As a result of Executive Order 13548, the federal government is actively increasing efforts to recruit and hire individuals with disabilities for all levels and occupations. As an individual with a disability, you have access to specific programs and hiring authorities that can assist you in securing federal employment.
Schedule a Hiring Authority for Individuals with Disabilities
Schedule A is a hiring authority that streamlines and speeds up the hiring process for applicants with disabilities who match the skills and abilities required for the position. While Schedule A does not guarantee employment, it is to your advantage to ensure the hiring agency is aware that you are Schedule A eligible.
Eligibility for Schedule A
To receive a Schedule A appointment, you must:
- Be minimally qualified for the job you are applying to (have the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the required duties)
- Have documentation of disability
Documentation of disability can be satisfied with a simple letter stating that you have a disability from your doctor, a licensed medical professional, a licensed rehabilitation professional, or any entity that issues or provides disability benefits. The letter does not need to detail your disability, medical history or need for an accommodation. Unsure if you qualify as an individual with a disability? Find out more here.
Applying with Schedule A
As an individual with a disability, you may apply to positions online through USAJOBS.gov or through postings on an agency’s website. For assistance in applying, you should reach out to the agency’s selective placement or disability employment coordinator. To ensure your application is considered under Schedule A, you must include your Schedule A proof of disability letter along with your resume and any other documents required in the job announcement.
Disclosure by Individuals with Disabilities
Disclosure, or sharing information about your disability with others, by law, is a personal decision that individuals must make for themselves. An interviewer is prohibited from asking you questions about your disability that are not relevant to job responsibilities. An interviewer should ask questions about your qualifications and how you can perform the essential functions of the job. During a job interview, you should present yourself in a positive manner, emphasizing your abilities and assets. You are not required to talk about your disability during an interview.
Agencies are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities, unless doing so will result in undue hardship to the agency, to allow an applicant with a disability to have an equal opportunity to compete for a job. Accommodations include making adjustments to the interview process, essential functions of the job, access to the workplace, and benefits and privileges of employment.
To receive accommodations at work or in the application process, information about your disability must be disclosed and shared with the relevant individuals, such as the agency’s selective placement coordinator. Procedures to request accommodation may be includes on an agency’s job posting, website or onboarding materials. You can request an accommodation verbally or in writing; no specific language is needed.
Workforce Recruitment Program for Students
The Workforce Recruitment Program connects federal employers nationwide to eligible students and recent graduates with disabilities. Managed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, this program provides numerous advantages to jobseekers with disabilities. Contact your school’s disability services or career services coordinator early in the spring semester to ensure successful completion of the online application for phone interviews in October and early November. Contact the WRP coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the program. The WRP works directly with college coordinators and cannot respond to inquiries from individual students.
Information on Schedule A Hiring Authority, appointment authorities and additional resources
Toolkits, information on application and hiring practices, as well as profiles of current federal employees with disabilities
Information on Schedule A, competitive and non-competitive jobs
Comprehensive information about disability programs, services, laws and benefits
Free consulting services for individuals with disabilities and expert guidance on workplace accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act
The OPM Shared List
OPM, in conjunction with Bender Consulting Services, has developed a database of individuals with disabilities who are eligible to apply to federal positions under Schedule A. Interested applicants should submit their application online directly to Bender Consulting Services.
Resources related to disability disclosure, the skills needed to get and keep a good job, and mentoring for youth with disabilities