The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs routinely fails to make its technology accessible to people with disabilities, according to a report released Wednesday by the Senate Select Committee on Aging. Bob Casey, D-Pa. File photo for Bonnie Cash/UPI | License photo
December 14 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs routinely fails to make its technology accessible to people with disabilities, according to a report released Wednesday by the Senate Select Committee on Aging.
The report follows an 11-month investigation that found widespread failure of the federal government to ensure that people with disabilities, seniors and veterans have access to government technology.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires federal technology to be accessible to persons with disabilities.
The report found that “inadequate oversight and enforcement of Section 508 has led to inadequate compliance and has made federal technology unavailable to people with disabilities.”
The report lays out a series of 12 recommendations, including urging the Justice Department to resume reporting on federal compliance with Section 508 requirements.
It also called on Congress to amend Section 508, noting that more than a quarter-century had passed since the last major update.
The report also recommends that federal agencies maintain the ability to continuously assess accessibility barriers.
“I’ve worked for years to ensure that federal technology is accessible to people with disabilities and to keep the public informed about the government’s efforts to make it accessible. My report shows we still have a long way to go,” said committee chair Sen. . Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said in a statement.
“The whole of the federal government needs to be aware of this issue because we need to take a whole-of-government approach to addressing this.
“We don’t ask people in wheelchairs to go up the courthouse steps, but we’re doing something similar when we ask people with disabilities to use federal websites that are inaccessible.”