The Board enforces the ABA through the investigation of complaints.

Within two weeks after filing a complaint, you will receive a formal acknowledgement letter if you provided your contact information to us. This letter will contain the information about your complaint, as well as the investigation process and applicable federal law, and contact information for the compliance specialist investigating your complaint.

The first step of an investigation is to determine whether the facility of a complaint is covered by the law. If so, the next step is to determine the applicable accessibility standard and to verify whether the facility meets it. If the facility does not meet the applicable standard, then the Board works with the responsible entities to develop a plan to bring the facility into compliance. Cases usually remain open until all necessary corrective action is completed. If the facility is not subject to the ABA or if it meets the appropriate accessibility standard, the Board will advise the complainant of its findings. Some facilities are not covered by the ABA but by other laws, as further noted below. In this case, the Board will refer complainants to the appropriate contact.

Referral to Another Agency

There are times when the Barriers Act does not apply to a facility but when another accessibility law may. In these situations, we will not open a case but will give you information on which agency to contact about your complaint.


If the ABA does cover the facility, we start an in-depth inquiry about when and how Federal funds were used. This may involve our request and review of architectural drawings, design plans, and other documents. With limited travel funds and a very small staff located only in Washington, D.C., we rely primarily on written correspondence to collect the necessary information. Therefore, our investigations may take a few weeks to several months to complete.

Periodic Updates

We will send you periodic updates on actions being taken in response to your complaint. But, you may call the compliance specialist handling your complaint any time you want information or have a question.

Corrective Actions

If we learn that Federal accessibility standards were not met, we notify the responsible agency and request a plan and schedule to remove the barrier(s). Once we receive and accept this corrective action plan, we will notify you.

Monitoring These Actions

We monitor these corrective actions until their completion is confirmed. Then we notify you and give you a chance to review the reasons why we are planning to close the case.

Voluntary Actions

There are times when we have no jurisdiction over a facility, but the responsible agency agrees to take corrective action. In these cases, we also work with the agency to develop a corrective action plan to remove the barrier(s).

Legal Proceedings

Sometimes a complaint cannot be resolved. In these very rare cases, we can begin legal proceedings to get the required corrective action.