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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois



Girl in wheelchair on accessible playground.The ADA protects people with disabilities who need government services

Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state and local governments must not discriminate against people with disabilities.

Note: The ADA does not cover programs and services provided by the federal government.  However, another law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, does cover disability discrimination by federally funded entities.

State and local governments must make reasonable modifications

Title II of the ADA requires governments to reasonably modify their policies, practices or procedures to avoid discrimination, unless a modification would fundamentally alter the nature of their service, program or activity.

A public entity must also eliminate any eligibility criteria for participation in programs, activities and services that screen out or tend to screen out people with disabilities, unless it can demonstrate that the requirements are necessary.

State and local governments must provide “program accessibility”

A state or local government must ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from services, programs and activities because buildings are inaccessible.  This is known as “program accessibility.” Public entities do not necessarily have to make each of their buildings accessible. They may provide access to programs in several ways, including:

  • Altering buildings
  • Buying or building additional spaces
  • Moving a service or program to an accessible location

However, the ADA requires that all new buildings constructed by a state or local government be accessible. In addition, when a state or local government alters a building, it must make the altered portions accessible.


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Last updated: September 10, 2021

This website is made possible by funding support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, both the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of Equip for Equality and do not necessarily represent the official view of any of these agencies.

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