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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

Disability Employment

  •   In addition to competing for a position by applying via the link on a USAJOBS vacancy announcement, people with disabilities who are eligible for the Schedule A hiring authority may use the non-competitive hiring process to apply directly to agencies’ Selective Placement Program Coordinators (SPPC’s). SPPC’s may use this hiring authority to streamline the appointment of people with disabilities.   If you are interested in being considered under this special hiring authority, please provide the agency’s SPPC your "Proof of Disability" letter stating that you have a severe disability. You can get this letter from your doctor, a licensed medical professional, a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist or any Federal, state or local agency that issues or provides disability benefits. Certain veterans may also be considered under special hiring programs for veterans with disability ratings of 30% or more. Department of Veterans Affairs vocational rehabilitation counselors should be able to provide additional information about this process.
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  • Reasonable accommodations that can be requested include, but are not limited to, the following:
      • making existing facilities accessible;
      • restructuring the job;
      • utilizing part-time or modified work schedules;
      • adjusting or modifying tests, training materials, or policies;
      • providing qualified readers and interpreters;
      • acquiring or modifying equipment; and
      • reassigning an individual to a vacant position for which the employee must be qualified.
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  • All denials of reasonable accommodation requests must be made in writing, and the decision must specify the reason for the denial. The denial should be written in plain language, clearly stating the specific reasons for the denial. After denying a request, the individual must be informed that s/he has the right to file an EEO complaint, has the right to pursue any applicable union grievance and informal alternative dispute resolution.
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  •   A major life activity is a function that the average person in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty. Major life activities include activities such as caring for oneself, seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, speaking, learning, sitting, standing, lifting, reaching, and working.  
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  • No, the new regulation does not provide for priority in Federal hiring. The regulation applies to excepted service appointments.
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  • Generally the agency (employer) must bear the costs of providing reasonable accommodation. For more information see the amended Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In addition, Federal agencies may have several resources to draw upon when seeking support for reasonable accommodation. Sometimes other agencies have a role in funding the cost of an accommodation. For example, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs may have funds to assist employers in providing reasonable accommodations for veterans with disabilities. The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) in the Department of Defense provides reasonable accommodations such as assistive technology, devices and support services for free to Federal agencies who have a partnership agreement with CAP. Applicants and employees are not expected or required to bear the costs of reasonable accommodations. Check with the agency personnel office, disability coordinator, or EEO office to see how requests for accommodation are handled at a particular agency.
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  • An individual who is granted a reasonable accommodation might not receive the exact form of accommodation requested. The deciding official has the discretion to identify reasonable and appropriate alternatives.
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  • The final regulations establish a new 5 CFR appointing authority (5 CFR 213.3102(u)) that consolidates multiple excepted appointing authorities into one expanded excepted appointing authority. Impact will depend on the actual circumstances of the restructuring, and how an agency decides to effect the RIF. Agencies have discretion in determining which positions to abolish, as well as discretion to provide affected competing excepted service employees with certain assignment rights. Therefore, impact (positive, neutral, or negative) depends on the implementation of a RIF by the agency.
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  • The excepted hiring authorities referenced in question 18 create a streamlined process to hire people with disabilities. Using these excepted hiring authorities eliminates the requirement for competition which may be very time-consuming. The excepted hiring authorities may require that the disabled person have a certification from a State vocational rehabilitation agency or the Veterans Administration. Once again, consult your human resources office to ensure that you use the best hiring strategy for your specific vacancy.
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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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