AUG 12 1993

The Honorable Thomas H. Andrews Member, U.S. House of Representatives 136 Commercial Street Portland, Maine 04101 Dear Congressman Andrews: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XX , concerning the applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") to the costs of interpreters at meetings and other events. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist your constituent in understanding the ADA's requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation or legal advice, and it is not binding on the Department of Justice. Your constituent inquires as to whether deaf Individuals must pay the additional costs associated with the provision of interpreters for meetings where both deaf and hearing individuals are present. Specifically, XX expresses concern that the "continuance of this expense ( for the provision of interpreters] remains a drag on the on-going efforts to encourage deaf/hearing get-togethers." The ADA requires that places of public accommodation provide auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, where such provision is necessary to ensure effective communication with people with disabilities. The cost of such services may not be financed by surcharges placed on particular individuals, or groups of individuals, with disabilities. Charges may, however, be spread out among all of the clients of a place of public accommodation. For example, while a doctor may not raise his fee exclusively for an individual who requires an interpreter, the doctor may raise his fee generally for all his patients, so that the additional expense of providing an interpreter is covered.

cc: Records; Chrono; Wodatch; McDowney; Magagna; Perley; FOIA MAF. \udd\perley\congress\andrews 01-02521

-2Similarly, while a place of public accommodation may neither impose a surcharge solely on meeting participants who are deaf nor charge a fee solely for those meetings where there will be deaf attendees, the place of public accommodation could charge an entrance fee for all its meetings, regardless of whether or not there would be deaf participants, so that the expense of providing interpreters for particular meetings would be covered. For information concerning the provision of auxiliary aids and services under the ADA, see S 36.303 of the enclosed title III regulation at pages 35597 and 35565-68. For information concerning the prohibition on the imposition of surcharges, see S 36.301 of the regulation at pages 35596 and 35564. Some of the meetings your constituent refers to may be related to the employment of a person with a disability and, therefore, would be covered under title I of the ADA. Title I requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for the known disability of an employee so that the employee may function effectively in the work place. Such an accommodation may include the provision of interpreter services at employment-related meetings and similar events. For further information on title I of the ADA, you may contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Although there is no provision in the ADA for government reimbursement of the costs of providing interpreter services, there are a number of tax credits and deductions available for expenses related to the provision of accessibility services. These include the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit (Title 26, Internal Revenue Code, Section 51) and the Disabled Access Tax Credit (Title 26, Internal Revenue Code, Section 44). For further information on these provisions, your constituent may contact the Internal Revenue Service, Office of the Chief Counsel, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington D.C. 20044 (202) 566-3292 (voice only).

I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. You may wish to inform your constituent that further information is available through our Americans with Disabilities Act Information Line at (202) 514-0301 (voice), (202) 514-0383 (TDD). Sincerely, James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures

01-02522 Maine Center on Deafness MCD 175 Lancaster Street Suite 122 Portland, Maine 04101 (207) 761-2533 TDD/Voice

May 7, l993

Malory Otteson Tom Andrews District Office 136 Commercial Street Portland, Maine 04101 Dear Ms. Otteson: Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you on the telephone on Friday. You have been most helpful in the past, and I am wondering now if you would be willing to check out one more thing for me. As an advocate for the deaf I am trying, among other things, to test the adequacy of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) in

covering various needs of the deaf. In particular, at this time I am concerned about the cost of interpreters. It is true that in various settings, under the ADA, interpreters must be provided and paid for by people needing to communicate with the deaf. However, there are also situations where the deaf, in their meetings, need to hire and pay for interpreters themselves. This seems to conflict with what I interpret to be the true intent of the ADA. Please let me give an example: I am a volunteer for the Maine Center on Deafness in Portland, Maine. As such, I have observed that at meetings and gatherings attended by both bearing and deaf, there is always an extra charge for the cost of interpreters. (A cost that is non-existent in meetings of the hearing only.) Similarly, interpreters are needed at regular board meetings as both hearing and deaf are board members. Unless there is some way that interpreter costs can be recovered, the continuance of this expense remains a drag on the on-going efforts to encourage deaf/hearing get-togethers, and the spread of deaf awareness in today's world. I would be grateful if your office would explore this matter with the appropriate officials who are responsible for the mandates of the ADA and let me know their advice and decisions. Thank you for your help. Sincerely, XX 01-02523