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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.
An individual can make either an oral or written request for accommodation. To request an accommodation, an individual may use "plain English" and does not need to mention the Rehabilitation Act or "reasonable accommodation." A family member, friend, health professional, or other representative may request a reasonable accommodation on behalf of an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application process or during the period of employment. The request for a reasonable accommodation must be made for a reason related to a medical condition.
Decisions on making accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. Executive Order 16134, however, requires each Federal agency to establish effective written procedures to facilitate the provision of reasonable accommodation for applicants and employees. Contact specific agencies for information on their decision-making process.
Your supervisor (or selecting official, if you are in the process of being hired) will normally arrange for an assessment of your request for reasonable accommodation. An assessment includes a review of the job duties, how job duties are normally accomplished, the work environment and the specific nature of your disability. The purpose of an assessment is to determine what accommodations would allow you to perform the essential job functions successfully. For those Federal agencies without "in-house" capability, employers can obtain an assessment of the need for reasonable accommodation from several sources. Some are:
State vocational rehabilitation agencies,
the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) at the Department of Defense,
the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs (for veterans) or
the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).
However, there are a number of excepted hiring authorities, meaning competition is not required, that apply to individuals with disabilities. These hiring authorities cover: people with intellectual disabilities; people with severe physical disabilities; people with psychiatric disabilities; disabled veterans enrolled in a VA training program; and veterans determined to be 30 percent or more disabled.
Consult with your human resources office to ensure that you use the best hiring strategy for your specific vacancy.
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