Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires all Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. The law (29 U.S.C. § 794 (d)) applies to all Federal agencies who 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 that is comparable to access available to others. The United States Access Board has developed accessibility standards for EIT to incorporate into regulations that govern Federal procurement practices. For more information regarding Section 508, please visit the following links:
- United States Access Board Section 508 Webpage and the Section 508 Final Rule
- Section 508 Final Federal Acquisition Regulation Rule
Laws and Regulations
Section 508 operates within the context of several other laws and regulations related to federal disability policy. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 also includes the following:
- Section 501 and 505: prohibits federal employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities and provides the designation of authority.
- Section 503: prohibits employment discrimination based on disability by federal contractors or subcontractors.
- Section 504: prohibits federal agencies, programs, or activities from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities that require reasonable accommodation. For more information regarding Section 504 and reasonable accommodations within the Department, please visit the TARGET Center’s webpage.
The Departmental Section 508 Program Office is the authority on the implementation of Section 508 and ensures systematic accountability for the accomplishment of the Section 508 requirements within the Department of Agriculture. This office supports the Secretary’s mission to create an accessible work environment and oversees the Section 508 Program within each of USDA’s agencies and mission areas. In addition, the Program Office provides the following services:
- Section 508 Program training: training for new Section 508 Coordinators on how to establish a Section 508 Program for their agency.
- Document remediation training: a hands on training course for all employees on how to create and maintain accessible content.
- Procurement training: training for contracting officers and other procurement professionals on the Section 508 Procurement Process.
- Software quality assurance testing: an in depth evaluation of software systems and web applications against the technical provisions under Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.
- Disability Etiquette training: sensitivity training on the do’s and don’ts of interacting with members of the Disability Community.
To request information or services from the Departmental Section 508 Program Office, please send an email to Section508@ocio.usda.gov or call the office at 202-260-8777.
To view the Departmental Section 508 Directive, please view DR 4030-001 and the associated Section 508 Reference Manual. Note: the Section 508 Reference Manual is currently in the process of being updated to reflect the Section 508 Refresh and the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) (April 2016).
For a list of USDA’s Section 508 Coordinators by agency and mission area, please visit the Section 508 Coordination Team Members page.
For information on how Section 508 related EEOC complaints are filed and processed, please visit the Processing Complaints under Section 508 page.