Ttile II - Program Accessibility
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that people with disabilities cannot be excluded from the programs, activities or services offered by a public entity because of inaccessible facilities. The law does allow public entities some flexibility in how to meet this requirement such as:
- Reassignment of services to an accessible location if the facility is not accessible.
- Home visits.
- Purchase or redesign of equipment.
- Assignment of aides to beneficiaries.
- Structural changes to eliminate barriers.
A program will be viewed in its entirety for purposes of determining compliance with program accessibility. A public entity is not necessarily required to make each of its existing facilities accessible if alternative, accessible locations are available. However, where distance between facilities create barriers to program accessibility, structural changes may be necessary at additional sites in order to achieve program accessibility.
Providing program accessibility is not expected to result in undue burdens for most public entities. All resources of the public entity available for use in the funding and operation of the program must be considered. Any decision that achieving program accessibility would result in a fundamental alteration or create undue burdens must be made by the head of the entity or other senior official who has budgetary and spending authority or a staff person designated by that official.
Buildings that are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or designated as historic under state or local laws are treated as special cases under the ADA. Although these buildings are not required to take any action that would threaten or destroy the historic significance of the property the programs within them must be made accessible to people with disabilities. When alterations are planned in historic buildings they should address specific access requirements outline in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines.
All new construction and alterations to existing facilities must be readily accessible to and useable by people with disabilities. Note there is a distinction between Facility Access Requirements for Title II and Title III of the ADA. Under Title III, all existing privately owned or leased facilities open to the public must make structural changes that are readily achievable. Under Title II, physical modifications are necessary only when there is no other way to make the program accessible. Under Title II public entities can chose between the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). West Virginia uses the ADAAG.