As my IRL Friends, Family, and some followers know; I am unemployed. I have been fighting to find a job and make money to support my family anyway I can for roughly ten months now. I preface this post with this information because I want the following to help anyone with a disability that may be searching for a Federal job. As I truly believe knowledge is power and we should help our fellow brothers and sisters.
So, I applied for a job with the Federal Government a bit back under what is called Schedule A. Basically this means because I am disabled I can be considered for the position I applied for. The position was also looking for current or former Federal employment as well as Veterans.
Now if anyone has ever filed for a for a Federal job before the application process is long and they make you sign an online affidavit stating everything you claimed is true under penalty of perjury.
So, filled out the application, submitted my transcripts and resume. I declared my disability for consideration and moved on.
Fast forward a month or so and I get a rejection letter stating I was disqualified for being “Out of Area of Consideration.” Now being the first time, I had ever seen that reason, I thought maybe it was because of where I lived. Though I figured I better find out for sure. So, I went to the Office of Personnel Management’s website. Here I found out that basically what the rejection letter was saying is I was not a current or former federal employee, veteran, or disabled.
I was taken a little aback. I wondered how they came to this conclusion as they had not asked for my Schedule A letter yet which was the verification of my disability. So, I emailed the department in question and inquired.
What transpired was a messy and in all honestly quite silly phone call. The HR person who was speaking with me was going out of their way to make sure I understood I screwed up and that my disqualification was completely legal and accurate.
What I did learn is that Federal Human Resources individuals apparently are not in touch with what their application process really is. That according to the application I walked through that they were first to determine if I was qualified for doing the job and then ask for my verification of disability.
Instead I was automatically ruled out because I did not submit verification up front. Mind, you there was no place specifically asking for it. I was told to “always” submit it under other documents if nothing else. I was also very clearly told that this “was not advice” and that was “what they would do”.
At this point I chalk it up to a learning opportunity and understanding how to deal with ignorant individual comprehension of their own procedures.
So here is how I learned this should be approached for anyone interested in Federal employment who has a disability.
1) Go to your doctor and ask for a Schedule A Certification Letter
2) Go to USAJOBS.gov find the job you want
3) Check to see if under the “Open To” section states “individuals with disabilities”
4) Apply for your dream federal job if it does.
5) Submit all your documentation up-front: Resume, Transcripts, Schedule A Certificaiton, Cover Letter. I mean every piece of documentation you think that a 9th grader would need to draw the conclusion that you qualify to be “considered” for the job. Even if it means submitting some of this documents under “Other Documents”.
6) Call the contact listed on the job a few days before the job closes and just ask that they received all your documentation and that you need not to check off some other check box on their list.
Beyond that Good Luck!
aka Soulbound Heart