Q&A: Applying for Federal Jobs When You Have a Disability

For individuals with a disability who are also interested in a career with the Federal government, the Schedule A hiring authority is something that should be on your radar. However, in order to become Schedule A eligible there are certain qualifications you must meet.

We are flooded with questions in our inbox that pertain to important topics such as this one. Recently, someone asked the following:

“My question pertains to Schedule A hiring for the federal government. Schedule A allows for people with disabilities to go through a different process for hiring but the people have to have an intellectual disability, a psychiatric disability, or a severe physical disability. What cancer-related side effects or outcomes qualify as a severe physical disability?”

Here’s our response:

“Schedule A” refers to a special hiring authority that gives Federal agencies a potentially quicker way to hire individuals with disabilities. Individuals who have an intellectual disability, a severe physical disability, or a psychiatric disability, may be eligible to use the Schedule A process.

The Department of Labor’ Schedule A Checklist – poses the following questions – if an individual answers yes to any of these questions, they may be eligible for Schedule A.

There are no specific definitions as to what qualifies as disability status under Schedule A, so Federal agencies are able to interpret the terms broadly. Examples of physical disabilities related to cancer treatment could be extreme fatigue, lymphedema, neuropathy, loss of limbs, or loss of operations of major bodily functions, etc.  “Chemo Brain” might also be considered an intellectual disability.

This page from the EEOC may provide some additional information: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/abc_applicants_with_disabilities.cfm

Please note, that the EEOC specifically states that “The proof of disability documentation needs to specify that you are eligible to apply using Schedule A. It does NOT need to detail your specific disability, medical history or need for accommodation.” This is particularly important if an applicant would like to keep the specifics of their cancer diagnosis private. For more information about Disclosure, Privacy and Medical Certification, download this free Quick Guide!

We hope that helps!

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