Protections for People with Disabilities


As people grow older, they are more likely to experience a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people of all ages who have physical or mental disabilities. The ADA prohibits discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications. It affords protections equivalent to those granted under prior civil rights laws. Those laws covered bias on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. The ADA seeks to end a legacy of segregation and degradation. It also requires employers, public officials, and private entrepreneurs to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. This includes adjustments in policies and practices. For example, a business that normally prohibits animals could allow individuals with disabilities to use service dogs. The ADA requires public agencies to provide services and care for people with disabilities in the most integrated community setting possible. This is called the integration mandate.



Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The federal government should broadly interpret and vigorously enforce the ADA.

The federal government should make federally funded buildings and programs accessible to people with disabilities. Providers of public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications in the private sector should be required to meet the same obligations.

Congress should provide adequate funding and personnel for effective enforcement of the integration mandate of the ADA.

Policymakers should implement state and local disability access and other antidiscrimination requirements that mandate more comprehensive protection than that provided by federal law.

Assistive technology

The federal government should encourage the design and distribution of technological devices that assist people with disabilities in leading meaningful and independent lives. Policymakers should expedite funding for priority research, demonstration projects, and referral programs for these devices.