The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to restoration of damaged facilities under the Stafford Act. ADA requires that any building or facility that is accessible to the public or any residence or workplace be accessible to and useable by disabled persons.
When FEMA provides assistance to replace a damaged facility, the facility must meet applicable access requirements. FEMA will provide funds to comply with ADA when replacing a facility, whether or not the facility met compliance prior to the disaster. However, a new facility funded as an alternate or improved project is limited to the eligible funding for the original facility even when the new facility has to comply with additional ADA requirements.
For buildings eligible for repair, FEMA will fund the cost of ADA compliance requirements to the damaged elements of the facility. In addition, FEMA may fund ADA compliance requirements for non-damaged elements associated with a path of travel for a primary function area that is damaged. A primary function area is where a major activity occurs for which the facility is intended, such as the dining area of a cafeteria. For primary function areas, FEMA will fund ADA compliance requirements for providing an accessible travel path and service facilities up to 20 percent of the total cost of repair to the primary function area.
Non-damaged areas of a damaged facility are not required to meet ADA requirements unless they are part of the travel path or service facility to a damaged primary function area, as described above.
Applicants notified of an ADA violation prior to the disaster and required to bring the facility into compliance are not eligible to receive FEMA funding to comply with accessibility requirements related to that violation.
References: 44 CFR §206.226(d)
36 CFR Part 1190
28 CFR Part 35
American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Access Requirements, FEMA Policy 9525.5, dated October 26, 2000
Public Assistance Guide, FEMA 322, pages 35-36