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Limited English Proficiency - Factors Considered
Executive Order 13166, "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)," dated Aug. 11, 2000 (65 Fed. Reg. 50121, August 16, 2000), requires federal agencies to examine the services they provide and develop and implement strategies so that persons with limited English proficiency (LEP persons) can meaningfully access those services consistent with, but not unduly burdening, the fundamental mission of the agency. Under E.O. 13166, each federal agency must prepare a plan to improve access to its services following standards set forth by the Department of Justice. In addition, those federal agencies that provide federal financial assistance under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000d) must draft guidance specifically tailored for its recipients in compliance with Justice Department guidelines.

In developing its LEP plan, each federal agency must balance the following four factors to ensure meaningful access to their services by LEP persons:

  1. the number or proportion of LEP persons who would not receive the federal agency's services absent efforts to remove language barriers;
  2. the frequency and number of contacts by LEP persons with the federal agency's services;
  3. the nature and importance of the services provided by the federal agency to people's lives; and
  4. the resources available to the federal agency (including cost- benefit analysis) to provide services to LEP persons.

After considering these four factors, federal agencies can determine whether it is reasonable to improve access to its services to LEP persons.

Last Updated 1/23/2009 webmaster@fdic.gov