Determining Section 504 Eligiblity

Tags Section504


Following are step-by-step instructions for making an appropriate Section 504 eligibility determination.
  • Download the full Section 504 Decision Process Flow Chart at bottom right.


  1. Assemble the Section 504 team.

    Section 504 regulations require that the Section 504 eligibility decision be made by a group of persons knowledgeable of the student, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the various placement options. A team “knowledgeable of the student” includes teachers, parents, the student (when appropriate), the evaluation team members, and other personnel as necessary.

  2. Provide identifying information.

    On the Notice of Section 504 Eligibility form, indicate the student’s name, student identification number, and date of birth. Indicate the name of the school the student attends and his or her grade placement.

  3. Acquire evaluation information.

    The scope of the evaluation is determined by the nature of the student’s suspected disability as well as the nature of any school and classroom behavior and academic performance. Data must be sufficient to determine if an impairment substantially limits an identified major life activity. Data may, or may not, include a diagnosis by a medical provider. Remember that a diagnosis by a medical provider, standing alone, does not necessarily equal 504 eligibility.

  4. Identify a mental or physical impairment.

    Evaluate all available data, including diagnosis by a medical provider, if applicable, and indicate the student’s mental or physical impairment—for example, ADHD, diabetes—on the Notice of Section 504 Eligibility form.

  5. Identify the major life activity.

    Based on evaluation data, the team must determine if a major life activity (such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, and/or learning) is substantially limited by a mental or physical impairment. The team should indicate the substantially limited major life activity or activities on the Notice of Section 504 Eligibility form.

  6. Review mitigating measures.

    In determining eligibility, the Section 504 Team should NOT consider the effectiveness of mitigating measures. For example, when considering the eligibility of a student diagnosed with ADHD, the Team should consider whether the student’s impairment, ADHD, substantially limits a major life activity regardless whether the effects of the impairment may be mitigated by medication. The Team may need to review school records from the period prior to use of medication (if available) in order to determine the nature of, and impact of the impairment prior to mitigation.

    On the other hand, the Team SHOULD CONSIDER mitigating measures when identifying appropriate accommodations for an eligible student. For example, the Team may identify “periodic breaks to visit school nurse to receive prescribed medication” as a Section 504 Plan accommodation for an eligible student with ADHD.

  7. Consider cultural, environmental, and economic factors.

    The Section 504 Team must consider the student’s social or cultural background mindful that environmental, cultural, and economic disadvantages are not disabilities. The team may find that even though a student has a diagnosed impairment, the limitations in learning are attributable not to the impairment but rather the result of environmental, cultural, and economic circumstances. In other words, the team must find a nexus between the impairment and the limitation to major life activity in order to find eligibility.

  8. Consider school and classroom behavior and performance.

    The team should look at a variety of information about the student’s classroom and school behavior and performance to gauge the degree to which the mental or physical impairment limits the student’s major life activity when compared to other, nondisabled students. The team is reviewing the data to determine whether the student’s impairment substantially limits a major life activity such that s/he requires accommodations in order to have an equal opportunity to receive public education. The data may include:
    1. Academic records;
    2. Teacher’s anecdotal notes;
    3. Report cards;
    4. Work samples;
    5. State assessment results; and
    6. Psychological evaluations.

  9. Determine Section 504 eligibility.

    If a student has an identified physical or mental impairment and the analysis of formal testing, informal information from a variety of sources, and anecdotal records indicate that the student’s learning and/or behavioral performance is substantially limited when compared with that of his or her nondisabled peers, then the team may determine that the student is eligible. The team must indicate the student’s eligibility on the Notice of Section 504 Eligibility form.


Article ID: 57702
Wed 7/18/18 12:26 PM
Mon 3/2/20 8:12 AM