Who

Federal Agencies

What

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d) requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use EIT, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.

History

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d) as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105 - 220), August 7, 1998 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities.

Summary

General (Subpart A)

The standards define the types of technology covered and set forth provisions that establish a minimum level of accessibility. This includes computers, software, networks, peripherals and other types of electronic office equipment.

Technical Standards (Subpart B)

The standards provide criteria specific to various types of technologies, including:

  • software applications and operating systems
  • web-based information or applications
  • telecommunication products
  • video and multimedia products
  • self-contained, closed products (e.g., information kiosks, calculators, and fax machines)
  • desktop and portable computers

Functional Performance Criteria (Subpart C)

The performance requirements of this section are intended for overall product evaluation and for technologies or components for which there is no specific requirement under the technical standards in Subpart B. These criteria are designed to ensure that the individual accessible components work together to create an accessible product.

Information, Documentation, and Support (Subpart D)

The standards also address access to all information, documentation, and support provided to end users (e.g., Federal employees) of covered technologies. This includes user guides, installation guides for end-user installable devices, and customer support and technical support communications.