A bipartisan group of senators has asked for a GAO review of compliance by federal agencies of requirements to make information accessible to persons with disabilities.
Compliance with the “Section 508” requirement of the Rehabilitation Act “is critical to ensuring a sizable share of the American public, including individuals with disabilities and seniors, can access government information and technology,” they said. However, “Accessibility challenges appear to exist across the government, raising important questions about the effectiveness od accountability mechanisms intended to monitor the accessibility of federal technology and whether they are being properly carried out.”
The letter said for example that those issues led to passage of a 2019 law specifically targeting the VA after findings that only 8 percent of its sites are fully compliant. Similarly, it said, a review last year found that the homepages for 30 percent of the most popular federal websites are not fully accessible, and a similar percentage lacked easily findable contact information to report accessibility issues. Other reported issues include for example lack of captioning on agency videos.
One of the senators, Robert Casey, D-Pa., chair of the Special Committee on Aging, also recently called on the Justice Department to restart biennial reports required under the law—but not issued since 2012—on agency compliance.