Accommodation Process

Request for Approval of the Use of an Accommodation Process

The NIH Request for Approval of the Use of an Accommodation process (referred to hereafter as an ‘Accommodation Request’) is used when an IC program office determines that an electronic and information technology (EIT) product or service cannot be made conformant. An Accommodation Request is handled on a case-by-case basis and is a joint effort between an IC program office (or project owner) and the IC Section 508 Coordinator. By requesting an accommodation, the program office (or project owner) is making a commitment to accommodate persons with disabilities through alternate means of access upon request. The Process:

  1. The IC program office contacts their respective IC Section 508 Coordinator because they believe that an EIT product or service cannot meaningfully be made accessible to persons with disabilities. (Note: This determination should be made before implementation of the product or service and through a full evaluation of the EIT against the current Section 508 standards.)

  2. The IC 508 Coordinator determines if the EIT is subject to Section 508 compliance and if an accommodation is needed. If an accommodation is warranted, the Coordinator provides the program office with a copy of the procedures and the request form to complete and instructs the program office on how to submit a request.

  3. The IC program office completes the Accommodation Request documentation to explain why the specific EIT product or service cannot be fully or meaningfully accessible.

  4. The IC Coordinator reviews the completed Accommodation Request for completeness, working with the IC program office as needed. The IC Coordinator submits (e-mails) the completed Request for Approval of the Use of an Accommodation and all related documentation to the NIH Section 508 Coordinator for review and processing.

  5. The NIH Section 508 Coordinator’s staff processes the Accommodation Request by notifying the NIH Section 508 Advisory Group through e-mail that an Accommodation Request has been posted to the NIH Section 508 SharePoint Discussion Board website for their initial review and feedback. The review and feedback period is normally open for five (5) business days; however, the IC can arrange for an expedited review if the request is justified.

  6. The NIH Section 508 Advisory Group members provide feedback and recommendations on whether or not the request should be approved or requires revisions. The IC program office and IC Coordinator will be advised of any needed revisions that need to be made to the Accommodation Request.

  7. The request is resubmitted to the NIH Section 508 Coordinator and the Accommodation Request is reviewed to ensure that the revisions have addressed all issues raised in the initial review. If the Accommodation Request has been adequately revised, the NIH Section 508 Coordinator’s staff prepares a “Recommendation for Approval” package for a second review and vote by the NIH Section 508 Advisory Group. The Advisory Group is provided five (5) business days to vote for or against the Recommendation as prepared and to submit any final comments.

  8. If approved by a simple majority of those voting, the NIH Section 508 Coordinator’s staff submits the final package, with all necessary IC signatures, to the NIH Section 508 Coordinator for final approval. The signed response to the IC’s Request for Approval of the Use of an Accommodation is then returned electronically to the IC Section 508 Coordinator and the IC program office (or project owner) by close of the following business day.

Notes:

  • Accommodation Requests must be renewed through the IC Section 508 Coordinator on an annual basis unless they have been approved for a specific period-of-time or are for products or services that will not be used for more than one year.
  • The first point of contact for an accommodation should always be the IC Section 508 Coordinator who also represents the IC on the NIH Section 508 Advisory Group. General questions regarding the Accommodation Process can be e-mailed to the NIH Section 508 Help team at: section508help@nih.gov.