Section 508 | Digital Accessibility Standards

Section 508 (Rehibilitation Act Refresh)

Section 508 is the United States accessibility standard that applies specifically to the electronic and information technology used by Federal agencies. Section 508 is an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Congress added this amendment in 1998 to account for changes in information technology (specifically the growing use of the internet). Section 508 guarantees access to information to federal employees and members of the general public who have disabilities that is comparable to the access available to others.

Who has to comply?
At the current time, Section 508 is required for federal agencies and contractors who provide services or products to federal agencies (with some exceptions). With contractors, Section 508 applies specifically to the products and services they provide for or on behalf of federal agencies.
What happens if I don’t comply? And who enforces it?

If you are an entity that fits one of those descriptions, non-compliant websites, digital documents, or other technology could result in a complaint with the Justice Department, which will be handled in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

What do I have to do to comply?

The easiest way to ensure compliance with Section 508 is to make sure that your website meets AA-level WCAG 2.0, as Section 508 requirements follow WCAG 2.0 as of the 508 Refresh that went into effect in January of 2018. A high-level overview of the 508 Refresh can be found on the website of the United States Access Board.

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