The COVID-19 pandemic has increased our reliance on the internet to access basic services, but the inability to access government websites has prevented many people with disabilities from accessing critical information. I was.
report When Recommendation It is the latest in a Casey-led effort to conduct agency oversight and ensure compliance with the law that federal technology must be accessible.
Casey reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs has repeatedly failed to make technology accessible to people with disabilities.
washington dc – Announced today by Chairman Bob Casey (D-PA) of the US Senate Select Committee on Aging Unlock the virtual front door, a report detailing the findings of an 11-month survey that found widespread failures across the federal government to make federal technology accessible to people with disabilities, seniors, and veterans. Rehabilitation Act Section 508 requires people with disabilities to access and use federal technology. But Senator Casey’s report found that his federal government website, especially within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), was not compliant. This creates a barrier for people with disabilities who rely on federal technology for critical services such as health care, employment and social security. more.
Specifically, the report found that:
- VA has repeatedly failed to make its technology accessible to people with disabilities.
- Federal technology creates accessibility barriers for people with disabilities in departments and agencies across government.
- Federal departments and agencies can take years to address Section 508 violations.When
- Poor oversight and enforcement of Section 508 has resulted in a lack of compliance, making federal technology less accessible to people with disabilities.
Senator Casey also released 12 recommendations The federal government has provided solutions to address these shortfalls. The recommendation asks Congress to consider amending Section 508 to accommodate technological advances, the Inspector General to incorporate section 508 compliance into their oversight plans, and federal departments and agencies to Sec. We are asking you to appoint an accessibility officer who will be directly responsible for your Section 508 compliance.
“For many years, I have been an advocate of efforts to ensure that federal technology is accessible to people with disabilities and that the public is informed about the government’s efforts to make it accessible. and my report shows that there is still a long way to go.” Senator Casey said. “The whole federal government needs to wake up to this problem, because a whole-of-government approach is what we need to solve this problem. No, but I do something similar when I ask people with disabilities to use federal websites that are inaccessible. It provides concrete steps for us in the federal government to make the much-needed accessibility improvements that we deserve.”
Unlock the virtual front door Based on Senator Casey’s work overseeing accessibility issues over the years across government agencies, including the VA. Using stories of people with disabilities, seniors, and veterans from Pennsylvania and across the country, the report explores how inaccessible federal technology creates barriers to access to tax and refund receipts, health care, education services, and more. It shows you are keeping people out of the service. pension benefits, etc.
The research used VA’s internal data that identified hundreds of thousands of Section 508 violations. This includes a report produced by Sen. Casey’s VA in response to his bipartisan VA Website Accessibility Act, which found that approximately 90% of VA websites are not fully Section 508 compliant. It turns out. for example, VA’s Pharmacy Benefits Management Service The website and associated web pages contained more than 6,400 Section 508 violations. It includes a webpage on opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution, which contains important information to prevent opioid overdose and instructions on obtaining and using VA naloxone. The report also found federal agencies unable to scan websites for Section 508 violations for more than a year and VA contracts revoked for failing to meet legally mandated reporting requirements. After that, we recommend maintaining the ability to continuously assess accessibility barriers.
In 2020, Senator Casey will Bipartisan VA Website Accessibility Law VA was required to report on the accessibility of the department’s website and kiosks. Since then, he has worked bipartisanly and bicameral, writing letters to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Justice, and the Office of Government Accountability, and holding hearings in the Task Force on Aging to examine the issue at length. I was. Because of his efforts, DOJ has committed to fulfilling its Section 508-mandated obligation to submit to Congress his report on web accessibility across the federal government.
read the report here.