12. Ensure Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. 28 The law applies to all Federal departments and agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. 29 Under Section 508, departments and agencies must ensure that employees and members of the public with disabilities have access to information and data that is comparable to access available to others unless an undue burden would be imposed on the department or agency.

A. Agencies must comply with Section 508 and with the Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Standards.30 Additionally agencies must also adhere to their own Section 508 regulations and policies. Section 508 does not limit rights, remedies, or procedures otherwise available under other Federal laws, including Sections 501, 503, and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 31

B. Section 508 technical and EIT Accessibility requirements must be included in the requirements document for the procurement of EIT products and services and planned for and built into the development, operations and management lifecycle of a Federal website or digital service. Any new functionality must be regularly tested to ensure it meets the EIT Accessibility Standards and is accessible for persons with disabilities.

C. Agencies must develop accessibility statements for their website and appoint a Section 508 Coordinator as required by OMB Memorandum, Strategic Plan for Improving Management of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. 32


Footnotes

28: 29 U.S.C. § 794d

29: Section 508 does not apply to national security systems, as that term is defined in section 11103(a) of title 40. 29 U.S.C. § 794d(a)(5).

30: 36 CFR Part 1194

31: 29 U.S.C. § 794d(g)

32: 5 U.S.C. § 301 note