What is Section 508?
Section 508 Overview
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794d), as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-220) requires federal agencies to develop, procure, maintain and use information and communications technology (ICT) that is accessible to people with disabilities - regardless of whether or not they work for the federal government. The US Access Board established the Section 508 standards that implement the law and provides the requirements for accessibility.
Section 508 requires federal agencies to make their ICT such as technology, on-line training and websites accessible for everyone. This means that federal employees with disabilities are able to do their work on the accessible computers, phones and equipment in their offices, take on-line training or access the agency’s internal website to locate needed information. Section 508 also means that a person with a disability applying for a job with the federal government or a person who is using an agency’s website to get information about a program, or completing an online form has access to the same accessible information and resources available to anyone.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is any equipment or system that is used to create, convert, duplicate or access information and data. Examples of ICT include, but are not limited to:
- Telephones, smart phones and mobile devices
- Televisions, DVD players and videotaped productions
- Internet and Intranet websites
- PDF documents
- Content on DVDs and CDs
- On-line training
- Webinars and teleconferencing
- Technical support call centers
- Remote access websites and tools
- Tablet, laptop and desktop computers
- Software and operating systems
- User guides for software and tools
- Copiers, printers and fax machines
For more information about Section 508, please refer to one of the following sites:
Section 508 and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are often confused with each other. Section 508 requires that the federal government procure, create, use and maintain ICT that is accessible to people with disabilities, regardless of whether or not they work for the federal government. Section 501 covers Reasonable Accommodation for an individual with a disability who is either an applicant for a federal government job or already works for the federal government. Section 501 covers more than just ICT for people with disabilities. To learn about Reasonable Accommodation at EPA, please visit:
- The Office of Civil Rights Reasonable Accommodation website
- Reasonable Accommodation during the EPA job application process and while employed at EPA
Disability Rights Laws
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is one of several disability laws. For more information about Disability Rights Laws, check out:
- The Department of Justice's "A Guide to Disability Rights Laws"
- How EPA ensures equal opportunities to individuals with disabilities