Government employing more people with disabilities


The number of people with disabilities employed by the federal government increased 9 percent in fiscal 2011, according to a recent report from the Office of Personnel Management.

The government employed 187,313 people with disabilities in fiscal 2010, and 204,189 in 2011, the July 25 report said. That means the percentage of the federal workforce with disabilities increased from 10.7 percent to 11 percent.

“This is more people with disabilities in federal service both in real terms and by percentage than at any time in the past 20 years,” OPM Director John Berry said in the report’s foreword. “While we still have work to do, we remain committed to becoming a model for the employment of people with disabilities.”

The increase suggests that President Obama’s effort to increase federal job opportunities for people with disabilities is working. Obama issued an executive order in July 2010 that required agencies to increase their recruitment, hiring and retention of people with disabilities. All agencies have since finished action plans outlining how they are going to accomplish that mission. Also, more than 2,000 employees from at least 56 agencies have been trained on recruitment techniques, the proper hiring authority exceptions, how to accommodate them and how to help employees who become ill or injured on the job return to work.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency with the highest percentage — more than 18 percent — of employees with disabilities. The Defense Department, Veterans Affairs Department, Federal Reserve System and OPM are other leading agencies, the report said.


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  1. Not so fast Mr. Berry. The increased of federal employees self-identifying themselves as a person with a disability DOES NOT translated into HIRES or NEW HIRES of PWDs. It is common practice in agencies to remind employees they can update their RNOG and disability status easily and simply using their agency’s online portal for this purpose. We annually see an increase in PWDs employed but this is NOT DUE to their being NEW HIRES. Many employees develop disabilities as they age and I was able to discern the actual number of employees simply updating their disability status from NONE to disabled from the count of new hires with PWDs. The percentage and number of new counted PWDs by far was the direct result of simply updating our employee profiles – NOT the result of hiring of PWDs! This dynamic IS TRUE IN ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES!

  2. Well, this is certainly the case in elected positions within the legislative branch. I’d say the government, with help from the voters have achieved a 100% success record in hiring only the totally and completely disabled—————and it shows.

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