Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Introduction to the Americans with Disabilities Act

Barriers to employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services, and telecommunications have imposed staggering economic and social costs on American society and have undermined efforts by people with disabilities to receive an education, become employed, and be contributing members of society. By breaking down these barriers, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enables society to benefit from the skills and talents of individuals with disabilities, will allow us all to gain from their increased purchasing power and ability to use it, and will lead to fuller, more productive lives for all Americans.

The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

(these two paragraphs from The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life -- to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 -- the ADA is an "equal opportunity" law for people with disabilities.

To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as 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.

How to Get Technical Assistance on the ADA

Technical Assistance RepresentativeThe Pacific Center staffs a toll-free information line and provides informal guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Accessible Information Technology. The center's Technical Assistants can answer most questions you have immediately. Questions which require research will be handled in a professional and prompt manner.

Technical Assistance is available from the Pacific ADA Center Monday - Friday, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time at 800-949-4232 or contact us online. All calls are confidential.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following "Frequently Asked Questions" are designed to provide answers to some of the most often asked questions about the ADA. They have been divided into four categories:

library of booksSearch 15 ADA-related Web sites which feature topics such as Employment, State & Local Government, Private Business, Facility Access, Transportation, Communications, Interpretation Letters and Enforcement. Begin your search.

ADA Materials

IT Materials

Additional ADA Information

Useful Telephone Numbers for ADA Information

This list contains the telephone numbers and Internet addresses of federal agencies and other organizations that provide information about the Americans with Disabilities Act and informal guidance in understanding and complying with the ADA.

Names, telephone numbers and websites of federal agencies and other organizations that provide information about the ADA
Federal Agency or OrganizationTelephone NumberWebsite
ADA Information Line at U.S. Department of Justice800-514-0301 (voice) 800-514-0383 (TTY)
Federal Communications Commission888-225-5322 (voice) 888-835-5322 (TTY)
U.S. Access Board800-872-2253 (voice)
800-993-2822 (TTY)
U.S. Department of Education/Office for Civil Rights800-421-3481
877-521-2172 (TTY)
U.S. Department of Transportation ADA Assistance Line888-446-4511 (voice)
TTY: use relay service
U.S. Department of Transportation Project Action800-659-6428 (voice)
TTY: use relay service
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionFor publications:
800-669-3362 (voice),
800-800-3302 (TTY)
For questions:
800-669-4000 (voice),
800-669-6820 (TTY)
U.S. Department of Labor's Job Accommodation Network800-526-7234 (voice)
877-781-9403 (TTY)

Addresses for ADA Information

This document is available in the following accessible formats:

To request an accessible format, call the ADA National Network at 800-949-4232 (V/TTY).

ADA National Network Regional Centers

The ADA National Network consists of 10 regional ADA centers distributed throughout the United States to provide local assistance and foster implementation of the ADA.

Call us toll free at 1-800-949-4232 (Voice/TTY), or contact your center directly.

RegionStates coveredTelephone numberWebsite
Region 1Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont (617) 695-0085 (V/TTY)
Region 2New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands(607) 255-6686 (V/TTY)
Region 3Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia (301) 217-0124 (V/TTY)
Region 4Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee(404) 541-9001 (V/TTY)
Region 5Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin(312) 413-1407 (V/TTY)
Region 6Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas(713) 520-0232 (V/TTY)
Region 7Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska(573) 882-3600 (V/TTY)
Region 8Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming(719) 444-0268 (V/TTY)
Region 9Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific Basin(510) 285-5600 (V/TTY)
Region 10Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington(425) 248-2480 (V) (425) 771-7426 (TTY)