Your Civil Rights
The Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies are:
- Department of State Health Services (DSHS)
- Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)
These agencies are committed to protecting your civil rights, as defined by law. HHS agencies and their contractors and licensees must not discriminate against you in the provision of services, directly or through contractual or other arrangements.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any HHS agency activity, service, or program, you can file a complaint.
Civil Rights Laws
The civil rights laws and policies that protect consumers and people applying for services include:
- Social Security Act of 1935 (Title V)
- Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI)
- Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX)
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504)
- Age Discrimination Act of 1975
- Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987
- Food and Nutrition Act of 2008
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- USDA Food and Nutrition Services Instructions (113 Series)
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Directives(1510.1 and 1520.1)
- Methods of Administration with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (Chapter 106)
- Texas Administrative Code (Title 1)
- HHS Civil Rights Policies and Procedures (HHS Circular C-001) (PDF)
- Other applicable civil rights laws and regulations
If you do not speak English or have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand, staff from HHS agencies will provide language services to you free of charge. HHS agencies will work with you to ensure you have access to HHS benefits and services. The following posters are displayed in offices to remind you of this:
You also can ask HHS office staff for help if you cannot read certain forms .
People with Disabilities
Anyone can ask for help to communicate with HHS agencies and participate in their programs and services. Clients getting benefits and people applying for benefits can ask for:
- A sign-language interpreter
- Documents, including forms and letters, in:
- Large print
- Electronic format
- Other accessible formats
- Readers and computer screen readers
- Many other types of services or equipment
To ask for help, contact the specific HHS agency as soon as possible, giving at least 48 hours notice before the time of the meeting or event with the HHS agency. If the help is necessary, HHS agencies and their contractors will provide it free of charge.
Changes in Procedure
HHS agencies can change procedures so members of the public have an equal chance to get services, unless doing so would cause a financial or administrative difficulty. For example, people with service animals are welcome in HHS offices, even when pets are not allowed.
Accommodations or Modifications for People with Disabilities
Applicants for Employment
If you are applying for a job with an HHS agency, you can ask for a reasonable accommodation. This means if you have a disability, you can ask the agency to adjust the application process so you can apply. To ask for an accommodation in applying, contact the HHS Employee Service Center at 1-888-894-4747. To ask for an accommodation in the interview process, ask the person who contacts you to set up an interview.
Applicants for Licensing or Certification Examinations
If you are applying for a licensing or certification exam and you need an accommodation, contact the Civil Rights Office. For more information, see HHS Circular C-039 Reasonable Modifications in the Licensing and Certification Examination Process.
The Right to File a Discrimination Complaint
A person who has benefits, or someone applying for benefits should not be discriminated against by an employee of any HHS agency or by an employee of an organization that has a contract with HHS to provide services. If a person feels they have been discriminated against, he or she may file a discrimination complaint with the Civil Rights Office, or file a discrimination complaint with a federal agency.