Office of Disability Rights

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Basic Accessibility

Do not assume you know what an individual wants. Always ask and provide options. Below are some of the most viable options for a variety of situations:

Accessible Touring and Parking:

The Office of Congressional Accessibility Services (OCAS)

Website:  www.aoc.gov/accessibility-services

202.224.4048 (Voice)
202.224.4049 (TTY)

The Office of Congressional Accessibility Services (OCAS) provides a variety of services for individuals with disabilities. Services include, but are not limited to, adaptive tours, sign language interpreting services and wheelchair loans. OCAS can assist with questions regarding accessibility issues in the Capitol, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Wheelchair Loans:

  • Loans are available for both staff and constituents from Congressional Special Services.

  • Must be full time staff or bring a photocopy of a full time staff member’s ID.

Options for Individuals who are Hard of Hearing:

  • Assistive listening devices are designed to increase sound in many listening situations. Can be used in a large meeting, during a tour, or at a hearing and can be borrowed from Congressional Special Services.

  • FM Systems – For individuals without a hearing aide or a hearing aid with a “T” (for telephone) frequency switch, these systems can be borrowed from Congressional Special Services.

  • Induction Loop Hearing – For individuals with a hearing aide that is “T” frequency enabled. This option is available both in the HELP Committee hearing room (SD‐430) and in Gallery #6 of the Senate galleries. For more information contact the Architect of the Capitol (202) 228‐1793, or at http://www.aoc.gov .

  • Dave Bass, (202) 224‐4979, of the Sergeant At Arm’s Recording Studio, could help you understand how television broadcasts of Senate activities and committee hearings are made accessible to persons with hearing impairments through the use of Real Time Captioning. The Architect of the Capitol, however, is responsible for ensuring that committee rooms are wired for persons using T‐coil hearing aids.

Options for Individuals who are Deaf:

  • Interpreters are available for official Congressional business, including staff meetings, press conferences, instructional classes, job interviews, etc. Interpreters are available for witnesses, but not for public attendees, at hearings. A form to schedule an interpreter can be obtained online at Congressional Special Services or in the appendix, but please make requests at least 7 days in advance in all possible instances.

  • Teletypewriter (TTY): Both training and support are offered by Congressional Special Services. Congressional Special Services also offers monthly functionality checks if requested by an office.

  • Video Relay Interpreting services are available through the Congressional Special Services as well as through the Federal Relay Services (FRS) (800) 877‐8339, www.gsa.gov/frs) to allow Federal employees with disabilities equal communication access.

  • Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services are available in the community. Contact Congressional Special Services (202) 224‐4048) for providers in the DC area.

Options for Individuals with Low Vision or who are Blind:

  • Tactile Displays – These displays of Capitol Hill and the surrounding area can be very helpful. Locations are: The Crypt of the Capitol, 1st floor Hart adjacent to the Disbursing Office, and Rayburn at the South Capitol entrance.

  • Be sure to ask if the person prefers Braille. Many people no longer learn Braille.

  • Alternative Formats – All brochures, maps and resource material are available from Congressional Special Services in Braille, large print, E‐text, and American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). Remember to ask what is needed by the person with the disability. Someone who is blind or has low vision does not necessarily read Braille.

  • Conversion – To have a document converted to braille take it to Printing and Graphics, SD‐G82, (202) 224‐6138). Please allow for approximately 1 week to obtain Brailled materials.

Accommodations Requests:

  • For help determining and fulfilling reasonable accommodations for an employee or intern, consult with Jean Manning, Senate Chief Counsel for Employment (202) 224‐5424.

  • To request technical assistive equipment for employees/interns of Senate offices or committees contact Jean McComish in the Human Resources Department of the Office of the Sergeant at Arms (SAA), SH‐142, (202) 224‐2889.

  • For physical accessibility to Senate office buildings contact Takis Tzamaras (202) 224‐2021 in the office of Architect of the Capitol (AOC).

  • Necessary furniture accommodations and ergonomic assessments are also provided by the Architect of the Capitol. Consult with the Superintendentʹs Furniture Division (202) 224‐1213.
  • For further consultation on reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities please visit this http://www.dol.gov/odep. Navigate the Department of Labor’s website from this link by clicking on “Employer.” On the left hand side of the new screen click “Employing People with Disabilities.” From there, select “Accommodations.”