U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Oct 07, 2022
This subpart applies to all programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance provided by the Department of Agriculture after the effective date of this part.
No qualified handicapped person shall, because a recipient's facilities are inaccessible to or unusuable by handicapped persons, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving assistance from this Department.
(a) Accessibility. A recipient shall operate each assisted program or activity so that when each part is viewed in its entirety it is readily accessible to and usable by qualified handicapped persons. This paragraph does not necessarily require a recipient to make each of its existing facilities or every part of an existing facility accessible to and usable by qualified handicapped persons.
(b) Method. A recipient may comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section through such means as redesign of equipment, reassignment of classes or other services to accessible buildings, assignment of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, delivery of services at alternate accessible sites, alteration of exiting facilities and construction of new facilities in conformance with the requirements of § 15b.19, or any other method that results in making its program or activity accessible to qualified handicapped persons. A recipient is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities where other methods are effective in achieving compliance with paragraph (a) of this section. In choosing among available methods for meeting the requirement of paragraph (a) of this section, a recipient shall give priority to those methods that serve qualified handicapped persons in the most intergrated setting appropriate.
(c) Small providers. If a recipient with fewer than fifteen employees finds, after consultation with a handicapped person seeking its services, that there is no method of complying with paragraph (a) of this section other than by making a significant alteration in its existing facilities, the recipient may, as an alternative, refer the handicapped person to other providers of those services that are accessible at no additional cost to handicapped persons.
(d) Application for modification of requirements. Recipients that determine after a self-evaluation conducted according to the requirements of § 15b.8(c), that accessibility can only be accomplished through substantial modifications which would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or activity, may apply to the Secretary for a modification of the requirements of this section.
(e) Historic Preservation Programs; Application for waiver of program accessibility requirements. (1) A recipient shall operate each assisted program or activity involving Historic Preservation Programs so that when each part is viewed in its entirety it is readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons. This paragraph does not necessarily require a recipient to make each of its existing historic properties or every part of an historic property accessible to and usable by handicapped persons. Methods of achieving accessibility include:
(i) Making physical alterations which enable handicapped persons to have access to otherwise inaccessible areas or features of historic properties;
(ii) Using audio-visual materials and devices to depict otherwise inaccessible areas or features of historic properties;
(iii) Assigning persons to guide handicapped persons into or through otherwise inaccessible portions of historic properties;
(iv) Adopting other innovative methods to achieve accessibility. Because the primary benefit of an Historic Preservation Program is the experience of the historic property itself, in taking steps to achieve accessibility, recipients shall give priority to those means which make the historic property, or portions thereof physicially accessible to handicapped individuals.
(2) Where accessibility cannot be achieved without causing a substantial impairment of significant historic features, the Secretary may grant a waiver of the accessibility requirement. In determining whether accessibility can be achieved without causing a substantial impairment, the Secretary shall consider the following factors:
(i) Scale of property, reflecting its ability to absorb alterations;
(ii) Use of the property, whether primarily for public or private purpose;
(iii) Importance of the historic features of the property to the conduct of the program or activity; and,
(iv) Cost of alterations in comparison to the increase in accessibility.
(3) Where the property is federally owned or where Federal funds may be used for alterations, the comments of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation shall be obtained when required by section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470), and 36 CFR part 800, prior to effectuation of structural alterations.
(f) Time period. A recipient shall comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section within sixty days of the effective date of this part except that where structural changes in facilities are necessary, such changes shall be made within three years of the effective date of this part and as expeditiously as possible.
(g) Transition plan. In the event that structural changes to facilities are necessary to meet the requirement of paragraph (a) of this section, a recipient shall develop, within one year of the effective date of this part, a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. The plan shall be developed with the assistance of interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons. A copy of the transition plan shall be made available for public inspection. The plan shall, at a minimum:
(1) Identify physical obstacles in the recipient's facilities that limit the accessibility of its program or activity to handicapped persons;
(2) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;
(3) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve full accessibility under paragraph (a) of this section and if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and
(4) Identify the person responsible for implementation of the plan.
(a) Design and construction. Each facility or part of a facility constructed by, on behalf of, or for the use of a recipient shall be designed and constructed in such manner that the facility or part of the facility is readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons, if the construction is commenced after the effective date of this part.
(b) Alteration. Each facility or part of a facility which is altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of a recipient after the effective date of this part in a manner that affects or could affect the usability of the facility or part of the facility shall to the maximum extent feasible, be altered in such manner that the altered portion of the facility is readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons.
(c) Conformance with Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. (1) Effective as of January 18, 1991, design, construction, or alteration of buildings in conformance with sections 3-8 of the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (USAF) (appendix A to 41 CFR subpart 101-19.6) shall be deemed to comply with the requirements of this section with respect to those buildings. Departures from particular technical and scoping requirements of UFAS by the use of other methods are permitted where substantially equivalent or greater access to and usability of the building is provided.
(2) For purposes of this section, section 4.1.6(1)(g) of UFAS shall be interpreted to exempt from the requirements of UFAS only mechanical rooms and other spaces that, because of their intended use, will not require accessibility to the public or beneficiaries or result in the employment or residence therein of persons with physical handicaps.
(3) This section does not require recipients to make building alterations that have little likelihood of being accomplished without removing or altering a load-bearing structural member.
(d) Compliance with the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968. Nothing in this section of § 15b.18 relieves recipients, whose facilities are covered by the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4151-4157) from their responsibility of complying with the requirements of that Act and any implementing regulations.