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News Release

Monday, January 10, 2005
Contact: J. Porter
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Proposes Regulations Streamlining Hiring Procedures for People with Disabilities

OPM Director James states, "We welcome comments from prospective employees and stakeholders."

Washington, D.C. - Under the direction U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James, OPM recently issued proposed regulations for hiring people with disabilities.  The proposed regulations will give agencies greater authority to quickly certify and appoint disabled individuals based solely on documentation submitted by the applicant. 

"For the thousands of disabled Americans who are interested in serving their nation, President Bush has taken a strong step toward removing obstacles and streamlining their chances of gaining opportunity for Federal employment," stated James. "The President's ‘New Freedom Initiative' has provided agencies with greater access to assistive technology and these flexibilities hold the promise of increased flexibility."

"OPM's review of Schedule A appointing authorities identified hiring delays and barriers caused by a burdensome two-stage certification process generally used for appointing individuals with disabilities," James added. "These regulations will make a real difference by not only shortening the time to hire, but by making the Federal government more accessible to people with disabilities. I encourage potential employees and stakeholders to take full advantage of the public comment period on the proposed regulations."

OPM will place a special link on the USAJOBS website ( to offer valuable information for job seekers with disabilities and quick references for Schedule A regulations.  All citizens may apply for vacancies posted by Federal agencies on USAJOBS when they qualify and are available. 

These proposed regulations will make it easier for agencies to consider and hire people with disabilities more quickly by streamlining the process for certifying that a disabled applicant meets eligibility requirements and is "likely to succeed" in the job ( 

Currently, disabled applicants are certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs or a state vocational/rehabilitation agency.  Under the new proposed rules, agencies will be able to make these certifications based on determinations made by other Federal agencies (for example, the Social Security Administration) and/or medical documentation submitted by the applicant.  Agencies also may use a short temporary appointment to ascertain whether the disabled applicant is "likely to succeed" before hiring the individual under a longer term appointment under "Schedule A." 

OPM specialist briefed stakeholders on the new regulations. Stakeholders who attended the briefing:

National Down Syndrome Congress

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Atlanta Human Resources Center

Client Services Division

The Arc and UCP Public Policy Collaboration

Office of Civil Rights

U.S. Department of Commerce

Department of Health and & Human Services

Office of the Secretary

Office of Human Resources

National Institute of Health

Equal Employment Opportunity


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Food and Drug Administration

Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Management

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Pittsburgh, PA

National Institutes of Health

Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity Management

Easter Seals

American Foundation for the Blind

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Office of Equal Opportunity

Department of Justice

Drug Enforcement Administration

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Office of Equal Opportunity & Civil Rights

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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