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Potential Updates to Strengthen Section 504 Regulations

The U.S. Department of Education plans to make forthcoming improvements and changes to regulations that govern Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If your clients have students who receive 504 benefits and services, these changes may affect them. Direct Care Innovations values high-quality care for individuals with disabilities and supports caregiving agencies working with them and their families. While not much is known yet on various changes that will be made, we would like to share more about Section 504 and why these updates are essential.

Section 504

What Is Section 504?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protects individuals with physical, developmental, intellectual, and mental health disabilities from discrimination in educational programs and employment settings, specifically, those who receive federal funds. It gives individuals the right to participate in programs and access various services defined by Section 504. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 has been a civil rights foundation for many future disability regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The Importance of Updating 504 Regulations

Since its inception in 1973, Section 504 has rarely, with a few exceptions, been altered. In May of 2022, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced its intention to strengthen the regulations that protect students with disabilities by making amendments to Section 504. To this end, they asked for public comments from disability rights organizations and individuals with disabilities, including their advocates, regarding recommended improvements.

Concerns Submitted to OCR

The OCR received overwhelming comments from disability rights organizations and school administrator organizations. Examples of the type of comments and recommendations received include:

  • To clarify and strengthen the obligations of various institutions and organizations¬†
  • To make those same clarifications similar to those in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • To change requirements to Manifestation Determination Reviews (MDR), explicitly involving changes in student placement
  • To require parental consent for 504 evaluations
  • To require re-evaluations every three years of 504 plans

We Work with Agencies Who Serve Individuals with Disabilities

Direct Care Innovations has long supported caregiving agencies, and we provide valuable solutions to multiple pain points surrounding numerous employment processes. We invite you to learn more about our business management software and features, including EVV, training and compliance, care management, and more. Contact one of our professionals at (480) 295-3307, or request a sales demo today.

Source: “U.S. Department of Education Announces Intent to Strengthen and Protect Rights for Students with Disabilities by Amending Regulations Implementing Section 504.” Web article. U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Government, 06 May. 2022. Web. 01 Aug. 2023.

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