This page uses javascripts, but your browser is not currently supporting java scripts. Please turn ON scripting in your web browser.
The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration


IT Resources for Contractors

Video Captioning and 508 Compliance at SAMHSA

All Web-hosted videos must be captioned so their information is accessible to all citizens, internal and external. Compliance the Sec. 508 accessibility policy is coming under increasing scrutiny and HHS is committed to both meeting the law and serving all people. The captioning requirement covers:

  • Video for over-the-air broadcast, webcast and/or CD distribution
  • Live stream and on-demand videos of any length
  • Public service announcements (PSAs)
  • Training videos
  • Videos produced internally or externally, including by partners
  • Webcasting
  • Video Pod (or Vod) casts
  • Both internal and external audience


There are two types of captioning. In open captioning, the words are visible on the screen. In closed captioning, the captions are hidden to most viewers and are decoded for people needing the captioning.

Most video is captioned from scripts or transcripts. This captioning must be 100% accurate. Once captioned, the video master must be encoded.

Webcasts and other live broadcasts are open captioned on the fly. These must be at least 95% accurate. Captioning and encoding are handed simultaneously for webcast or other live broadcasts.

Last Update: 10/1/2007