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Accessibility (508) Accommodation

Document Type: Standard


HHS allows the use of an accessibility accommodation with approval where the application of current Section 508 standards is not feasible, not helpful and/or not practical.

General categories and examples of content that may be appropriate for an Accessibility Accommodation (see the Guidance for interpretation) include:

  • Excel computational spread sheets containing program modules and macros developed to perform automated analysis or to draw in data sets from external or legacy databases.
  • Password-protected sites
  • Third-party licensed PDF documents from medical and scientific journals (and conference proceeding documents)(if no-cost accessible versions cannot be linked to elsewhere on the Web)
  • Multilingual PDF documents using non-Western characters
  • Complex images and PDF tables, including static images and those supported and detailed narratives
  • Complex math, physics, and chemical notations
  • Large or complex tables, given a waiver based on consideration of:
    • Importance of the document
    • Size and nature of intended audience
    • Expectation that disabled persons would need access
    • Complexity of the table
    • Size of the table
  • Complex dynamic visualizations, including: medical diagnostic and research imaging technologies, 3d-models, CAD, virtual environments
  • Scanned written or poor quality historical publications/materials scanned to a digital archive
  • Archived legacy files.
  • Translated files (presented in a language other than English).
For more information about accessibility accommodations, please visit the accessibility guidelines document available at http://www.hhs.gov/web/508/accomodation.


The use of an accommodation is not intended to relieve organizations of their responsibility of making electronic information accessible.  An accommodation is a means of providing users with disabilities access to information in situations where the application of current Section 508 standards is not feasible, helpful or, in certain cases, practical.  In these instances, an effective accommodation is an accessible statement that acknowledges an accessibility issue and offers assistance in helping to determine the needs of disabled users and working with them to respond to queries in a reasonable time frame, typically no longer than 48 hours.


Approval to use the accommodation provision may, based on formal guidance, be granted on a case-by-case or categorical basis by the OPDIV’s Section 508 Official.  The granting of categorical accommodation waivers should not be delegated.  All approvals must be submitted in advance to DCD, which has final right of approval.

To request approval to use an accomodation statement, complete the request form and send it to Anthony.Prematta@hhs.gov.

The accommodations statement must appear:

  • In close proximity to any link to a non-accessible file.
  • At the front or the top of the non-accessible file itself (so as to be visible to visitors delivered directly to the file by a search engine).

Organizations that employ accommodation statements must have a mechanism in place to provide accommodation in a timely fashion, ideally within two business days.  Accommodation mechanisms may include:

  • In-house response and/or
  • Contracted accommodation services

Organizations utilizing accommodations waivers must ensure that accommodation requests are processed quickly.  Requests for accommodations should be reported to DCD for tracking purposes using the Accommodations Tracking Form at (URL TBA)

Organizations that abuse the accommodations provision or fail to provide adequate accommodation services will be prohibited from using accommodation statements.

Model Accommodations Statement

Persons using assistive technology may not be able to fully access information in this file.  For assistance, [provide contact means: may be email or a phone number].