Reasonable Accommodations and Budgeting for Inclusion

Unlike other types of diversity, disability inclusion may require funding disability-related accommodations that remove environmental and social barriers to access.

People with disabilities do not have a real equal right to participate if they are deemed individually responsible to overcome the barriers and historical ways of doing things that exclude them.

For example, the right of a wheelchair user to enter a building is an empty right if the building only has stairs. The right of a person who is deaf to attend a good university is meaningless if they do not have access to the content of the classes through a sign language interpreter.

The term “reasonable accommodation” designates the various kinds of modifications that may need to be made so that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as people without disabilities to live full lives in their communities.

To ensure that all program participants and stakeholders can benefit fully and all employees, interns and volunteers can do their jobs effectively, MIUSA recommends that organizations:

  • Plan for the cost of disability-related accommodations in all funding requests and organizational budgets.
  • Add a “Disability-Related Accommodations” line-item to program and administrative budgets and incorporate costs into the total request.
  • Estimate 3-5% of the total program costs for mainstream programs (i.e. a program that is geared to the general population, which includes disabled and non-disabled people).
  • Estimate 2-3% of the total administrative costs for organizational investments (e.g. disability accommodations for staff and volunteers or making websites accessible).