places, accessible websites and emergency preparedness.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC issues, enforces and provides technical assistance on the ADA Title I employment regulations. Technical assistance is provided by web-based material on many ADA subjects such as reasonable accommodation, pre-employment inquiries, performance standards and employee medical exams.
The Access Board issues the document that is the basis of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. It provides technical assistance on the Standards by telephone and develops guides to the Standards which include helpful illustrations and animations.
- Technical assistance:
- 800-872-2253 voice
- 800-993-2822 TTY
- Access Board website
- Guide to the ADA Standards
Department of Transportation (DOT)
The DOT issues and enforces the ADA transportation regulations. Most of the ADA provisions fall under the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The FTA Office of Civil Rights is responsible for civil rights compliance and monitoring to ensure nondiscriminatory provision of public transit services.
Other divisions of DOT that have ADA obligations include:
- Federal Highway Administration –ADA compliance in the public right-of-way (roadway travel lanes, medians, planting strips, sidewalks).
- Federal Railroad Administration – Administers intercity and commuter rail compliance with ADA.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – Administers ADA regulations requiring accessible, timely Over-the-Road Bus service for passengers with disabilities.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The FCC enforces ADA regulations covering telecommunication services.
Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
OCR enforces Title II, as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD enforces ADA Title II housing issues. HUD develops and enforces two “companion” housing laws: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Office of Disability Integration and Coordination
FEMA supports citizens and first responders in preparing for, protecting against, responding to, recovering from, and mitigating all hazards.
- ADA Standards for Accessible Design
- ADA Update: A Primer for State and Local Governments
- A Guide to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design
- Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities
- ADA Questions and Answers
- A Guide to Disability Rights Laws
- An ADA Guide for Local Governments: Making Community Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs Accessible to People with Disabilities
- ADA Checklist for Polling Places
- Commonly Asked Questions About the ADA and Law Enforcement
- Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: ADA Guide for Law Enforcement Officers
- Employment Publications – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Employment Publications – Job Accommodation Network
- Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA
- Frequently Asked Questions on Effective Communication for Students with Hearing, Vision, or Speech Disabilities in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools
- Model Policy for Law Enforcement on Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Project Civic Access – Department of Justice Settlement Agreements with counties, cities, towns, and villages
- Protecting the Rights of Parents and Prospective Parents with Disabilities
- Questions and Answers: The ADA and Hiring Police Officers
- Title II Technical Assistance Manual | Supplement
- The ADA and City Governments: Common Problems
ADA National Network
The ADA National Network provides information, guidance and training on implementing the ADA to support the mission of the ADA to “assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.” Funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, the network consists of ten Regional ADA Centers located throughout the country. Each Regional Center has state affiliates and focuses on its region’s unique needs.
- To find your regional Center – www.adata.org
- For technical assistance – 800-949-4232 voice/tty
- Fact sheets, handbooks and guides
ADA Coordinator Certification Program
The ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program (ACTCP) offered by the University of Missouri, is a unique program designed to meet the training and professional needs of ADA Coordinators. ACTCP certification verifies that participants have completed training in required content areas and have a depth of knowledge in ADA issues. Upon completion of the program, ACTCP certifies a knowledge base essential to performing the role of an ADA Coordinator, including: establishing and overseeing grievance procedures, conducting self-evaluation plans, implementation of transition plans, monitoring on-going progress, communicating policy, coordinating activities among a number of departments, identifying and utilizing appropriate resources, knowledge of ADA regulations and guidelines, effective use of resources.
Disability Rights Laws
In addition to the ADA there are many laws that protect the civil rights of people with disabilities. They include the Fair Housing Act, the Air Carrier Access Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to name a few. The following publication, written by the Department of Justice, includes a description of ten laws and the federal agencies that enforce them.
A Guide to Disability Rights Laws – U.S. Department of Justice
Conferences Audio, Conferences, Webinars and Web Courses
National ADA Symposium
The premier, national four-day event includes more than eighty breakout sessions on every aspect of the ADA. It is a project of the ADA National Network and is organized and run by the Great Plains ADA Center.
Annual Mid-Atlantic ADA Update Conference
The region's leading three-day conference, featuring speakers from federal agencies such as the U.S. Departments of Justice and Transportation, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Access Board. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center.
Audio Conferences, Webinars
ADA Audio Conference Series
Provides in-depth information on the ADA. This program is designed to enhance an individual's existing knowledge base or facilitate continued learning regarding regulations and trends under the ADA. A project of the ADA National Network.
ADA Legal Webinar Series
This program is designed for individuals who have a working knowledge of the ADA and are familiar with its basic elements. Sessions are intended to support continued learning and focus on the knowledge that has been gained since the implementation of the law in terms of how the federal agencies and the courts are interpreting the law and subsequent regulations. A project of the ADA National Network.
Accessible Technology Webinar Series
The goal of the series is to increase awareness on technology accessibility for people with disabilities. Electronic information and communications technology have become essential tools in all areas of our lives and working environments today, and are particularly important to people with disabilities by providing equal access to the workplace and social media. A project of the ADA National Network.
AccessibilityOnline Webinar Series
The program includes free webinars and audio conferences on different topics of accessibility. Sessions are held on a monthly basis and cover a variety of topics concerning accessibility to the built environment, information and communication technologies, and transportation. A collaborative program between the ADA National Network and the U.S .Access Board.
Emergency Preparedness Webinars
These free webinars focus on key strategies and approaches at various levels (federal, state, and local) toward emergency management and preparedness and the inclusion of people with disabilities. A project of the Pacific ADA Center and ADA National Network.
Disability Law Lowdown podcasts
The podcasts deliver the latest in disability law information every other week. Listeners can subscribe to the podcasts to have the shows automatically delivered to them. A project of the Southwest ADA Center, Rocky Mountain ADA Center and Great Lakes ADA Center.
All courses are offered at no cost.
ADA Building Blocks
An introductory web-course on the ADA organized in to twelve topics. Each topic contains information as well as real-life examples and self-tests to help you apply what you've learned. Upon completion of the course, you can earn a certificate and one continuing education unit (CEU) if you meet all the "Certificate and CEU Requirements." Developed by the Southeast ADA Center.
ADA Title I: Employment Requirements
Who has obligations under Title I of the ADA, who has rights, pre-employment do's and don'ts, the process for identifying and providing reasonable accommodations, requirements concerning medical information and confidentiality, how to troubleshoot job performance and safety issues and the complaint process. Approximately 2.5 hours. Approved for 2.5 credits from the HR Certification Institute the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.
ADA Title II Tutorial
A self-paced tutorial designed to provide you with the basic principles and core concepts of Title II of ADA. Upon completion you will be able to discuss the purpose of the ADA using a civil rights framework summarize what is required under Title II of the ADA, explain each nondiscrimination requirement for Title II of the ADA, identify the defenses or limitations of each nondiscrimination requirement for Title II of the ADA and locate and use various resources for information on the ADA. Developed by the Southeast ADA Center.
Architectural Accessibility Laws
Overview of the four major federal laws that require accessibility in new construction or alterations: the ADA, the Architectural Barriers Act, the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. At the end of the course you should be able to determine which laws apply to different projects. Approximately 90 minutes. Approved for 1.5 LU/HSW credits from the American Institute of Architects.
At Your Service: Welcoming Customers with Disabilities
An on-line course on how to effectively serve customers with a variety of disabilities. The course includes case studies and tests. Developed by the Southeast ADA Center.
Disability Rights Overview
An introduction to four major federal disability rights laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Air Carrier Access Act. At the end of the course you should be able to determine which laws apply to different discriminatory situations. Approximately 2 hours. Approved for 2 credits from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.
Reaching Out to Customers with Disabilities
This course explains how the ADA applies to businesses in ten short lessons. Putting these lessons into practice helps you comply with the ADA and welcome a new group of customers to purchase your goods, products, and services. You may go through the lessons at your own pace and as time allows. Brought to you by the U.S. Department of Justice.