Who Can File a Section 508 Complaint?
Complaints and lawsuits can only be filed by individuals with disabilities in connection with E&IT (Electronic & Information Technology) products procured on or after June 21, 2001, that don't comply with the accessibility standards. Informal resolution of such concerns and complaints are strongly encouraged by first contacting the designated webmaster,if a web site is involved, or an appropriate organizational official, if an E&IT product other than a web site is involved.
Individuals with disabilities may file a written complaint with VA if they believe electronic and information technology procured by VA on or after June 21, 2001, is not in compliance with Section 508 accessibility standards and as a result they are denied access to and use of information or data comparable to that of non-disabled individuals.
When a Federal employee or member of the public files a complaint claiming an agency’s procurement is not in compliance with the standard(s), the process for handling that complaint will follow already established procedures that exist under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. See 38 CFR Part 15.
How Can a Formal Section 508 Complaint Be Filed?
To be complete, written complaints must contain the following information:
- Your name;
- Your address;
- Your telephone number;
- Your signature on the complaint. (Note: If your complaint is filed on someone's behalf, the person authorized to file the complaint should include his or her name, address, telephone number, and a statement of relationship to the complainant, e.g., spouse, attorney, friend, etc.);
- Indicate in the body of the letter that the complaint is being filed under Section 508 and that it concerns electronic and information technology procured by VA on or after June 21, 2001 ;
- Clearly describe the alleged infraction (when did it occur; how was access denied?);
- Identify or describe the electronic and information technology that complainant believes is not accessible (ex. web site address; location of system or equipment; type of system or equipment; and, VA organization responsible for the product) and the accessibility standard(s) which has not been met, if known;
- Provide a description of the nature and severity of complainant's disability; and
- Include any other relevant information.
Send written complaints to:
The Office of Resolution Management
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420
Section 508 complaints must be filed within 180 days of the date that individuals with disabilities are unable to access the electronic and information technology procured by VA after June 21, 2001. Additional information on VA's ORM complaint process.
How Does the VA Process Section 508 Complaints?
The Office of Resolution Management (ORM) reviews Section 508 complaints. The complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate VA official for further processing. An acknowledgement letter will be issued to the complainant. This letter will include the name and address of the official within VA that the referral has been sent to.
What is Covered Under Section 508?
- Electronic and information technology products procured by a Federal Agency on or after June 21, 2001 .
- Electronic and information technology includes information technology and any equipment or interconnectedsystem or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information.
- It includes, but is not limited to, computers and ancillary equipment; information kiosks and transaction machines; video and multimedia products; software applications and operating systems; web sites; telecommunication products; and, office equipment such as copiers and fax machines. Product support documentation and services must also be made accessible.
How does the law ensure accessibility?
Section 508 requires that electronic and information technology procured by the Department on or after June 21, 2001 , comply with final accessibility standards issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board). These technical standards and functional performance criteria can be found at Section 508 website. Pursuant to Section 508, these standards were incorporated into the Federal Acquisition Regulations and all procurements are subject to these standards, unless an exception applies.
Federal agencies are not required to "retrofit" existing technologies. Enforcement of Section 508 began June 21, 2001.
Note: These guidelines will follow Section 504 complaint procedures found at 38 C.F.R. § 15.170.