The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
OPM works in several broad categories to recruit, retain, and honor a world-class workforce for the federal government. OPM manages Federal job announcement postings at USAJOBS.gov, and sets policy on government hiring procedures.
Executive departments and federal agencies are stepping up their efforts to employ workers with disabilities in response to Executive Order 13548, "Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities," which requires Federal agencies to increase the hiring of people with disabilities by 100,000 between 2010 and 2015.
To help reach this goal, OPM is actively seeking to hire and retain individuals with disabilities to fill federal jobs. The OPM web site offers excellent resources to assist individuals with disabilities in finding the right job fit for them within the federal government.
Disability Employment: This link provides access to a wide range of OPM resources and information related to employment for individuals with disabilities in the federal government. Learn about types of jobs available, how to conduct a job search, the steps in the hiring process, requesting reasonable accommodations, and much more.
Shared list of Candidates: This link takes you to information about the OPM Chief Human Capital Officers' Shared List of People with Disabilities, a database of candidates with disabilities who are eligible to apply for employment through the Schedule A hiring authority. Learn how interested and qualified job seekers with disabilities can submit résumés and be included on the shared list, used by all federal agencies to facilitate their employment of people with disabilities.
Schedule A Hiring: What is the Schedule A Hiring Authority?
Schedule A is a government hiring authority designed to help Federal agencies meet Affirmative Action obligations regarding hiring individuals with disabilities. Schedule A is different than the basic process for hiring skilled workers into Federal service. It is established in Federal regulation for the purpose of making hiring workers with disabilities much easier and faster.
Schedule A is used when a Federal manager wants to quickly hire an individual with a disability. The Federal government, our nation's largest employer, hires highly talented people for careers in a variety of fields, including: Accounting, Clerical, Food Service, Information Technology, Legal, Maintenance, Science, Technical Writer/Editor, Policy, Management/Administration, and many more. ENs who understand and use Schedule A can assist Social Security beneficiaries to become part of a skilled and professional Federal workforce.
Federal Job Vacancies and How to Apply
Most Federal vacancies are advertised on USAJOBS, the official website for information on Federal jobs. USAJOBS hosts thousands of job postings from all over the country. Anyone can use this site to search for openings in a particular field, location or discipline. Users can sign-up for e-mail notices about job openings by type of job, agency, and geographic area. Users should also check specific agency sites for information on employment opportunities if a beneficiary has a particular agency or field in mind. A list of Federal agency websites can be found at www.usa.gov.
When a user finds a vacancy, she/he must first follow the basic steps in the application process. Beneficiaries may need the assistance of their ENs to complete this process correctly. First, use the resume template provided on the USAJOBS website to create a complete resume and submit it through USAJOBS. This requires the applicant to provide all the necessary application information for consideration. Many Federal vacancies also require the submission of other documents (e.g., writing samples, college transcripts, etc.) as part of the application package. It is critical that the applicant read each job announcement very carefully to ensure that the application includes all the required documents.
In addition to following these basic steps outlined for the application process, an applicant must also submit proof of his/her disability to be considered under the Schedule A appointing authority. Proof of disability for beneficiaries is simply their status as an SSI or SSDI beneficiary. Additional information of the person's medical history or need for an accommodation is not necessary. For more information about Schedule A, click on the following links:
Once an applicant submits proof of disability, the hiring agency may make a permanent, temporary, or time-limited Schedule A appointment for a position, if it is determined that the applicant is right for the job. Under the Schedule A authority, agencies have the option of giving Schedule A applicants who do not have work, educational, or other relevant experience a temporary appointment, to allow them to prove their ability to perform on the job. In these situations, the agency may convert the applicant, non-competitively, to a permanent position once it is satisfied that she/he can perform the job.
Finally, before an applicant submits a resume/application, it is important for the applicant, or his/her EN, to contact the Disability Program Manager (DPM) or Selective Placement Coordinator (SPC) at the relevant Federal agency. Applicants can find the appropriate person by either using the contact information included in the vacancy announcement (all announcements include a phone number or e-mail address to be used for questions) or by searching a directory of SPCs maintained by the OPM. Please note that the directory is not always accurate and that not all agencies have a DPM or SPC. As a result, the beneficiary (or the beneficiary's EN) may need to speak with a human resources (HR) professional within the agency instead. When your EN is contacting a Federal HR professional concerning possible employment opportunities, always explain that you are referring to Schedule A for persons with disabilities. If the beneficiary is a veteran, the beneficiary and/or the EN may both want to contact a VA counselor for additional information and options.
It is important to note that not all Federal agencies use Schedule A. Since some have other hiring flexibilities (similar to Schedule A) designed to facilitate the hiring of persons with disabilities, it is important to check with each agency.