Accessible Formats

Provision of DHS Materials in Accessible Formats

Updated October 2011

I. Purpose
Federal and state statutes, regulations, and rules require that state and county entities notify the public that their written materials are available in accessible formats to individuals with disabilities. The notification statement additionally meets the requirements to use plain English in the written materials and to provide the means to request accessible formats through the Minnesota Relay and the Speech-to-Speech Relay.

II. Legal authority

  • • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 United States Code, Section 12101
  • • Rehabilitation Act (RA), Section 504
  • • Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), Minnesota Statutes, Section 363A
  • • Minnesota Management and Budget Personnel Policy Memorandum No. 1358
  • III. Practice
    All written materials that the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) develops, uses or purchases for distribution to the public shall contain the statement in Section 4, indicating that the information is available in accessible formats to individuals with disabilities upon their request. New materials must include the accessible formats statement. Current materials must have the statement added to them upon their reprint. Preprinted materials must have a label adhered to them displaying the statement.

    IV. Accessible formats statement
    This information is available in other forms to individuals with disabilities by calling us locally at [(XXX) XXX-XXXX] or toll free at [(8XX) XXX-XXXX]. TTY users can call us directly at [(XXX) XXX-XXXX] or [(8XX) XXX-XXXX]. TTY users can also call us through Minnesota Relay at 711 or (800) 627-3529. For Speech-to-Speech, call (877) 627-3848.

    V. Processing requests for accessible formats
    Each division shall maintain a process for responding to requests for accessible formats. Such process includes the designation of a contact person to take the calls and determine and obtain the format. This staff person should be familiar with the subject or the materials.

    VI. Determining among accessible formats
    The accessible format necessary to an individual with a disability will vary depending on the needs and preferences of that individual, on the type and purpose of the written materials, and on the length and complexity of that communication. The division must provide an opportunity for the individual to request the format of their choice and must give primary consideration to that format. "Primary consideration" means that the division must honor the individual’s choice, unless it can demonstrate that another equally effective means of communication is available or that the choice would result in a fundamental alteration in the service, program, or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens.

    VII. Obtaining accessible formats
    Large print:
    Materials can be provided through a type increase. Because not all low vision needs are the same, learn the necessary font size or receive an example. Text can be made bigger by simply using the enlarge feature of a photocopier. Alternatively, to have printed materials copied in large print or to have printed materials reprinted in large print, call the DHS document manager at (651) 431-3628.

    Computer disk:
    Materials can be provided electronically. If the materials are text documents in word processing files, they can be accessible if the requester uses screen reading software, which speaks the monitor display, or uses screen magnifying software, which enlarges display images. DHS does not supply computer hardware or software with its provision of materials in accessible formats. DHS provides only the computer disk. The file must be converted to a read-only document so that no alteration can occur. Further, all data appearing graphically must be transcribed into text. To reformat a document with larger font or to convert a word processing file into a read-only document, portable document format (PDF), call the DHS Graphics Unit at (651) 431-3628. For materials which are lengthy or updated frequently, this format is the most effective.

    Readers:
    Materials can be provided audibly. Divisions should have a staff person designated to provide this assistance as necessary. This format is the most efficient for the completion of forms. Depending on the frequency of requests, a division may have to establish a service contract for reading assistance.

    Audio cassette:
    Materials can be provided auditorily. To make a voice recording, call the Communications Center of State Services for the Blind (SSB) at (651) 642-0500 or (800) 652-9000. SSB also provides services to produce written materials in accessible formats, including assistance in securing reader services. The services are available to state and county agencies and the public and may entail costs.

    Braille:
    Materials can be provided tactilely. With such request, contact SSB. One page of print normally requires two pages of Braille, depending on font and paper size. Again, this transcription may entail costs.

    VIII. Costs
    Each division is responsible for the expense of providing its written materials in accessible formats.

    IX. Technical assistance
    If you have any questions regarding the notification requirements for, or the provision of accessible formats, contact:

    Eric R. Falk
    Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator
    Equal Opportunity and Access
    Minnesota Department of Human Services
    P.O. Box 64997
    St. Paul, MN 55164-0997
    Voice: (651) 431-3039
    TTY: (866) 786-3945
    Fax: (651) 431-7444
    Email: eric.falk@state.mn.us

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