Diffrence between Section 504 and Section 508

Nov 21, 2019

Hello Guys,

What is the difference between section 504 and section 508 compliance 

2 Replies
Nancy P. Hemenway

Responsibilities under Section 504 and Section 508 can overlap. Both statutes impose different but generally related accomodations. The objective is to to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination based on their disabilities. The definition of disability has been broadened over the last few years. Basically, a disability as defined by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)  defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity (emphasis mine).

“This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability.”

Agencies must comply with both provisions when they distribute information.

Section 508 requires Federal agencies to ensure that persons with disabilities (both employees and members of the public) have comparable access to and use of electronic information technology.   Section 508 doesn’t apply to federal agencies only. It also impacts any company that does business with a federal agency. This includes private contractors, the financial industry, healthcare, many legal organizations, and others. Compliance can be complicated but for example in designed a website it is far easier to understand and implement compliance when beginning than to correct the issues after building it. My personal website is mostly compliant but the section here I coded completely by hand using a text editor and made it completely compliant as part of a graduate course I took.


Section 504 requires accommodations for individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in their programs and benefit from their services, including the provision of information to employees and members of the public. This includes businesses and any public accommodation.

Agencies must provide appropriate auxiliary aids where necessary to ensure an equal opportunity. Types of auxiliary aids may include brailled or large print versions of materials, electronic diskettes, audiotapes, qualified interpreters or readers, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDDs), captioning of video, and other methods of making information available and accessible to persons with disabilities. In considering what type of auxiliary aid to provide, agencies must give primary consideration to the request of the individual with a disability and shall honor that request, unless it can demonstrate that another effective means of communication exists.

Some examples include:

Accommodations for service animals

· preferential seating.

· extended time on tests and assignments for students as well as .

· reduced homework or classwork.

· verbal, visual, or technology aids.

· modified textbooks or audio-video materials.

· behavior management support.

· adjusted class schedules or grading.

· verbal testing.

I’m sure this is more information than you wanted ☺
I am very familiar as my youngest is disabled and has a service dog –

Good luck


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