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Accessibility Services

Accessibility Services

A view of the Capitol Visitor Center lit up at night

The Office of Congressional Accessibility Services (OCAS) provides a variety of services for individuals with disabilities, whether they are staff or visitors.

The Office of Congressional Accessibility Services (OCAS) provides a variety of services for individuals with disabilities, whether they are staff or visitors. These services include adaptive tours of the Capitol building, wheelchair loans, and interpreting services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. OCAS prepares and distributes several brochures and lends sensory aids to visitors with disabilities. OCAS can assist with questions regarding accessibility issues in the Capitol, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.

Location: Crypt of the Capitol, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC 20510
Telephone: 202-224-4048 (Voice) 202-224-4049 (TTY)
Fax: 202-228-4679
Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday


Assistive Listening Devices
Visitors who would like a sound amplification device may make use of an FM system. This is an assistive listening device that can be used for a tour; a meeting with a Senator, Representative, or staff member; a committee hearing; etc. Use of an FM system can be arranged through a Senate or House office or through OCAS, depending on the nature of the event.


Brochures, Maps and Audio Tapes
Brochures and maps are available in several formats, including large print, braille, ASCII disc, and audio tape form for visitors who are blind or have low vision. These include the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services brochure and Washington Highlights: Tour Information for Visitors with Disabilities.

  • The Office of Congressional Accessibility Services brochure highlights information regarding OCAS services; maps showing facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities, such as restrooms, elevators, telephones, ramps, etc.; and historical information.
  • The Washington Highlights: Tour Information for Visitors with Disabilities brochure highlights information regarding parking, accessible Washington area tourist sites, TTY telephone numbers, and assistive services.


The Office of Congressional Accessibility Services also offers an Audio Descriptive Tour of the Capitol, for use by individuals who are blind or have low vision. This audio tape is designed to be used either before or after taking a tour, and is not intended to be used as a self guiding tool.

Individuals may obtain copies of these brochures and audio tapes through either of their Senators' offices, their Representative's office, or the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services.

At the Capitol Visitor Center all films shown include closed captioning.


Coin-Operated Public TTYs
Coin Operated Public TTYs are located in the Capitol as well as the Capitol Visitor Center and all House and Senate Office Buildings in the Capitol Complex. Their locations are as follows:

  • Capitol Visitor Center - Next to the gift shop on the upper level, north side
  • Capitol - First floor, across from the Senate Refectory
  • Russell Senate Office Building - Delaware Street entrance
  • Dirksen Senate Office Building - First Street and C Street entrance
  • Hart Senate Office Building - Constitution Avenue and C Street entrance
  • Cannon House Office Building - New Jersey Avenue entrance on the first floor
  • Longworth House Office Building - Independence Avenue entrance on the first floor near the elevators
  • Rayburn House Office Building - South Capitol Street entrance to the right of the lobby
  • Ford House Office Building - Third Street lobby


Accessible Entrances
Accessible entrances to the Capitol and the House and Senate Office Buildings are as follows:

  • Capitol Visitor Center - Main entrance at First and East Capitol streets.
  • Capitol - Public Tours enter on the South or House Side of the Capitol, which is accessible. Official Senate Business enters on the North Side of the Capitol which is accessible.
  • Russell Senate Office Building - Delaware entrance on ground level closest to Constitution Avenue.
  • Dirksen Senate Office Building - First Street and C Street entrance.
  • Hart Senate Office Building - Second Street entrance.
  • Cannon House Office Building - Entrance on New Jersey Avenue, S.E., south of the terrace at the intersection with Independence Avenue.
  • Longworth House Office Building - Main entrance, Independence and New Jersey Avenues.
  • Rayburn House Office Building - Main entrance, horseshoe drive off South Capitol Street.
  • Ford House Office Building - Entrance on 3rd Street, S.W., near intersection with D Street, S.W.

Accessible Parking at the Capitol and Congressional Office Buildings
Public parking is very limited around Capitol Hill. The closest public parking facility is Union Station. The District of Columbia does recognize accessible parking permits issued by the states and territories. Parking is permitted at designated handicapped spaces or any metered/un-metered parking space (no fee required), within the hours allowed for general parking in that area. Visitors must display state-issued handicapped tags or permits. Parking is not allowed where stopping, standing or parking is prohibited to all vehicles, in spaces reserved for special vehicles (buses, taxis, etc), or where is would clearly be a traffic hazard. Visitors who have an appointment in a Senator or Representative's office may request accessible parking through that office.


Telephone Numbers
Phone numbers for House and Senate offices, both voice and TTY, are available by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 (voice) or 202-224-3091 (TTY). Additional useful numbers are listed below:

Office of Congressional Accessibility Services: 202-224-4048 (voice) or 202-224-4049 (TTY)
Federal Relay Service: 800-877-8339 (voice/TTY)
Washington, D.C., Relay Service: 202-855-1000 (voice) 202-855-1234 (TTY)


Sign Language/Interpreting Services
The Office of Congressional Accessibility Services has Certified Sign Language Interpreters on staff. Interpreting services are available for official activities including public tours, press conferences, and constituent meetings with Senators, Representatives, and staff. Requests for interpreting services must be arranged through a Senator's or Representative's office.

The OCAS does not provide interpreters for committee meetings, unless requested by a Senator or Representative to enable a specific witness to communicate with committee members. Requests for interpreting services for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing should be directed to the committee holding the specific hearing.
 

Tours
All public tours of the Capitol are accessible. Individuals with disabilities may also take a tour tailored to their individual needs, provided by the OCAS. The OCAS provides tours Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tours last approximately one hour. Walk-up tours are accommodated as staff availability permits. Tours can be arranged in advance through a Senator's or Representative's office.
 

Wheelchairs
Wheelchairs are available for use by visitors in the Capitol Complex. Individuals entering through the Capitol Visitor Center may make a wheelchair request at the coat check areas. Constituents visiting for other purposes may request the use of a wheelchair through their Senator’s or Representative's office.