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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

Disability Employment

  • No, in a case of a 5 CFR 213.3102(u) appointee transferring from one agency to another, time previously spent under a Schedule A appointment counts toward the completion of the 2 year period if the person is reappointed without a break in service.
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  • An employee with a disability who fails to meet performance standards or whose conduct on the job is inappropriate should receive the same treatment as an employee without a disability. In most cases, documentation of poor performance or misconduct should be collected, and the employee should be advised that there are issues of concern. As with any employee, the disabled employee’s failure to address performance or conduct issues may result in letters of counseling, suspension, and even termination. The disabled employee has the same rights as the non-disabled employee to appeal these personnel actions. For additional information, contact your human resources office; OPM also has posted information on employee relations issues on their Employee Relations website.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • No, individuals with disabilities are eligible to be noncompetitively converted in any Federal agency. Agency selective placement coordinators are urged to try and place disabled people with other agencies, if placement in their own agency is not possible. Checking the job listings on the OPM USAJOBS (www.usajobs.gov) is one way to locate appropriate positions for these individuals.
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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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  • 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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  • You should discuss this matter with your supervisor and attempt to resolve the situation (including any misunderstanding) informally. In addition, be ready, willing, and able to volunteer for assignments as opportunities arise. By taking the initiative to volunteer, you speak volumes about your attitude and approach to the work in the office.

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  • Generally the agency (employer) must bear the costs of accommodations. Some agencies are organized to provide central funding of the costs of accommodations. Central funding assures that funding is available for accommodations. Check with your personnel office, disability coordinator, or EEO office or your agency’s reasonable accommodation policy to see how funding for accommodations is handled in your agency.

    Also, the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) at the Department of Defense may pay the cost of any technology-related accommodations for covered agencies. Contact the CAP for more information.

    If a client of the State vocational rehabilitation program is being hired, the State agency may pay for those accommodations that the individual would be able to use at any job site (e.g., a Braille notetaking device, an assistive listening device for use with the telephone). The State agency generally does not pay for accommodations to a work station or worksite that must then remain at that location after the individual leaves.

    If a client of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is being hired, the VA may pay the cost of accommodations.

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  • People with disabilities who work in offices have been using service animals successfully for many years. Service animals may accompany a person with a disability to the office, cafeteria, meetings, and on travel. Since service animals are alert to the needs of their owner, it is important not to interfere or distract them while they are working. Most service animals sleep when not providing service and need to have a safe rest area of adequate size located near their owner. The person with a disability should be allowed to provide water and food rewards for their animal. Offices that are already wheelchair accessible usually have wider hallways and doorways that are accessible enough to provide the individual full access while walking with their animal.

    Individuals with disabilities who use service animals must be allowed time to attend to their basic needs. It is not the responsibility of office colleagues to provide care for the service animal. For more information, see People with Disabilities in the Federal Government: An Employment Guide located on this website.

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