Purpose of Section 508
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d) applies when Federal Agencies Develop, Procure, Maintain or Use Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Section 508 has two main purposes:
- Ensure Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities.
- Ensure individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Frequently Asked Questions
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) micro-purchase exemption to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act will expire on April 1, 2005. Section 508 requires that Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) acquired by the Federal Government be accessible by
people with disabilities. (For more Section 508 information, please go to the following website: http://www.section508.gov/)
Q What does the micro-purchase exemption expiration mean to you the cardholder or approving official?
A You must now ensure that any EIT supplies and services purchased meets applicable accessibility standards defined in the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board EIT Accessibility Standards (36 CFR 1194). When acquiring commercial items, you must comply with those accessibility standards that can be met with the supplies and/or services that are available in the commercial market place in time to meet your delivery requirements. Approving Officials must ensure that the purchase card holders are complying with the accessibility standards in the acquisition of any EIT.
Q What are the steps for government purchase card holders in order to comply with this requirement?
A Complying with this requirement adds four simple steps to the procurement process.
Determine if you have an EIT requirement. The Buy Accessible Wizard at http://www.buyaccessible.gov/ will help you conclude if section 508 is applicable; determine the specific section 508 standards that apply; and compile a running summary to document this process and its results.
Conduct market research. Check www.esaitech.com as we have Section 508 vendor information for several (and growing) of our largest selling vendors to determine
a. if there is a 508 compliant item available in the commercial market place.
b. if there is a commercial item and none or some (but not all) of the access board standards can be met in time to satisfy requirements?
You can also call your Saitech Inc account manager or obtain technical assistance of Center 508 coordinators when necessary.
Acquire 508 compliant commercially available goods/services as appropriate. If you cannot find a commercial item that both meets applicable Access Board’s technical standards and can be furnished in time to satisfy your delivery requirements – you should acquire the most conforming product that meets your overall needs.
Document in the comments section of your order log and/or other files the sources contacted and whether EIT acquired items are 508 compliant or whether market research indicates that no 508 compliant (or only partially compliant) products or services are commercially available in time to meet your delivery requirements. Keep copies of all documentation with your purchase card records. Complying with Section 508 adds just a few simply steps to the procurement process. Your Saitech Inc account manager is here to help you navigate these steps.
Q Does section 508 require contractors to manufacture EIT that meets the
applicable Access Board’s technical provisions?
A No. Section 508 does not apply to private industry. Each day, more original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are providing Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) for their products, but not all have done so. If a customer cannot find a commercial item that both meets applicable Access Board’s technical standards and can be furnished in time to satisfy their delivery requirements – they should acquire the most conforming product that meets their overall needs If no conforming or partially conforming products are found, then the customer should document in the comments section of their order log and/or other files the sources contacted and that a conforming commercially available item is not available.
Q Are all EIT items currently offered on Saitech Inc’s catalog Section 508 compliant?
A Saitech Inc carries more than 1,200 leading technology brands of hardware, software, and peripheral products, and services support that fall into the following three categories as related to Section 508:
a. At least one Accessibility Standard (36 CFR 1194) is applicable to the item and the OEM has Section 508 documentation such as a VPAT.
b. Section 508 is not applicable to the item.
c. Section 508 applicability requires additional market research. Saitech Inc is building a database of Section 508 information on the products we sell, based upon our own market research, that is available on our website. Over time, we expect the number of items in the third category will decrease.