What is Schedule A?  Schedule A is a special hiring authority used by federal agencies, in order to hire individuals with disabilities noncompetitively. What this means is that federal agencies are not required to post a position competitively, in order to hire a person with a disability who has a Schedule A letter. Individuals being hired through this noncompetitive process are typically appointed to a two year term. At the end of this term, the employee can be transferred to permanent status, provided they have performed well during their appointment period. The federal competitive hiring process requires that candidates successfully compete with other applicants throughout a structured interview process, resulting in being the top candidate over all other applicants at the end of the interview process. Most jobs posted on USAJobs are posted competitively. Noncompetitive hiring does not require that the agency use this structured interview process when selecting a candidate. However, candidates who are hired noncompetitively still must be able to demonstrate the appropriate skills, education, and experience required for the position the agency is seeking to fill. Schedule A is a form of noncompetitive hiring. This means using the Schedule A process does not guarantee an interview or an offer of employment. This hiring authority is frequently the process our federal customers use when hiring candidates through Bender Consulting Services because it streamlines the process of adding individuals with disabilities to their workforce.

How do I know if I qualify for Schedule A? To be eligible for Schedule A noncompetitive hiring, you must be able to meet the definition of being a person with a severe physical, psychiatric, or intellectual disability; even if your disability is currently controlled by medications or if you make use of assistive devices, you are legally still considered an individual with a disability (i.e., an individual with epilepsy whose seizures are able to be controlled through medication, or a person who has cochlear implants). If you are unsure if your medical condition is considered a disability, you can review the Standard Form SF-256 for guidance or consult a medical professional. Bender Consulting Services is not authorized to legally or medically diagnose a disability.

How do I demonstrate proof of eligibility for Schedule A hiring? A Schedule A letter is a letter/document that demonstrates the applicant’s eligibility for Schedule A noncompetitive hiring. It serves as proof of the applicant’s disability and must be provided to the agency prior to the applicant being hired. This letter can be obtained by a state or private vocational rehabilitation office, from a licensed medical professional, the veteran’s administration, or any state or federal agency that issues or provides disability benefits. The letter must be written on official letterhead and must state that you meet the definition of being a person with a disability under the Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(u) hiring authority. 

Additionally, you will be asked to complete the Standard Form SF-256 upon receipt of an offer of employment. This form serves as self-identification of a disability and is used for reporting metrics with regards to the demographics of an agency’s workforce. Completion of this form is crucial to determining the success of our partnerships with our federal employers.

To learn more about the Schedule A hiring process, please visit http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/disability-employment/hiring/.

What is a targeted disability? A targeted disability is any of the disabilities listed in Part 1 of the SF-256 form.

What is the SF-256? The SF-256 is a standard self-disclosure form used by federal agencies to document an individual’s disability for the purpose of equal employment opportunity (EEO) reporting. The information gathered by this form is used to determine which agencies are complying with federal standards or initiatives associated with hiring individuals with disabilities, including hiring individuals with targeted disabilities.

Why is it important for me to tell Bender if I have a targeted disability? We are sometimes retained by federal agencies to assist them with identifying candidates that fit within their diversity outreach programs for individuals with targeted disabilities. If qualified, we ask candidates to identify if they have a targeted disability to determine if they are eligible for participation in these programs.

Do I have to have a targeted disability to get a federal job through Bender Consulting Services? No. Only specific instances where we are asked by our customer to conduct specialized recruitment outreach to individuals with targeted disabilities have this requirement. Bender receives many opportunities both with federal and private sector customers that do not require candidates to have a targeted disability.

To determine if you have a targeted disability, please review the Standard Form-256 by visiting http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf256.pdf.