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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

Disability Employment

  • A. This regulation covers individuals with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities. The new rules do not specifically include or exclude any one particular type of disability under these three classes of disability. Different Federal programs use different operational definitions of disability, as do researchers, advocacy groups, and other interested parties. Variations occur because many groups define disability for different purposes. Determinations whether a specific disability is included or excluded under the new rules for the purposes of appointment under 5 CFR 213.3102(u) are made by the expanded entities previously identified in this document. Hiring agencies may also consult the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, and State Vocational Rehabilitative Services offices for additional guidance regarding particular medical conditions.
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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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  • Yes, proof of the disability is required for appointments of persons with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities. This regulation allows agencies to accept as proof of disability documentation from a licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional duly certified by a State, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory, to practice medicine); a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., State or private); or any Federal agency, State agency, or an agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits.
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  • Reasonable accommodations that can be requested include, but are not limited to, the following:

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    making existing facilities accessible;

     

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    restructuring the job;

     

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    utilizing part-time or modified work schedules;

     

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    adjusting or modifying tests, training materials, or policies;

     

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    providing qualified readers and interpreters;

     

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    acquiring or modifying equipment; and

     

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    reassigning an individual to a vacant position for which the employee must be qualified.

     

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  •  

    For specific training packages for new managers, the USDA Graduate School offers the following courses:

    • Human Resource Management for Supervisors and Managers
    • EEO -- Its Place in the Federal Government
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  • The summer jobs program for college students with disabilities is called the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP). This program is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Department of Defense. The WRP aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases, permanent employment, for college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other Federal agencies, each of which makes a commitment to provide summer jobs.

    The Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides assistive technology and accommodation services to all WRP participants working for the Federal Government for the summer.

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  • Initially, start by discussing the accommodation needs with the person who has the disability. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis, considering the specific needs and the existing limitations of the person you hire who has a disability. Accommodations are also determined based on the essential functions of the job, the work environment, the effectiveness of the proposed accommodation, and any alternative means of accomodation.

    Some of the most common types of accommodations include, but are not limited to:

    • TTYs for use with telephones by people who are deaf; hardware and software that make computers accessible to people with vision impairments or who have difficulty using their hands;
    • Sign language interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing or readers for people who are blind;
    • Providing training and other written materials in an accessible format, such as in Braille, on audio tape, or on computer disk; and
    • Physical changes, such as installing a ramp or modifying a workspace.

    For more information refer to the reasonable accommodation policy for your agency.

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  •  

    A qualified individual with a disability has the skills, experience, education, and other requirements of the job the individual holds or desires, and can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

     

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  • There are no changes to the current procedures. Per OPM's Guide to Personnel Record keeping (http://www.opm.gov/feddata/recguide.pdf [1.8 MB]), the employing agency must maintain any authoritative medical documentation, certificate of disability, statement of employability, etc., in a separate, confidential folder, rather than in the person's Official Personnel Folder (OPF). The information must be treated as confidential medical records with access limited only to those whose official duties require such access. OPM encourages agencies to develop written policies to further ensure that the confidentiality and security of private information is maintained.
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  • Yes. As part of the WRP, students who have a successful summer experience and are qualified for the position may be offered a permanent job. They may be hired under special hiring authorities governing the employment of persons with disabilities. (See also Questions 18 and 19, above, and contact your human resources office for additional information.)
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