Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual

Rights and Responsibilities

Revised:

31.4

DISCRIMINATORY CONDUCT ON THE BASIS OF HANDICAP/DISABILITY THAT IS PROHIBITED IN PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

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DHS may not discriminate against any qualified individual with a disability in providing services or administering any program or activity, whether or not the program receives federal financial assistance.  In general, an individual with a disability is “qualified” if that person meets the essential eligibility requirements for receipt of services or participation in the program or activity.  DHS may not refuse to allow a person with a disability to participate because the person has a disability.  It may be necessary to make reasonable accommodations to allow participation.  DHS may not harass a program participant or applicant based on a disability.

 

Examples:

 

·        The director of a day care program which includes children of Families First participants who are attending employment training programs may not refuse to accept children who have emotional problems or who take medication for their disabilities.

 

·        Families First recipients with disabilities may not be prohibited from work activities, education, or training opportunities based on assumptions that such individuals are not qualified to participate in training or work.

 

·        A community college offering job-training for Families First participants may not require students with disabilities to provide medical histories if such histories are not required of all students.

 

DHS is required to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures that deny equal access to individuals with disabilities, unless a fundamental alteration in the program would result.

 

Examples:

 

·        Job-training courses for Families First participants must extend testing time when a person with a learning disability requests extra time to complete the test because of his/her disability.  The course provider may ask the individual who is seeking extra time to provide reasonable documentation of the learning disability and the additional time that is required.

 

·        A Families First applicant with a mental disability who is unable to complete the application must be assisted.

 

·        If an individual with a disability, with or without reasonable accommodation, is unable to perform the essential functions of an available job, the Department should seek alternative solutions.  As appropriate, the work activity contractor may intervene with an employer to determine if specific job functions are essential and what, if any, accommodations can be made to assist the client. Bulletin 33, FA-07-14

 

DHS must ensure that programs and services are provided in an integrated setting, unless separate or different measures are necessary to ensure equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities.  Programs that provide special benefits to people with disabilities are permitted, but people with disabilities cannot be compelled to participate in those programs.

 

Examples:

 

·        A county DHS office may offer an alternate site for an eligibility interview at the Community Mental Health Center for those with mental disabilities.  However, the office may not require people with mental disabilities to go to an alternate site for interviews.

 

·        A county DHS office may not require people with HIV to be served in a separate room from the other participants.

 

·        A county vocational training program may offer special training opportunities for people with vision impairments.  However, it may not require people with impairments to participate in a special program or refuse to permit them to participate in courses open to other program participants.

 

DHS must ensure effective communication with individuals who have hearing, speech, or vision impairments.  Programs must provide auxiliary aids and services when necessary to ensure effective communication for program purposes.  However, they are not required to provide auxiliary aids that will result in undue financial and administrative burdens on the agency.  Any questions regarding the potential burdens that may result from the provision of such aids must be referred to the State Office.  Examples of auxiliary aids are Braille materials, sign language interpreters, readers, or text telephones (TTYs). Bulletin 33, FA-07-14

 

Examples:

 

·        A job placement program that makes information about job openings available by telephone must ensure that the information is available to users of TTYs.

 

·        Printed information for applicants/participants about welfare eligibility requirements must also be provided on audiotape or in Braille for people who have vision impairments, or materials must be read to them.

 

·        Job training programs for Families First participants must provide sign language interpreters for deaf students when it is necessary to ensure effective communication for those students.

 

DHS may not exclude individuals with disabilities from programs and activities because buildings are inaccessible.  However, the providers are not required to take any action that would result in the fundamental alteration in the nature of a program or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens.  This means that providers need not remove physical barriers, such as stairs in existing buildings, as long as the programs are made accessible to individuals with disabilities in other locations or through other methods.

 

Examples:

 

·        A DHS office that is located on the second floor of a building that has no elevator may make its services available to an applicant who uses a wheelchair by meeting with that applicant in an accessible ground floor office.

 

·        A job-training program that usually offers classes in an inaccessible second-floor classroom may make its program accessible by relocating the class to an accessible classroom in another building.

 

An applicant with a physical disability who cannot be accommodated at the county office must be offered an alternative to the office interview that will accommodate his/her needs and, at the same time, satisfy program requirements.

 

Glossary

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