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Federal Jobs for the Disabled

Jobs for Disabled Veterans


Federal Jobs for Disabled Veterans | Jobs for Disabled People

Currently just under ten percent of the total federal civilian workforce, over 219,000 people with disabilities, are employed by the federal government. Jobs for the disabled exist in most organizations and in hundreds of occupations. Total disabled employment has increased from 10 percent just a few years ago.

An Executive Order 13548 requiring agencies to increase federal employment of individuals with disabilities was issued on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the American Disabilities Act (ADA). These orders and the ADA have increased awareness among managers within the federal sector of their disabled hiring options. The federal government is working aggressively to expand total disabled employment opportunities within government. All agencies are required to establish Selective Placement Program Coordinators and to develop outreach efforts to identify qualified candidates to meet agency workforce diversity goals. All of this is done in an effort to ensure their offering as many jobs for the disabled as possible.

Disabled Hiring Menu

Hiring Options

There are various hiring opportunities available for disabled individuals. People 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. Federal jobs for disabled people are out there, and we’ll help with the search.

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. Federal jobs for the disabled are out there, and we’ll help with the search.

If you are interested in browsing federal jobs for disabled people explore and apply for all job vacancies in the government and private sectors to improve you chance of employment. Click on the following banner to post your resume online at no cost to expand your job search. Keep in mind that there are many jobs for disabled veterans out there as well.

Agencies work with State vocational rehabilitation agencies (SVRAs), the VA, colleges and universities and other organizations to identify and locate qualified people with disabilities. Many Federal employers also participate in job fairs and visit college campuses for recruitment events and to identify qualified people with disabilities. Recruitment is often achieved through the competitive hiring process or, if certain qualifications are met, through excepted service appointments. These opportunities also provide federal jobs for disabled veterans.

Federal employers may use a variety of hiring options to bring people with disabilities into their workforce. Descriptions of key options are listed below.

Competitive Appointments

Most Federal employees are hired through the competitive process. Applicants apply directly to the hiring departments and agencies for most positions. Numerous assessment tools are available for federal employers to evaluate applicants and conduct hiring. If required and requested, written test accommodations are available. Once process is completed, and 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 stateside and 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 USAJobs. An interactive voice response telephone system can be reached at (912) 757-3000 or TDD (912) 744-2299.

Time-limited Appointments

Agency typically fill positions using temporary or term appointments when an employee’s services isn’t permanent. Temporary appointments, typically hot to exceed one year, are made with a one 1-year extension possible. The assigned work must not be permanent. However, term appointments are often made for more than one year but can’t exceed four years.

Term appointments are used for certain projects, excessive workload, scheduled abolishment, agency reorganizations, contracting out initiatives of certain functions, funding uncertainty, or the need to maintain permanent positions that are required for placing federal employees who may be displaced from other agency units and organizations.

Student Employment Programs

Review the Student Educational Employment Programs page on this service for student employment options.

Appointment Under Special Authorities

The Federal Government may hire people with disabilities using the excepted service special appointing authorities.  Federal agencies use these authorities when considering hiring certain people with severe cognitive, physical or psychiatric disabilities or who have a history of such disabilities. The authorities offer agencies an 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 the hiring of People with Mental Retardation. This section 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 the hiring of People With Severe Physical Disabilities. Agencies can appoint persons with severe physical disabilities who: (1) under a temporary appointment can demonstrate their ability to complete duties satisfactorily; or (2) have been certified by a State vocational rehabilitation agency (SVRA) counselor or the Department of Veterans Affair’s Vocational Rehabilitation Office as likely to succeed in the performance of specified duties. After successfully completing two years of satisfactory service under this schedule, the employee may qualify to be converted to the competitive service.
  • Schedule B, 5 CFR 213.3202(k) for the Hiring of People Who Have Recovered from Mental Illness. This schedule permits appointments at up to the Grades GS-15 level when filled by individuals who: (1) are placed at a severe disadvantage in obtaining employment because of a psychiatric disability evidenced by outpatient treatment or hospitalization and have had a significant period of substantially disrupted employment because of the disability; and (2) a State vocational rehabilitation counselor or a Department of Veterans Affairs counseling psychologist (or psychiatrist) who has determined that they meet the severe disadvantage criteria and are certified for a specific position, that they are capable and able to function in the appointed position identified, and that any residual disability is not job related. Employment under this section 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 competitive service.


Individual with a physical disability are considered by OPM to have met the qualification standards for either a excepted service or temporary competitive service Schedule A appointment when an certification is received from the Department of Veterans Affairs State or a State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (SVRA). Certifications are prepared by a counselor based on a job-site inspection, job task analysis, and evaluation of the proposed appointee’s abilities and disabilities.

Certifications must state that in the counselor’s judgment the proposed appointee is able to perform the duties of the position and is physically qualified to safely do the work. 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 proposed appointee.

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 required.

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 Folder.

Competitive Versus Excepted Service

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.”

Disabled Veterans Enrolled in VA Training Programs

Disabled veterans eligible for training under the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) vocational rehabilitation program may enroll for training or work experience at an agency under the terms of an agreement between the agency and VA. The veteran is not a federal employee for most purposes while enrolled in the program, but is a beneficiary of the VA.

The training is tailored to individual needs and goals, so there is no set length. If the training is intended to prepare the individual for eventual appointment in the agency (rather than just work experience), OPM must approve the training plan. Upon successful completion, the veteran will be given a Certificate of Training showing the occupational series and grade level of the position for which trained. This allows any agency to appoint the veteran noncompetitively for a period of one year. Upon appointment, the veteran is given a Special Tenure Appointment which is then converted to career-conditional with OPM approval.

In all cases, you must provide acceptable documentation of your preference or appointment eligibility. The number 4 copy of your DD-214, “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty,” is necessary to document the character of service. If claiming 10 point preference, you will need to submit a Standard Form 15, “Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference.”

Disability Employment Assistance

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