Section 508 VPAT Instructions to Vendors

  • 28.02.2022

*This article is not intended to provide legal tax advice. Please consult the IRS or your tax advisor for legal tax advice.*

In this article we’ll be walking through exactly what you need to do in order for your business to qualify for the $5,000 Tax Credit and also:

  • What it means for your website to be ADA compliant 
  • Risks of not having a compliant website 
  • How you can claim the credit before the next tax season 

If you are in a more serious situation and have already received a complaint letter for an ADA lawsuit, you can read more about the steps you need to take to protect your business clicking here.

Note: Think your business might qualify for the Tax Credit? Click here to get a Free Website Accessibility Test and see if your website has any errors. If so, having our experts quickly begin the remediation process gives you a chance to claim the credit. 

Section 508 and Vendors

Within the scope of ADA compliance, you are regarded as an ICT (Information & Communication Technology) vendor if you manufacture, develop, design, produce, educate, or resale any ICT product or service. This implies that in order to do business with the Federal Government, you must demonstrate that your ICT goods or services are accessible and meet the ADA compliance criteria outlined in Revised Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

This article will provide you instructions or insights on how to showcase ADA compliance for your products or services. It will also instruct you on how to showcase ADA compliance and confidently respond to government and other purchasers’ solicitations for your products and services.

Demonstrating ADA Compliance

If you are an ICT vendor, the simplest way to demonstrate your ADA compliance to government buyers of products and services is to provide them with a VPAT compliance document.

Click here to contact us online and learn more about VPAT compliance and how you can get an ADA compliance audit done for your website. If you are a vendor or want to become a vendor under Section 508, keep reading this article to learn more about ADA compliance 508.

To showcase ADA compliance for your products or services to government buyers, the instructions that you need to keep at your fingertips are:

  • Provide a brief VPAT compliance statement outlining your approach to or capabilities for accessibility.
  • Take care of the concerns set out in the functional criteria. Indicating how you’ll provide assistance with suitable assistive technology, including instruments that do not have explicit criteria under the VPAT compliance technical standards, can do this very well.
  • Identify the accessibility concepts for any extra ICT elements that may exist in addition to those specified in the VPAT compliance requirements.

How do you respond to requests for proposals or invitations to bid for the delivery of goods or services? As a section 508 vendor, you will undoubtedly get several solicitations, and you must be skilled at responding to them. When you do, ensure to utilize language that demonstrates your understanding of the VPAT compliance standards and procedures. You should also demonstrate how effectively your product or service adheres to the ADA compliance criteria outlined in Revised Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Requests for ICT-related bids from the government will definitely contain a list of requirements demonstrating that the product or service to be supplied would be accessible to individuals with disabilities. This list was formerly referred to as GPAT. You should do your utmost to reply to the solicitations appropriately and in the correct terminology by offering explanations of how you will handle the VPAT compliance requirements in the solicitations.

If you plan to sell products or services based on VPAT compliance for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) good or services, always produce a documented Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) for each ICT product or service that you’re interested in delivering.

COTS VPAT compliance should be configured or adjusted to meet the criteria of the Request for Proposal (RFP). Furthermore, make sure that the ACR is completely filled out and submitted in accordance with the instructions in the solicitation to avoid being rejected in the selection process. If you need assistance in responding to solicitations, do not hesitate to contact us online or by phone at (626) 486-2201. Our experts would gladly assist you in this matter.

There is one additional item to think about when it comes to solicitations and VPAT compliance. It’s all about providing extra information. It is recommended that when responding to solicitations, you offer as much ADA compliance information regarding the product and service that you are interested in delivering as possible.

A well-written Supplemental Accessibility Report (SAR) is a document that should be added to the list of tick-box items that you would provide to the body requesting bids to deliver ICT products and services. The SAR typically outlines the evaluation techniques used to create your ACR. It emphasizes the qualities of the product or service that you want to provide and how they promote accessibility and usability. It also describes how to configure and install the product for people who would like to support accessibility.

Additional material should also include a demonstration of the commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products (if any) that you intend to employ to achieve the objectives outlined in the proposal. Always demonstrate how you will setup or maintain any COTS item that you want to offer in order to meet the accessibility requirements of the requesting agency. If you need assistance, please call us at (626) 486-2201 or contact us online.

If you’re a vendor responding to requests for proposals that require ICT items to be used in generating such electronic content as documents, reports, videos, multimedia, and web content, among others, and you envisage using COTS authorizing tools as a substantial component in the solution that you’ll provide, consider developing samples of the accessible electronic content that will be produced when your solution is implemented. If it is content for a website, for example, create examples of a 508-compliant website that will be the solution’s final outcome.

Moreover, a demonstration of how COTS authoring tools facilitate the generation of accessible content in scenarios such as when the tool can create a full range of user interface components would be valuable. The main thing to remember here is to go above to show that you have the ability to give the answer that the customer is looking for.

If you are bidding on work involving the development of ICT solutions but do not have a product that can be reviewed to give you with a VPAT sample to add in your submission to the soliciting entity, consider including a statement describing your company’s attitude to accessibility like this. This will be important since if you don’t have any proof of ADA compliance, your response to a solicitation may be pushed to the bottom of the pile or ignored completely.

Please contact us online or call (626) 486-2201 for more information on VPAT compliance for vendors, developing a 508 compliant website, or conducting an ADA compliance audit. You can also click here to have a free website ADA compliance check or schedule an ADA compliance audit.