Website Accessibility. The Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) is committed to making the content on this website accessible to individuals with disabilities. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794d) requires federal agencies to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to electronic information and data. Section 508 standards are the technical requirements and criteria that are used to measure compliance with the Rehabilitation Act.

This website meets the 508 standards and is accessible to users with disabilities, including keyboard-only users and those with visual and cognitive impairments. Most of the documents on OHA’s website and in OES are in in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). The PDF document format is used to preserve the content and layout of the original hard copy document. Unless a PDF document is properly formatted for access by screen-reading software, a user is unable to make the screen-reading software speak the contents of a PDF document.

OHA has made every effort to ensure that our PDF files are accessible and can be read with screen readers. These files were tagged at a high level using an automated process. While this method is not exact, it dramatically increases the accessibility of the files as compared to an untagged version.

If you require assistance or wish to report an issue related to the accessibility of any content on this website or within OES, please contact us at

OES Accessibility. OHA requires parties to upload only PDF documents to OHA. While accessibility for OES documents is not mandatory, we strongly prefer that all documents in OES be accessible to all, and encourage litigants to make their PDF uploads 508 compliant. The following are tips to help with that process:


In order to ensure that documents are accessible, the content creator can use the formatting and layout options within Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Pro.

  • We strongly recommend that documents be made 508 compliant in Word prior to saving them as PDFs, as it is easier to format a document properly in Word.
  • When creating a PDF from scanned hard copies, you must convert the scanned images of text to searchable content using optical character recognition.
  • In Word, use headings to structure and organize your document. Ensure that all heading styles are applied in a hierarchal manner, such as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.
  • Insert alternative text for images, tables, and charts and graphs. Also, include captions for charts and graphs.
  • Do not format images and other objects to be floating, but rather in line with text.
  • Do not use tabs or spaces to create columns. Instead, use the Page Layout/Columns command.
  • Use descriptive hypertext links.
  • Be cautious as to the colors you choose. Some colors and color combinations can be difficult to read, especially for someone who has color blindness. Provide sufficient color contrast.

For users of Microsoft Office products, Microsoft has free help articles on how to create accessible Office documents at For users of Adobe products, Adobe has free help articles on how to create accessible PDF documents at

We recommend use of the Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker to identify problems in your Word document. It points out things such as missing alt text, missing table row headers, unclear hyperlink text, and more. The Accessibility Checker also provides instructions on how to fix any items that have been flagged as inaccessible.

To use the Accessibility Checker:

  1. Click on the File tab.
  2. Click on Info.
  3. Click on the Check for Issues button.
  4. From the menu, select: Check Accessibility. An Inspection Results pane will appear. It provides a list of errors and warnings that it found in the document.
  5. Fix the errors and warnings as appropriate.

Adobe has an Accessibility Wizard to check the PDF document for accessibility. To use the Accessibility Wizard in Adobe Acrobat Pro:

  1. Click Tools from the upper right corner.
  2. Click Action Wizard > Make Accessible from the sidebar.
  3. By default, the action runs on the currently open document. Select Add Files to select additional files or a folder to run the action on.
  4. Click Start button. This will walk you through a series of steps to enhance the accessibility of your document.

ACCESSIBILITY: The decisions issued and/or posted by the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) meet the accessibility requirements issued by the Department in accordance with Section 508 guidance, but if you are having trouble with accessibility for any particular decision, please contact us for assistance at