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Final Rulings on Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Department of Justice has released their final rulings under Title II of the Americans Disabilities Act. Learn what this ruling means, who is affected, and more.

Globally, approximately 1.3 billion people have significant disabilities, emphasizing the critical need for accessible digital services. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that websites and mobile apps are accessible to all users. 

On April 8, 2024, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland finalized a ruling under Title II of the ADA, requiring state and local governments to make their digital services accessible to people with disabilities. 

“This final rule marks the Justice Department’s latest effort to ensure that no person is denied access to government services, programs, or activities because of a disability.”

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. 

So what does this ruling clarify? And how do you know if this final ruling applies to you? This post will discuss the DOJ’s new ruling under Title II of the ADA. It will explain who is affected by this ruling and clarify when compliance is required. 

Who is Affected? 

The ruling targets state and local governments that provide digital interactions via websites and mobile apps. Affected public entities include: 

  • Public educational institutions (schools, colleges, universities) 
  • Public hospitals and healthcare clinics 
  • State and local courts 
  • Public libraries 
  • Technology vendors working for or selling to public entities must ensure their products meet accessibility standards. 

For detailed information on affected entities, refer to the ADA fact sheet

What’s Included in the New Ruling?  

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has established rules for web and mobile content that require public entities to adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA. Exceptions apply to public entities where adherence would fundamentally alter services or impose undue financial and administrative burdens. 

Exceptions to the Ruling 

  • Archived web content. 
  • Pre-existing electronic documents. 
  • Third-party content not affiliated with a public entity. 
  • Password-protected individual documents. 
  • Pre-existing social media posts. 

For a comprehensive breakdown of these exceptions, visit the ADA’s summary page. 

When is the Deadline to Comply?  

Once the ruling is published, the timeline for implementing these changes varies: 

  • Public entities serving over 50,000 people: 2 years 
  • Public entities serving fewer than 50,000 people: 3 years 
  • Special district governments: 3 years 

How Can State and Local Governments Comply? 

State and local governments can ensure compliance by: 

Visit the ADA website for more information on compliance strategies and the full implications of the new ruling.