Office of Disability Rights

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Requirements of Title II

Equality in participation and benefits: Persons with disabilities must have an equally effective opportunity to participate in or benefit from District programs, services, and activities.


  • A deaf or hard of hearing individual does not experience equal opportunity to benefit from attending a public meeting unless s/he has access to what is said through an interpreter or by being provided with an assistive listening device or real-time captioning.
  • A wheelchair user will not have an equal opportunity to participate in a program if applications must be filed on the second floor of a building without an elevator.
  • Use of printed information alone is not equally effective for those with low vision who cannot read regular written material.

Reasonable modifications: The District must reasonably modify its policies, practices, or procedures to ensure access and equal opportunity to individuals with disabilities.


  • A municipal zoning ordinance requires a set-back of 12 feet from the curb in the central business district. In order to install a ramp to the front entrance of a pharmacy, the owner must encroach on the set-back by three feet. Granting a variance in the zoning requirement may be a reasonable modification of policy.
  • A government provides emergency food, shelter, and cash grants to individuals who can demonstrate their eligibility. The application process, however, is extremely lengthy and complex. When many individuals with intellectual and mental disabilities apply for benefits, they are unable to complete the application process successfully. As a result, they are effectively denied benefits to which they are otherwise entitled. In this case, the government agency has an obligation to make reasonable modifications to its application process to ensure that otherwise eligible individuals are not denied needed benefits. Modifications to the relief program might include simplifying the application process or providing applicants who have intellectual and mental disabilities with individualized assistance to complete the process.
  • A person is required to appear in traffic court for a morning appointment. However, because of the person's disability, or the medication that she is on to manage her disability, she is unable to make a morning appointment. The court would have an obligation to provide her with a court appointment that she would be able to attend.

Other examples include allowing a person with a mobility limitation to sit down while "waiting in line," or simply being more patient with a person who takes longer to express himself or be understood, because of a disability.