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Diversity and Inclusion

Individuals with Disabilities Employment Program

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proudly leads the effort to build a diverse workforce and cultivate an inclusive work environment. We do this by developing and implementing policies and programs that promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace as we strive to ensure that VA’s workforce is drawn from the broadest segments of society so that it is poised to meet the present and future needs of our Nation's Veterans, their families, and beneficiaries.

The VA Individuals with Disabilities Employment Program is designed to create plans to address potential and validated discriminatory and inequitable practices in hiring and employment and ensure full participation of individuals with disabilities in VA's workforce by implementing plans to eliminate adverse data trends at all levels of the agency. See 29 Code of Federal Regulation, Part 1614.102(b)(4) for additional information.

Disability Definition

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: “Not everyone with a medical condition is protected by the law. In order to be protected, a person must be qualified for the job and have a disability as defined by the law.”

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Executive Orders

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Hiring Goals

According to updated EEOC regulations (29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(d)(7)), agencies are required to use specific goals for increasing the participation of individuals with reportable and targeted disabilities in the federal government. The four (4) new goals are:

  • Individuals with Disabilities represent twelve (12) percent of the total VA workforce at the grade cluster of GS-1 to GS-10. VA is exceeding this goal.
  • Individuals with Disabilities represent twelve (12) percent of the total VA workforce at the grade cluster of GS-11 to SES. VA is exceeding this goal.
  • Individuals with Targeted Disabilities represent two (2) percent of the total VA workforce at the grade cluster of GS-1 to GS-10. VA is exceeding this goal.
  • Individuals with Targeted Disabilities represent two (2) percent of the total VA workforce at the grade cluster of GS-11 to SES. VA is currently below the identified two percent benchmark for group and grade cluster.

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I Report Because I CARE About People with Disabilities Campaign

The "I Report Because I CARE About People with Disabilities Campaign" is resurvey of the workforce, as part of a government-wide initiative, for ALL federal employees to review the revised Standard Form 256 and self-identify or update their disability information. In order to identify barriers, adopt best and promising practices, and document progress in achieving our employment goals for individuals with disabilities, we rely on accurate and up-to-date information and data about our workforce. We need your help in collecting this data--we need ALL employees to self-identify or update your disability status.

One method for determining progress in implementing an affirmative action plan is through the production of reports analyzing our workforce. The Final Rule on Affirmative Action for People with Disabilities in Federal Employment specifies we commit our agency to the goal of ensuring that no less than 12 percent of employees at specified levels are individuals with disabilities and no less than two (2) percent of employees at specified levels are individuals with targeted disabilities.

It is important to note, employees who do not identify with a targeted disability or serious health condition or other disability or serious health condition, still have other options (Codes 01, 05, 06) to select and participate in the "I Report Because I CARE About People with Disabilities Campaign." Additionally, an individual's disability status may change over time. Thus, periodically, to ensure we have the most current, accurate data, employees are encouraged to self-identify, review, or update their disability status.

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Observances (VA SEP Observances Memo [PDF])

ORMDI provides a SEP Observances Toolkit as guidance to field facilities on implementing activities for special observances, including the following:

  • Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Disability Employment Awareness Month (October)
  • Disability Employment Mentoring Day (third Wednesday in October)

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Plans and Reports

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ORMDI does not offer or conduct employment services. Please visit the following:

External Employment Services for Disabled Veterans

External Employment Services for Individuals with Disabilities

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Selective Placement Program

Schedule A Hiring Authority is a non-competitive accepted service hiring authority available to federal agencies to hire and/or promote individuals with disabilities without competing the job. It lessens the typical recruitment issues, hiring managers do not have to post and publicize the position, and the applicant does not have to go through the certificate process. A proof of disability is required before proceeding. This authority is limited to individuals with an intellectual, severe physical, or psychiatric disability.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has the lead on Federal policy and guidance regarding equal rights for applicants and employees with disabilities. EEOC classifies the following disabilities as "severe" or "targeted": deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial paralysis, total paralysis, epilepsy, severe intellectual disability, psychiatric disability, and dwarfism. The EEOC tracks the employment of individuals with these targeted disabilities.

VA strives to improve the employment ratios for individuals with disabilities, particularly those with targeted disabilities. VA regularly uses the Schedule A Hiring Authority as well as other non-competitive hiring authorities, including Veterans Hiring authorities, to ensure the employment of individuals with disabilities and individuals with targeted disabilities. VA's hiring goal for individuals with targeted disabilities is three percent of all hires, or one in every 33 new hires. At the same time, VA needs to improve the retention rate for this group by providing accommodations on request and, when possible, providing training and developmental opportunities. If we are unable to retain employees with targeted disabilities, VA will need to increase the hiring goal.

Individuals with disabilities can apply for VA positions through the competitive process or, if they have a severe disability, apply for a non-competitive appointment to a Title 5 position via Schedule A. The health-related positions in VA are covered by Title 38 and are not covered by the Schedule A Hiring Authority. These positions are non-competitive, but applications must be submitted by the deadline listed in the announcement.

While ORMDI has the lead for disability outreach, every Human Resources (HR) office and VA manager is obligated to ensure that sufficient efforts are made to recruit qualified candidates with disabilities, especially those with targeted disabilities, for each job announcement. Each HR office has a Selective Placement Program Coordinator (SPPC) who can provide information on recruiting individuals with disabilities and the Schedule A Hiring Authority, and VA's Title 38 positions.

VA managers are encouraged to ensure that employees with disabilities are aware of and participate in training opportunities so that they can qualify for future promotions. This is required by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Additionally, VA is working hard to ensure that our employees with disabilities are treated with respect and encouraged to stay with the agency.

SPP Regulations

  • Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(u) - This excepted authority is used to appoint persons with severe physical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. Such individuals may qualify for conversion to permanent status after two years of satisfactory service. Severe physical disabilities include but are not limited to blindness, deafness, paralysis, missing limbs, epilepsy, dwarfism, and more.
  • Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(11) - This excepted authority is used to appoint readers, interpreters, and personal assistants for employees with severe disabilities as reasonable accommodations.

List of VA SPPCs

Schedule A Library

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Internal Resources

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External Government Resources

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Other External Resources

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Program Contact

Note: This page links to external information on the Internet. VA is not responsible for the content or privacy policies of these Web sites, and linking to these sites does not constitute endorsement by VA of the sites' sponsors or the information, products, or services they provide.

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