Rehabilitation Act 1973 Helps The Disabled Lead A Respectable Life


Increasingly pressurized by special interest and advocacy groups, the Congress of United States passed Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The main concept of this legislation is to ensure that no discriminations occur in any Federal program, primarily those programs dependent upon financial aid of the federal government.

The law also forbids any discrimination by contractors of the Federal government where employment opportunities are in question. The title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act is used to decide what amounts to employment discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act. Four main sections have been listed in this legislation.

Section 501
The Section 501 of Rehabilitation Act has made provision to ensure that no discrimination takes place against the handicapped. It has also made provision for affirmative action for the benefit of the disabled. The Federal agencies of the executive branch are the main subject of Section 501. The Equal Employment Opportunity Office of concerned Federal agency is earmarked as the single point of contact under this regulation.

Section 503
This is the section which regulates employment policy of Federal contractors. According to Section 503, any Federal contractor or subcontractor handling project valued more than USD 10,000 is bound by the provisions of Rehabilitation Act.

Section 504
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act  is the heart and soul of this entire legislation. It is in fact one of the foundation stones of the legal framework created for the benefit of the people of United States who are physically challenged. This section provides equal civil rights to people with disabilities as are available to any common citizen of United States. Regardless a person with disabilities is a minor or an adult, he shall be provided equal opportunities in education, employment and various other settings. In addition to this, section 504 mandates that special accommodations like disabled friendly study areas be made for the benefit of these people. Such arrangements can be done on a need basis and as per individual requirements.

Section 504 further mandates that separate regulations be implemented by Federal government agencies so as to implement appropriate benefit programs. A number of common requirements have been defined in the regulations like providing accommodation, accessibility facilities, communication support systems for people who have visual or vocal problems. Additionally, all new construction and repair work should be disabled friendly. Private lawsuits are available as an enforcement option.

Section 508
This section is laid down to ensure that all information technology and electronic systems that are being used by the federal government should be made accessible to people with disabilities. This includes equipment with special features or specially designed equipment.

To put in a nutshell, Rehabilitation Act has made interacting and working with Federal agencies extremely easy for people with disabilities.