Section 504 prohibits disability-based discrimination in programs receiving federal financial assistance. Consequently, Section 504 applies to public schools and postsecondary school programs which receive federal dollars.
This law states that no otherwise qualified disabled individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of a disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Under Section 504, public schools have an obligation to make their programs and facilities accessible to and usable by students, staff and other school participants who have disabilities. Thus a child's need for wheelchair accessible facilities, an assistive technology device or a change in class location might be addressed through Section 504. When a child with a disability does not qualify under IDEA because he/she does not need special education, a Section 504 Plan may be developed for the child to address any needs for accessibility, special equipment or school policy adjustments.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended) establishes a joint state-federal system of vocational rehabilitation and also prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs conducted by federal agencies, programs receiving federal financial assistance, in federal employment and in the employment practices of federal contractors. The Act also requires that electronic and information technology acquired by federal agencies be accessible to federal employees with disabilities and to persons with disabilities who are part of the public seeking information or services from federal agencies.