The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act are federal laws that address the rights of individuals with disabilities. IDEA is a federal funding statute that provides limited financial aid to states to ensure adequate and appropriate services for children with disabilities. Section 504 is a broad civil rights law that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 and extends the prohibition of discrimination established by Section 504 to entities that do not receive federal financial assistance. Specifically, Title II of the ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in the services, programs, or activities of all state and local governments.
Please also see our Section 504 Frequently Asked Questions.