Your Rights

Air Carrier Access Act

  • The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination in air transportation by domestic and foreign air carriers against qualified individuals with physical or mental impairments. It applies only to air carriers that provide regularly scheduled services for hire to the public.
  • Requirements address a wide range of issues including boarding assistance and certain accessibility features in newly built aircraft and new or altered airport facilities.
  • People may enforce rights under the Air Carrier Access Act by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation, or by bringing a lawsuit in Federal court.
  • For more information click here.

Americans with Disabilities Act

  • The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications. It also applies to the United States Congress. 
  • To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered. 
  • For more information about the Americans with Disabilities Act, please visit the  
  • ADA and Face Masks (information related to COVID-19 regulations) 
  • Alabama’s Toll Free Hotline for ADA Information800-205-9986 
  • In 1998, the Legislature passed Act No. 98-255, which created a service in the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services to provide information on rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The service was initially funded Oct. 1, 1998 and was activated through the use of a toll-free telephone line. Calls received on either line after regular office hours are recorded by a voicemail system. Callers can receive non-binding information on rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) from an assistant attorney general with over 20 years of experience working with the ADA. Free ADA training is also available. 

Architectural Barriers Act 

  • The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) requires that buildings and facilities that are designed, constructed or altered with Federal funds, or leased by a Federal agency, comply with Federal standards for physical accessibility. 
  • ABA requirements are limited to architectural standards in new and altered buildings and in newly leased facilities. They do not address the activities conducted in those buildings and facilities. Facilities of the U.S. Postal Service are covered by the ABA. For more information visit

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act 

  • The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) authorizes the U.S. Attorney General to investigate conditions of confinement at State and local government institutions such as prisons, jails, pretrial detention centers, juvenile correctional facilities, publicly operated nursing homes, and institutions for people with psychiatric or developmental disabilities. 
  • Its purpose is to allow the Attorney General to uncover and correct widespread deficiencies that seriously jeopardize the health and safety of residents of institutions. The Attorney General does not have authority under CRIPA to investigate isolated incidents or to represent individual institutionalized persons. 
  • The Attorney General may initiate civil lawsuits where there is reasonable cause to believe that conditions are “egregious or flagrant,” that they are subjecting residents to “grievous harm,” and that they are part of a “pattern or practice” of resistance to residents’ full enjoyment of constitutional or Federal rights, including title II of the ADA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. 
  • For additional information, visit the DOJ website. 

Fair Housing Act 

  • The Fair Housing Act, as amended in 1988, prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin. Its coverage includes private housing, housing that receives Federal financial assistance, and State and local government housing. 
  • It is unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing or to deny a dwelling to a buyer or renter because of the disability of that individual, an individual associated with the buyer or renter, or an individual who intends to live in the residence. Other covered activities include, for example, financing, zoning practices, new construction design, and advertising. 
  • The Fair Housing Act requires owners of housing facilities to make reasonable exceptions in their policies and operations to afford people with disabilities equal housing opportunities. For example, a landlord with a “no pets” policy may be required to grant an exception to this rule and allow an individual who is blind to keep a guide dog in the residence. 
  • The Fair Housing Act also requires landlords to allow tenants with disabilities to make reasonable access-related modifications to their private living space, as well as to common use spaces. (The landlord is not required to pay for the changes.) 
  • The Act further requires that new multifamily housing with four or more units be designed and built to allow access for persons with disabilities. This includes accessible common use areas, doors that are wide enough for wheelchairs, kitchens and bathrooms that allow a person using a wheelchair to maneuver, and other adaptable features within the units. 
  • For questions about the accessibility provisions of the Fair Housing Act, see HUD and DOJ joint statement. 
  • To file a file a Fair Housing complaint, visit HUD’s website. 

General Sources of Disability Rights Information 

ADA Information Line
(800) 514-0301 (voice)
(800) 514-0383 (TTY) 

State of Alabama Client Assistance Program (SACAP)-The State of Alabama Client Assistance Program (SACAP) is a federally-funded program designed to assist individuals with disabilities in resolving problems they may experience with any of Alabama’s federally-funded rehabilitation programs.SACAP serves as a liaison to assist all eligible Alabama residents with disabilities in receiving services as provided under the federal Rehabilitation Act and the employment section of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Visitability– Making ALL new homes visitable, not just “special homes”. Being at the party, the meeting, the family reunion…not isolated.  Three essentials that must become the default in home construction practice: 1. One zero step entrance, at the front, back, or side of the house; 2. All main floor doors, including bathrooms, with at least 32 inches of clear passage space; and 3. At least half a bath, preferably a full bath, on the main floor. 

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (formerly called P.L. 94-142 or the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975) requires public schools to make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individual needs. 
  • IDEA requires public school systems to develop appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEP’s) for each child. The specific special education and related services outlined in each IEP reflect the individualized needs of each student. 
  • For more information visit 

Rehabilitation Act 

  • The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in programs receiving Federal financial assistance, in Federal employment and in the employment practices of Federal contractors. 
  • The standards for determining employment discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act are the same as those used in title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
  • Section 501 requires affirmative action and nondiscrimination in employment by Federal agencies of the executive branch. To obtain more information or to file a complaint, employees should contact their agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office. Section 503 requires affirmative action and prohibits employment discrimination by Federal government contractors and subcontractors with contracts of more than $10,000.
  • Section 504 states that “no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under” any program or activity that either receives Federal financial assistance or is conducted by any Executive agency or the United States Postal Service.  Each Federal agency has its own set of section 504 regulations that apply to its own programs. Agencies that provide Federal financial assistance also have section 504 regulations covering entities that receive Federal aid. Requirements common to these regulations include reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities; program accessibility; effective communication with people who have hearing or vision disabilities; and accessible new construction and alterations. Each agency is responsible for enforcing its own regulations. Section 504 may also be enforced through private lawsuits. It is not necessary to file a complaint with a Federal agency or to receive a “right-to-sue” letter before going to court.
  • Section 508 establishes requirements for electronic and information technology developed, maintained, procured, or used by the Federal government. Section 508 requires Federal electronic and information technology to be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and members of the public.   An accessible information technology system is one that can be operated in a variety of ways and does not rely on a single sense or ability of the user. For example, a system that provides output only in visual format may not be accessible to people with visual impairments and a system that provides output only in audio format may not be accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Some individuals with disabilities may need accessibility-related software or peripheral devices in order to use systems that comply with Section 508. 

Voting Accessibility 

Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act 

  • The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 generally requires polling places across the United States to be physically accessible to people with disabilities for federal elections. 
  • Where no accessible location is available to serve as a polling place, a political subdivision must provide an alternate means of casting a ballot on the day of the election. 
  • This law also requires states to make available registration and voting aids for disabled and elderly voters, including information by telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDDs) which are also known as teletypewriters (TTYs). 
  • Effective September 15, 2015:  A polling official may allow a voter who is physically disabled or over the age of 70 to move to the front of the line at a polling place upon request of the voter. 

Polling Site Accessibility- ADA Checklist for Polling Places. An evaluation of polling place accessibility should focus on those areas of a facility that are important to voting. These often include parking for voters, a drop off or loading area, the entrance to the polling place, and the pedestrian routes (interior and exterior) that voters use to get to the voter check-in and voting areas. 

Voter Registration: Visit the Alabama Secretary of State’s website for more information on voter registration.