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The White House Marks ADA Anniversary and Announces Resources to Support Individuals with Long COVID

July 26, 2021
Source: The White House

Today, on the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we celebrate the inclusion and access promoted by the landmark civil rights law for disabled Americans. Grounded in four core outcomes of full participation, equal opportunity, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency, the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in contexts such as of public accommodation, employment, transportation, and community living and provides recourse for people with disabilities who faced discrimination. The nation has made significant progress since the law was signed. To commemorate this day, President Biden will sign a proclamation marking the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2021.

Today the Administration is also releasing a package of guidance and resources to support individuals experiencing the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 or “Post-​Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC),” known commonly as “long COVID.” The announcements from the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice, Education, and Labor provide information about where individuals can access resources and accommodations and clarifies the rights for health and educational services and supports. This includes:

  • Guidance explaining that long COVID can be a disability under various Federal civil rights laws. The Office for Civil Rights at HHS and Department of Justice released guidance explaining that some individuals with long COVID may have a disability under various civil rights laws that entitles them to protection from discrimination.[Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557 [PDF] and Civil Rights and COVID-19]
  • Guidance that addresses the needs of children with long COVID who may be children with disabilities. The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued a resource document providing information about schools’ and public agencies’ responsibilities for the provision of services and reasonable modifications to children and students for whom long COVID is a disability. 
  • Access to resources on disability support services. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) at HHS released a guide to community-based resources that can help people if they now need assistance to live in their own home, go to work or school, or participate in the community. These resources can provide information about what is available locally; help people connect to services, such as transportation and personal care attendants; help arrange reasonable accommodations and access vaccinations; and more. [ How ACL Disability and Aging Networks Can Help People with Long COVID [PDF]
  • Information about accommodations in the workplace.  The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the Department of Labor launched a new webpage  that includes resources on long COVID organized by stakeholder groups, such as workers, youth and young adults, and employers.  The resources include information on requesting and providing workplace accommodations for individuals with long COVID. In addition, ODEP released a blog discussing the impact of long COVID on workers with disabilities.

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