April 8, 1999
The Honorable Phil Gramm
United States Senator
2323 Bryan Street, #2150
Dallas, Texas 75201
Dear Senator Gramm:
I am responding to your letter on behalf of your constituent, Dr. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Dr. xxxxxxx wrote to you inquiring if financial assistance is available to assist him to alter a dental clinic building to make it accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), any alteration to a place of public accommodation, such as a dental office, must ensure that, to the maximum extent feasible, the altered portions of the facility are accessible to persons with disabilities. An alteration is any change that affects or could affect the usability of the facility. Normal maintenance, reroofing, painting or wallpapering, asbestos removal, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the building or facility.
With regard to Dr. xxxxxxxxx question of financial assistance, there are no Federal funds specifically available for the purpose of complying with the ADA. However, the Department of Housing and Urban Development awards Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to communities in need of funds for various reasons, one of which is to provide accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Dr. xxxxxxx should be advised that each community establishes its own priorities for the use of CDBG funds. Therefore, it is important that Dr. xxxxxxx work with his community to assure that some of the funds are used to provide accessability to individuals with disabilities. If Dr. xxxxxxx would like to apply for a CDBG, he may send a request to: Andrew Cuomo, Assistant Secretary, Office of Community Planning and Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, S.W., Room 7100, Washington, D.C. 20410.
In addition, the Internal Revenue Code permits eligible small businesses to receive a tax credit for certain costs of compliance with the ADA. An eligible small business is one whose gross receipts do not exceed $1,000,000 or whose work force does not consist of more than 30 full-time workers. Qualifying businesses may claim a credit of up to 50 percent of eligible access expenditures that exceed $250 but do not exceed $10,250. Information about the tax credit and the tax deduction is enclosed.
As you requested, we are returning your constituent's correspondence. I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Please do not hesitate to contact the Department if we can be of assistance in other matters.
Bill Lann Lee
Civil Rights Division