The bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Aging has become concerned that government agencies aren’t adhering to Section 508, which the committee describes as a regulation that “requires government electronic and information and communication technology (ICT) to be accessible for individuals with disabilities.” The Committee learned that there have been multiple settlements with federal agencies over alleged accessibility concerns and that the vast majority of VA websites are inaccessible. The Committee has also learned about issues inside the government, such as “an agency that ‘failed to act on [an] employee’s formal Section 508 complaint for eight years.’”
Not adhering to Section 508 affects many Americans. The Committee explains, “One in four Americans live with a disability, and roughly 40 percent of America’s seniors have a disability. Older adults and people with disabilities are especially reliant on federal benefits, like Medicare and Social Security.” Additionally, COVID-19 has pushed more services to be virtual than ever before.
Two times a year, all government agencies are required to send a report to the General Services Administration (GSA) about how well their agency is following Section 508. The Committee on Aging recently wrote a letter to GSA requesting access to this Section 508 information.
In this letter, they also ask several very specific questions that they wanted to be answered by November 14, 2022. These questions focused on why many agencies were not collecting data/feedback on accessibility which the agencies had committed to providing, and how to resolve this. The final question asked about inter-governmental collaboration and how the GSA’s data could “be shared with the Justice Department for its Section 508 report.”
The GSA’s answers will likely change how Section 508 data is handled by the federal government.
Contact TPGi today to set up a conversation about your Section 508 compliance!