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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

Disability Employment

  • No, conversion to a career or career-conditional appointment is not mandatory. The hiring agency maintains the discretion to determine whether an employee is ready for placement in the permanent career workforce. The agency is not required to convert an individual on the 5 CFR 213.3102(u) appointing authority; however, the intent of Executive Orders 12125 and 13124 concerning employment of people with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities and psychiatric disabilities is to permit these individuals to obtain "civil service competitive status." Civil service competitive status is obtained through conversion to the competitive service, rather than remaining in the excepted service.
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  • Employees or applicants with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation are responsible for making their needs known to the appropriate official. Supervisors are responsible for properly responding to requests for accommodation from their employees. When an individual decides to request accommodation, the individual or his/her representative must let the employer know that s/he needs an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. The employer and the individual with a disability should engage in an informal process to clarify what the individual needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation.
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  • There is no limit on the number of times an individual may be appointed as long as he/she meets the regulatory requirements for appointment.
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  •   When the disability and/or the need for accommodation is not obvious, the employer may ask the individual for reasonable documentation about his/her disability and functional limitations. An employer should respond expeditiously to a request for reasonable accommodation.  
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  • Common courtesy should prevail when interacting with individuals with disabilities, as with all other employees. If questions arise as to whether assistance should be offered or whether a particular accommodation is necessary, the best course of action is simply to ask the person with a disability his or her preference. Most people with disabilities will not become offended if asked their preferences and would, in fact, welcome the opportunity to share information that would create a more pleasant work environment for everyone.
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  • People with disabilities are appointed under 5 CFR 213.3102(u).
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  •   An individual with a disability:  
    • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the person's major life activities;
    • has a record of such an impairment; or
    • is regarded as having such impairment.
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  •     The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides assistive technology accommodations and services to persons with disabilities at the Department of Defense and over 38 Federal agencies (upon the request of the head of the Federal agency) at no cost. CAP supports accessibility efforts, including the successful implementation of Section 508’s electronic and information technology accessibility requirements. The U.S. Department of Agriculture established the Technology Accessible Resources Gives Employment Today (TARGET) Center to support the Department with assistive technology and ergonomic solutions. Needs assessments and demonstrations conducted by the Center provide federal employees with disabilities equal access to electronic and information technology essential in today's work force. The Department of Transportation - Disability Resource Center (DRC) is a one-stop shop to ensure that DOT employees with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of the Department's work, programs and services. DRC provides reasonable accommodations, assessments, and assistive technology. The Department of Education's Assistive Technology Program provides support services to Education managers and supervisors in determining how technology can be used to meet the reasonable accommodation needs of employees with disabilities. These services include needs assessments, specialty equipment and software demonstrations. The Assistive Technology Team also studies software development issues pertaining to Education accessibility requirements for product implementation in Department-wide systems. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) Disability Policy/Section 504 Reasonable Accommodation staff within the Office of Management's Work/Life Programs Group (WLPG) promotes disability awareness and assists managers and staff with reasonable accommodation and program access needs. Having disability access resources available reflects ED's ongoing commitment to provide full access to all customers and employees with disabilities. These resources include services such as Braille and audiotape versions of ED publications, funding for reasonable accommodations, and guidance on a range of accessibility questions. Other offices within ED also provide resources and work closely with the Disability Policy/Section 504 Reasonable Accommodation staff to deliver disability-access services to all Department customers and employees who need them. For more information, call the Section 504/Reasonable Accommodation office at 202-401-8545 Voice or 202-260-8874 TTY or call the Work/Life Programs Group main number at 202-401-2905 Voice/TTY via Federal Relay Service. The Department of Commerce - Committee on Resources for Electronic Accessible Technology to End Users (CREATE) offers planning and coordination of activities that increase awareness of assistive technology for people with disabilities. For more information call (202) 482-3201 (Voice) or (202) 482-4675 (TTY).   The Department of Energy - Disability Accommodation Program, Assistive Technologies Support Team is the primary point of contact for employees with disabilities at headquarters. The Team provides coordination, responsibility, and oversight for all support interfaces with individual employees with disabilities or impairments. The Department of Housing and Urban Development - Housing Accessibility Resource Program (HARP) maintains an information library containing extensive reference materials and resources. HARP also provides an opportunity for managers and employees to utilize the TARGET Center at the USDA to view and evaluate assistive technology. For more information call (202) 708-0288 x268 (Voice) or (202) 708-4401 (TTY). The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) - The Microcomputer Training Program for Persons with Disabilities (MTPPD) provides cost-reimbursable assistive technology training for U.S. veterans. It also provides product assessment, demonstrations, consultations, and facility tours. Currently, MTPPD is helping VA implement the Nationwide Office Automation which will allow all users access to the information environment. For more information, call (202) 273-6542 (Voice) or fax to (202) 273-6555. The Internal Revenue Service - Information Resources Accessibility Program (IRAP) Office provides accessible electronic information technology to customers with disabilities. Associates offer consultations, technical support, demonstrations, and facility tours. IRAP also tests IRS systems and products to ensure accessibility to and compatibility with assistive technology. To find out more, visit their website, or call (202) 283-0283 (Voice) or (202) 283-6566/67 (TTY). The Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity (OCREO), provides adaptive devices to accommodate SSA's employees with disabilities. SSA believes that having a centralized account to purchase adaptive devices encourages managers to hire more people with disabilities since they would not have to deplete local resources to purchase expensive adaptive equipment. A central component of SSA tracks the technologies that are compatible with SSA's systems. In 1997, SSA embarked on a four-year project to provide personal computers with mainframe emulation to all SSA employees which would be connected by local and wide area networks. The Federal Communications Commission - Disability Rights Office (DRO) works hard to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to telecommunications. The DRO, housed in the FCC's Consumer Information Bureau, provides technical assistance to consumers, businesses, and government agencies on their rights and responsibilities to facilitate disability access in the foundations and frontiers of telecommunications
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  •  Provided the information is accurate, there are no OPM imposed limitations on the number of times an applicant may submit such documentation or requirements concerning the timeframe which the documentation must be dated.
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