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Digital Accessibility at HRSA

What is our role in accessibility?

We ensure that employees and members of the public provide the same (or comparable) access to and use of information and services sought by each individual. We believe everyone is accountable and responsible for accessibility conformance. We comply by implementing the regulations of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The accessibility field encompasses many types of technology, standards, and guidelines. As a federal government agency, we must abide by the Section 508 legislation. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, codified at section 29 USC 794d, as amended, ensures those with disabilities have equal access to government information as contained in information and communications technology (ICT), and thereby to the government employment, programs, and services to which all citizens are entitled. Section 508 is only one segment of the accessibility field. As the use of information technology (IT) has greatly increased within the workplace and out in recent years, and additional legislation has required ever-more access to government information, there is a great need for strong, effective action to ensure compliance across the Agency.

What are Section 508 accessibility requirements?

Section 508 requires federal agencies to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access and use electronic and information technology (EIT) unless doing so would cause an undue burden on the Agency.

The requirements of Section 508 apply to an agency's procurement of EIT and its development, maintenance, or use of EIT.

Who is impacted by inaccessible content?

A disability is any condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. Recognized groups of disabilities include:

  • Photosensitive epilepsy
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Limited language, cognitive, and learning abilities
  • Deaf or limited hearing
  • Blind or limited vision
  • Without the perception of color
  • Non-verbal or limited speech
  • Limited manipulation; and,
  • Limited reach and strength.

What types of content are required to be accessible?

All external public-facing content and non-public-facing official agency communications. ICT and internal official agency communications include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Web, desktop, and mobile technologies;
  • Printers, scanners, phones, and kiosks;
  • Software used but not purchased by the federal government;
  • Email, PDFs, Microsoft Office documents, support material;
  • Posting to and the use of social media sites;
  • A survey questionnaire; a template or form;
  • Educational or training materials;
  • Intranet content designed as a webpage;
  • An emergency notification;
  • An initial or final decision adjudicating an administrative;
  • claim or proceeding; a formal acknowledgment of receipt;
  • An internal or external program or policy announcement;
  • A notice of benefits, program eligibility, employment; and,
  • opportunity, or personnel action.

Inaccessible content puts the Agency at risk of legal action. Important: The content or system owner ensures their content, system, product, or service is accessible.

What are telecommunication relay services?

Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (which took full effect on July 26, 1993) requires all U.S. telephone companies to provide telecommunications relay services.

A telecommunications relay service (TRS) provides a communications assistant (CA) that allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired to communicate with people who use a standard telephone. A TRS offers two options: Voice carry-over (VCO) allows a person with a hearing impairment to speak directly to the other party and then read the response typed by a CA. Hearing carry-over (HCO) allows a person with a speech impairment to listen to the other party and relay the typed response to the telephone user through the CA. This service will enable individuals with communication disorders to communicate with all telephone users.

How can I use a telecommunication relay service?

To reach a TRS, dial 711, and the assistant can place the 10-digit call on behalf of the user of the text telephone device (TTY or TDD).

You can dial 711 to access all telecommunications relay services anywhere in the United States. The relay service is free. In an emergency, TDD or TTY users can call 911 directly and do not need to make a TRS call via 711.

Communications assistants are trained to be unobtrusive. An assistant’s responsibility is to relay the conversation exactly as received. All relay calls are confidential.

Regardless of which long-distance company or organization provides a state's relay service, callers can continue using the long-distance company of their choice.

Where can I find additional information about telecommunication relay services?

For more information on TRS, please visit the Federal Communications Commission.

What are the agency's reasonable accommodations procedures for Federal employees and job applicants?

OCRDI provides services and resources in the following key areas: 

  • Management and administration of HRSA’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process
  • Processing reasonable accommodations 
  • Technical assistance regarding civil rights laws and regulations for HRSA recipients 
  • Selective Placement Coordination and Schedule A hiring opportunities Developing tools and resources to increase DEIA among HRSA’s workforce

Contact Us

Please direct feedback and report accessibility problems and inquiries regarding accessibility and Section 508 to the HRSA Accessibility email (Include the web address/link to the page.)

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