Frequent Questions about Section 508
What is Section 508?
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794d) requires federal agencies to develop, procure, maintain or use electronic and information technology (EIT) that is accessible to people with disabilities – regardless of whether or not they work for the federal government. The U.S. Access Board establishes the Section 508 standards in order to implement the law.
Is Section 508 the same as Reasonable Accommodation?
Section 508 and Reasonable Accommodation (Section 501) are often confused with each other.
- Section 508 is about the EIT – the equipment and the tools that people use to access information or to do their jobs.
- Reasonable Accommodation is about the individual and what he/she needs because of his/her disability. Reasonable Accommodation removes workplace barriers for individuals with disabilities.
What is EIT?
Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) is any equipment or system that EPA uses to create, convert, duplicate or access information and data.
Examples of EIT 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
- Lab equipment
Why does EIT have to be accessible?
Some people who access EPA's information and resources may have disabilities. EPA has employees with disabilities and any new employees could potentially have disabilities. A person can become disabled at any time either temporarily or permanently. EPA makes its EIT accessible so everybody can access EPA information, because it is the right thing to do, and because it is the law.
How do I make EIT Section 508 compliant?
When you develop, procure, maintain or use EIT, "Think 508 first!"
- Determine if your product or service is EIT.
- If it is EIT, Section 508 applies.
- Decide what standards may be applicable.
- Write specific 508 requirements in contracts and IT workplans.
- Test and verify compliance with 508 standards before accepting deliverables, purchasing products and services, or launching websites, applications or trainings.
- Maintain a dialogue with developers, contractors and project teams, throughout the acquisition and life cycle process.
I have more Section 508 questions
General Services Administration (GSA) maintains additional FAQs and resources that provide a wealth of information about Section 508. Please check out:
If you have other EPA-related Section 508 questions, contact the EPA Section 508 Coordinators