Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Published April 27, 2016

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. The law (29 U.S.C ยง 794 (d)) applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information comparable to the access available to others. Learn more by reading the DoD Section 508 Fact Sheet.

The U.S. Access Board is responsible for developing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility standards to incorporate into regulations that govern Federal procurement practices. On January 18, 2017, the Access Board issued a final rule that updated accessibility requirements covered by Section 508, and refreshed guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act. The final rule went into effect on January 18, 2018.

The rule updated and reorganized the Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines in response to market trends and innovations in technology. The refresh also harmonized these requirements with other guidelines and standards both in the U.S. and abroad, including standards issued by the European Commission, and with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), a globally recognized voluntary consensus standard for web content and ICT.

Buy Accessible.gov: Resources and tools to help you meet Section 508 requirements.
Computer/Electronics Accommodations Program: Ensures people with disabilities and wounded service members have equal access to the information environment and opportunities in the Department of Defense and throughout the Federal government.
Section 508.gov: Resources for understanding and implementing Section 508.
United States Access Board: A Federal agency committed to accessible design.
Web Accessibility Initiative: Strategies, guidelines and resources to make the web accessible to people with disabilities.

Section 508 Report to the President and Congress: Accessibility of Federal Electronic and Information Technology Department of Justice Report - Publish Date: 09/12/12 View Online

This report, authorized under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides findings based on a survey of Federal agencies on the accessibility of their electronic and information technology (EIT) and the procedures used to implement the requirements of Section 508.

In 2010-2011, the Justice Department partnered with the General Service Administration to create survey instruments and solicited answers from Federal agencies about their implementation of Section 508. The survey requested data in four important areas: procurement, general processes for implementing Section 508, administrative complaints and civil actions, and website compliance.