Resources – U.S. Laws

The United States has several national laws and federal policies that require accessibility. Many states mirror federal laws in their own guidelines and policies.

  • Help America Vote Act 
    Establishes requirements for access to elections for persons with disabilities including the ability to cast their ballot independently and privately. See details of accessibility requirements under HAVA.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    Prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The ADA requires that reasonable accommodations be provided in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities.
  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act  and Access Board Section 508 pages
    Section 508 requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. The Section 508 requirements are currently being refreshed. A public comment period is open until March 7, 2012.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
    Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in federally funded and federally conducted programs or activities in the United States, including employment programs. Additional information and definitions related to Section 504 can be found at the Department of Labor website.
  • Assistive Technology Act 
    The Assistive Technology Act establishes a grant program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, to provide Federal funds to support State programs that address the assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities
  • Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act
    Section 255 of the requires manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and providers of telecommunications services to ensure that such equipment and services are accessible to persons with disabilities. The Section 508 requirements are currently being refreshed. A public comment period is open until March 7, 2012.
  • 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility
    Telecommunications protection for people with disabilities, including broadband access television or media
The United States is part of international bodies, including the UN and the World Health Organization.
  • International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF)
    The ICF is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) framework for measuring health and disability at both individual and population levels. The ICF defines disability a result of an interaction between a person (with a health condition) and that person’s contextual factors (environmental factors and personal factors). Disability is a spectrum of functioning, not something that only happens to a minority of humanity.
  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    The Convention adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The US became a signatory to this international convention in 2009.
Source and listings of other federal laws and policies: