The Department of Homeland Security is committed to providing accessible Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to individuals with disabilities, including members of the public and federal employees, by meeting or exceeding the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d).
Section 508 requires agencies, during the procurement, development, maintenance, or use of ICT, to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to and use of ICT information and data comparable to the access and use afforded to individuals without disabilities (i.e., “ICT accessibility”), unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. The Section 508 standards are the technical requirements and criteria that are used to measure conformance with the law.
The department requires its vendors and contractors to ensure the ICT deliverables they provide to DHS conform to the Section 508 standards through:
- Section 508 requirements for ICT products and services
- Section 508 conformance testing requirements
- Section 508 conformance reporting requirements
- Section 508 acceptance criteria
The following resources are available to assist with complying with DHS Section 508 requirements for ICT deliverables:
- DHS Section 508 Compliance Test Processes
- DHS Guidelines for Completing Accessibility Conformance Reports (ACRs) using the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)
- Accessible Electronic Documents Training (coming soon)
- Selling accessible ICT products and services to the Federal Government (compiled by GSA)
- Accessibility Training Resources (compiled by GSA)
Use the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT 2.3 508 or later) to report conformance to the Revised Section 508 Standards. US Government federal agencies are required to ensure the technology we buy conforms to these standards.
Follow the instructions in the template.
- Complete the Product Data Section on the first page of the VPAT.
- Make sure the report is being completed for the right product / version.
- Make sure to provide an adequate product description that describes what the product is and its intended purpose.
- Make sure to explain clearly what steps you took to evaluate the product as a basis for your conformance claims. ACRs based on a repeatable test result process are more reliable from a government perspective than ACRs that are not based on test results. We recommend using the DHS Section 508 Compliance Test Processes for web, software, and electronic documents to support conformance claims.
- Provide a response for all of the applicable WCAG Success Criteria and Section 508 sections in the report.
- Only use the conformance claims required in the template:
- Supports with Exceptions
- Does not Support
- Not Applicable
- Provide detailed remarks and explanations for all conformance claims (“Supports”, “Supports with Exceptions”, “Does Not Support”, and “Not Applicable”). In the remarks, be clear on whether conformance is achieved throughout the entire ICT Item (for example - user functionality, administrator functionality, and reporting), or only in limited areas of the ICT Item. Also be clear on what type of users are impacted by non-conformance and how they will be impacted.
- Update and publish the ACR when there are product revisions.