The nonprofit Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), founded in 1945, is the only congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to serving America’s blinded and visually impaired veterans.
BVA has yet again contacted members of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs’ handling of the website accessibility reporting requirements set forth in Public Law No. 116-213 (12/04/2020). The mandated report, which was due August 31, was to identify websites, files, and applications that are not accessible for disabled individuals. The report was also to include a plan to make such information accessible.
“Unfortunately, VA has yet to release the report and we are concerned that the Department may be attempting to stall its release,” said Jim Vale, BVA’s National Service Director, Veterans Benefits & Policy.
BVA Executive Director Donald Overton expressed similar concern and frustration: “Ensuring that our members and other disabled veterans are able to access information regarding their earned benefits, health appointments, and other VA health information, is a top priority for BVA, as it should be, for VA and the Veterans Affairs Committees. Delaying the release of this report only prolongs the hardship placed on our veterans and disabled employees within VA simply trying to do their jobs. The inaccessibility of certain VA websites and applications has negatively impacted the mental well-being of disabled veterans and forced their reliance on outside help to simply access medical information. We advocate for restored independence for our disabled veterans, yet VA is presenting one of the greatest barriers to restoring that independence by continually ignoring accessibility standards.”
BVA calls on the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs to hold VA accountable for the immediate release of this report so that accessibility correction projects can begin promptly. “Committee members have always been staunch advocates for our disabled veterans and BVA appreciates their continued support,” said Overton.
For additional information, please contact BVA Deputy Director of Veterans Policy Erin McConnell via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at (202) 371-8880, Ext. 331.