Information Regarding Accommodation for Persons with Disabilities
The South Dakota Board of Funeral Service (Board) welcomes persons with disabilities to use the services of the Board, including taking the examination to become a Licensed Funeral Embalmer / Director. Reasonable testing accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities. The examination is designed to test the knowledge and skills necessary for one who seeks the issuance of a funeral embalmer / director's license.
The examination given by the Funeral Boards is a state examination. The following policy is in effect.
It is the policy of the Board to administer the funeral embalmer / director examination and all other services provided by this office in a manner that does not discriminate against a qualified applicant with a disability. An applicant with a disability who is otherwise eligible to take the examination may file a request for reasonable testing accommodations if, by virtue of a disability, the applicant cannot demonstrate under standard testing conditions that the applicant possesses the knowledge and skills to be issued a funeral embalmer / director license in the State of South Dakota.
What is Required?
The Board will make reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. Such accommodations will be made unless a fundamental alteration in the examination or other admission requirements would result. In order to accomplish this, the Board will furnish auxiliary aids and services when necessary to ensure effective communication. The Board will administer the examination so that it is readily accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Individuals with disabilities will not be tested separately from other examinees, unless the separate programs are necessary to ensure that the test is equally effective. If the individual prefers not to accept a reasonable accommodation, the Board will not require an individual with a disability to accept such a reasonable accommodation.
If you have any questions about the Board's policies with respect to reasonable accommodations in testing you should write to the Executive Secretary, Board of Funeral Service, 810 N. Main St., Suite 298, Spearfish, SD 57783.
South Dakota Board of Funeral Service Policy on Applicants with Disabilities
It is the policy of the Board to administer the funeral service licensing exam and all other services in a manner that does not discriminate against a qualified applicant with a disability. An applicant with a disability who is otherwise eligible to take the exam may file a request for reasonable testing accommodations if, by virtue of a disability, the applicant cannot demonstrate under standard testing conditions that the applicant possesses the knowledge and skills to be licensed as a funeral embalmer/director in the State of South Dakota.
For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions apply:
A. "Disability" means any of the following:
- A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;
- A record of having such impairment; or
- Being regarded as having such impairment.
B. "Major life activities" are functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.
C. "Physical impairment" means a physiological disorder or condition or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the body's systems.
D. "Mental impairment" means a mental or psychological disorder such as organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, attention deficit disorder and specific learning disabilities.
E. "Qualified applicant with a disability" means an individual who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.
F. "Auxiliary aids and services" includes:
- Qualified interpreters or other effective methods of making aurally delivered materials available to individuals with hearing impairments;
- Qualified readers, taped texts, or other effective methods of making visually delivered materials available to individuals with visual impairments;
- Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; and
- Other similar services and actions.
G. "Reasonable accommodation" means an adjustment or modification of the standard testing conditions that ameliorates the impact of the applicant's disability including:
- Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and
- Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
Without doing any of the following:
- Fundamentally altering the nature of the examination of the Board's ability to determine through the examination whether the applicant possesses the essential eligibility requirements for the practice of funeral service.
- Imposing an undue hardship or burden on the Board;
- Compromising the security of the examination;
- Compromising the validity of the examination.
H. Undue hardship means an action requiring significant difficulty or expense, when considered in light of all the factors.
III. Requests for Reasonable Testing Accommodations
A. Regular Requests
- A regular request for reasonable testing accommodations must be submitted on forms prescribed by the Board and shall consist of the following:
a. A statement of the applicant that describes the applicant's disability and describes the reasonable accommodations requested. A statement providing an explanation as to how the accommodation will ameliorate the applicant's disability.
b. A statement from the applicant's treating physician or licensed treating professional.
c. A supplemental statement from the applicant's physician or treating professional when request is based upon learning disability.
d. A statement from the applicant's University.
e. Such additional documentation supporting the request as is deemed necessary by the Board's medical consultant.
B. Repeat Applicant
- An applicant who has taken the examination on a prior occasion may request reasonable testing accommodations on any subsequent examinations. Such requests will be reviewed and evaluated prior to each examination. Accommodations previously granted, as well as the accommodations actually utilized by the applicant on previous examinations, will be taken into consideration in determining subsequent accommodations.
- Repeat applicants must submit all required forms. If more previously submitted records are two or more years old, please submit current medical records or other documentation.
C. Emergency Requests
- An applicant who becomes disabled after the timely filing deadline may request reasonable testing accommodations after the time prescribed in this policy if the applicant promptly submits the following:
a. A written request for reasonable testing accommodations and
b. Medical documentation of need for accommodation, including documentation of the emergency nature of the request, and the date and circumstances under which the disability arose.
- Decisions on emergency requests will be made in accordance with this policy, or as soon as practicable.
- Appeals of denials or modifications of emergency accommodation requests will be heard and determined in keeping with the manner described elsewhere in the policy unless impossible to do so due to the scheduling of the exam. In that event, the request will be carried forward to the next exam without additional charge to the applicant.
IV. Review of Reasonable Accommodation Applications
A. Standards for Review of Reasonable Accommodation Applications
- Requests for reasonable test accommodations shall be granted if all of the following are found:
a. The applicant is a qualified applicant with a disability who is otherwise eligible to take the funeral licensing exam;
b. The testing accommodations are necessary to ameliorate the impact of the applicant's disability;
c. The testing accommodations are reasonable and appropriate for the disability and consistent with each of the requirements of the definition of reasonable accommodations set forth in paragraph II(E) above.
B. Review by the Board
- The Board will review all properly filed requests for reasonable testing accommodations on a case-by-case basis.
- Requests that are not timely filed, incomplete, or otherwise do not comply with the requirements of this policy will be mailed to the applicant with a written explanation.
- Within a reasonable time of receipt of request for review, the Board will do one of the following:
a. Request the applicant to submit additional information in support of the applicant's request;
b. Submit the applicant's documentation of need for reasonable accommodation to an independent physician or licensed professional, along with a request for expert opinion as to granting or denying the request;
c. Confer with the applicant in order to reach a mutually agreeable modification of the requested accommodations;
d. Grant the request and inform the applicant in writing of the accommodation to be provided;
e. Modify the request and inform the applicant in writing of the applicant's right to accept the offered modification or to appeal the Board's determination;
f. Deny the applicant's requested accommodation and inform the applicant in writing of the bases for the denial and the applicant's right to appeal.
- When an expert opinion is sought, a determination upon the request will be made within a reasonable time of the Board's receipt of the expert's evaluation.
C. Appeal of the Determination by the Board
- An applicant who is adversely affected by the Board's modification or denial of a request for a reasonable testing accommodation may appeal to the Board.
- Such an appeal must be in writing addressed to the Board and received in the office of the Board within 10 business days of the applicant's receipt of the Board's notice of denial.
- An expedited hearing before the Board or designated Board member(s) will be scheduled in response to the applicant's request for appeal.
D. An expedited hearing before the Board or designated Board member(s) will be scheduled in response to the applicant's response for appeal.
- Reasonable testing accommodations hearing will be heard by the Board of Funeral Service or a member of the Board designated by the Chair to hear the matter. Written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing will be sent to the applicant within a reasonable period of time of receipt of the written appeal.
- The Board will attempt to schedule the reasonable testing accommodations hearing within fifteen business days of receipt of the written request for hearing.
- At the hearing, the applicant has the right to be represented by counsel, and may call live witnesses for whom testimony cannot be provided in affidavit form. The hearing will be tape-recorded and a copy of the tape will be provided to the applicant upon request. The rules of evidence do not apply and hearsay is admissible.
- Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the board or designated Board member(s) will prepare written findings of fact and determination. A copy will be mailed to the applicant by certified mail, return receipt requested, within ten business days of the hearing.
- The written decision of the Board or of the designated hearing officer(s) is the final determination of the Board.