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People with Disabilities

I Have a Disability. What Are My Rights under Section 504?

If you have a disability, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protects you from discrimination in HUD-funded programs for which you qualify. This law is commonly called "Section 504." If you qualify for a program, no one can deny you the right to participate or benefit from it on the basis of your disability. Section 504 also protects you from being placed in a separate program for disabled persons simply because you have a disability.

HUD's Section 504 regulations define an individual with a disability as any person who has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment (24 CFR 8.3). Major life activities include walking, talking, hearing, seeing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, and caring for oneself. The law also applies to individuals who have a history of such impairments as well as those who are perceived as having such an impairment.

A person who meets the above definition, and who is otherwise qualified for program, service or activity, is covered under Section 504. To be otherwise qualified means the individual meets the essential eligibility requirements, including, for example, requirements for tenancy if the program is a housing program.