Jobs For the Disabled / Government Jobs
/ Federal Jobs / Civil
|Currently, over 209,284 people with disabilities, seven percent of
the total federal civilian workforce, work for the federal government.
Opportunities exist at all levels of government and in hundreds of
occupations. Total disabled employment has remained constant at
seven percent since 1980. Executive Order 13078 and the Americans With
Disabilities Act (ADA) has increase awareness of hiring options by
federal managers. These initiatives should expand total disabled
employment opportunities throughout government. All agencies are
required by law to develop outreach efforts to identify qualified
candidates to meet agency workforce diversity goals.
This section explains the various hiring options for people with
disabilities. Individuals seeking appointments with the federal government must
be proactive and begin networking with local agencies, contacting listed
resources, and aggressively seeking out all available federal employment
opportunities. Agencies have direct hire authority for Schedule A appointments
presented in this section.
The Book of U.S. Government Jobs describes
the entire federal employment process and includes easy to use checklists with
sample applications and over 1,000 references. Recommended by LIBRARY JOURNAL.
Explore and apply for all job vacancies in the government and private
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Disabled Hiring Menu
Agency personnel offices work with State vocational rehabilitation agencies
(SVRAs), the Department of Veterans Affairs, colleges and universities (e.g.,
Gallaudet University) and other various organizations to locate and identify
qualified people with disabilities. In addition, many Federal employers
participate in focused job fairs and campus recruitment visits to identify
qualified people with disabilities. Hiring may be accomplished through the
competitive hiring process or, if the qualifications are met, through the use of
excepted service appointment authorities.
Federal employers may use a variety of hiring options to bring people with
disabilities into their workforce. Descriptions of key options are listed below.
Most Federal employees obtain jobs competitively. Applicants apply
directly to the hiring departments and agencies for
most positions. Federal employers use a variety of assessment tools in
evaluating applicants and conducting hiring. If passing a written test is
required, testing accommodations are available, if requested. Once this process
is completed, an agency may select from a list of qualified applicants.
Use this site to research job options and to locate
information on many agencies including direct links to
agency recruitment web sites and
telephone contact information. Search for jobs
overseas and learn how to complete and submit professional
job applications and forms. OPM provides user
friendly, accessible information online or by telephone and available 24
hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. The official web site for federal jobs and
employment information may be accessed at
http://www.usajobs.opm.gov. An interactive voice response telephone system
can be reached at (912) 757-3000 or TDD (912) 744-2299.
An agency may fill a position using a temporary or term appointment when the
need for an employee’s services is not permanent. Temporary appointments are
made not to exceed one year, with one 1-year extension. The work must not be
permanent in nature. In contrast, term appointments are made for a period of
more than one year but not to exceed four years.
Term appointments are appropriate when there is project work, extraordinary
workload, scheduled abolishment, reorganization, contracting out of the
function, uncertainty of future funding, or the need to maintain permanent
positions for placement of employees who would otherwise be displaced from other
parts of the organization.
Review the Student Educational Employment Programs
page on this service for student employment options.
The Federal Government’s hiring options include excepted service special
appointing authorities for people with disabilities. Federal employers are
authorized to use these authorities when considering certain people with
disabilities (those who have severe physical, cognitive, or psychiatric
disabilities or who have a history of or who are regarded as having such
disabilities). The authorities provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate the
potential to successfully perform the essential duties of a position with or
without reasonable accommodation in the workplace.
- Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(t) for Hiring People with
Mental Retardation. This authority is used to appoint persons with cognitive
disabilities (mental retardation) who meet the eligibility requirements.
Upon completion of 2 years of satisfactory performance the employee may
qualify for conversion to the competitive service.
- Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(u) for Hiring People With
Severe Physical Disabilities. This authority is used to appoint persons with
severe physical disabilities who: (1) under a temporary appointment have
demonstrated their ability to perform duties satisfactorily; or (2) have
been certified by a counselor from a State vocational rehabilitation agency
(SVRA) or the Department of Veterans Affair’s Vocational Rehabilitation
Office as likely to succeed in performance of duties. Upon completion of two
years of satisfactory service under this authority, the employee may qualify
for conversion to the competitive service.
- Schedule B, 5 CFR 213.3202(k) for Hiring People Who
Have Recovered from Mental Illness. This authority permits appointments at
Grades GS-15 and below when filled by individuals who: (1) are placed at a
severe disadvantage in obtaining employment because of a psychiatric
disability evidenced by hospitalization or outpatient treatment and have had
a significant period of substantially disrupted employment because of the
disability; and (2) are certified to a specific position by a State
vocational rehabilitation counselor or a Department of Veterans Affairs
counseling psychologist (or psychiatrist) who indicates that they meet the
severe disadvantage criteria stated above, that they are capable of
functioning in the position to which they will be appointed, and that any
residual disability is not job related. Employment under this authority may
not exceed two years following each significant period of mental illness.
In addition, federal employers can use the following hiring authorities to
provide assistance to employees with disabilities:
- Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(ll) for Hiring Readers
Interpreters, and Other Personal Assistants. This authority permits
appointments of readers, interpreters, and personal assistants for employees
with severe disabilities when filled on a full-time, part-time, or
intermittent basis. Upon completion of at least one year of satisfactory
service under this authority, the employee may qualify for conversion to the
An individual who has a physical disability is considered to have met OPM
qualification standards for either a temporary competitive service appointment
or an excepted service Schedule A appointment when an appropriate certification
is received from a
State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (SVRA) or the
Department of Veterans Affairs.
The certification is prepared by a counselor on the basis of job-site
inspection, analysis of job tasks, and evaluation of the proposed appointee's
abilities and disabilities. The certification must state that in the counselor’s judgement the proposed appointee is able to perform the duties of the position
and is physically qualified to do the work safely. The certification must be
supported by a medical report and a narrative statement documenting the
counselor's conclusions. Factors to be discussed include training, education,
work history, modification of job or worksite if needed, and limitations of the
The certification required for an
excepted service Schedule A appointment of an individual who is mentally
retarded need only state that the individual has the ability to perform the
duties of the position; is physically able to do the job safely; and can
maintain himself or herself in the work environment. No medical report is
The certification required for appointment of individuals with psychiatric
disabilities under an excepted Schedule B appointment must include documentation
of a history of mental illness which includes periods of hospitalization or
outpatient treatment within the previous two years; a statement by a
psychologist or psychiatrist as to the individual’s capability to function in
the work setting; and a statement indicating that the individual is currently
unemployed or has had a significant period of substantially disrupted employment
within the previous two years.
Any of these certificates must be maintained in a separate, confidential folder,
rather than in the person's official personnel folder (OPF). This material is
not to be included or placed into the individual’s OPF or Employee Medical
A good number of people with disabilities start their federal career in the
excepted Service while most federal jobs are in the Competitive Service.
Congress excepted certain jobs and groups from the Competitive Service. In the
competitive service individuals must compete for positions through examination.
The end result is that individuals are placed on a competitive register in rank
order of their rating. Agencies then can select from the top three candidates on
the list when vacancies arise.
Complete information on competitive verses excepted appointments are presented
in "The Book of U.S. Government Jobs."
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