The President signed into law the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. They significantly expanded and strengthened the technology access requirements in Section 508. In 2001 the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) was revised to implement Section 508 as required by law. The FAR now requires all Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) developed, procured, maintained or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. The regulation impacts acquisitions of EIT effective 6/25/01.
The Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Program awards indefinite quantity contracts for use by all federal agencies, and under the revised FAR, must provide accessibility information to federal agencies. This information must indicate which supplies and services the contractors indicate as compliant with the accessibility standards and show where full details of compliance can be found, such as a contractor’s website. When issuing orders against Schedule contracts agencies must ensure the supplies and services meet applicable accessibility standards unless an exemption applies.
The definition of EIT and the accessibility standards were developed by the Access Board. These standards, requirement exceptions, the FAR rule and a wealth of other information regarding the Federal IT Accessibility Initiative can be found at www.section508.gov. The accessibility standards also can be found at 36 CFR Part 1194.