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Equal Access to Public and Private Services

Section 504, as it is often called, is a federal civil rights law that covers the rights of all individuals with disabilities. It prohibits disability discrimination by any program or activity that receives federal funds.

For example, it applies to hospitals, universities, nursing homes, mental health centers, human service programs, public schools and vocational programs. State and local government agencies and programs, public services, are also covered.

Individuals with disabilities are defined as persons with a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.

  • Caring for one's self
  • Walking
  • Seeing
  • Hearing
  • Speaking
  • Breathing
  • Working
  • Performing manual tasks
  • Learning

The State of Connecticut and all towns in Connecticut are covered public entities covered by Title II of the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and state law,§ 46a-71. Public entities are required to make all of their programs, activities and services readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. New construction must comply with accessibility standards.

Existing facilities where programs, services, and activities are provided must be readily accessible. Curb cuts must be installed whenever a street is repaved or altered. Curb cuts should be installed on a regular schedule for all existing streets with a priority for essential and important buildings and services.

The state and towns must provide effective communication including TDD, ASL, and Braille. Finally, the state and towns must provide accessible fixed route bus service and paratransit.

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