Resources for Disability Self-Identification Efforts

The “ant nebula” (Menzel 3, or Mz 3), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have issued a joint memo containing resources for disability self-identification efforts. A 508-conformant version of this joint memorandum is available online for the benefit of readers with disabilities at:

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Resources for Disability Self-Identification Efforts
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Resources for Disability Self-Identification Efforts
The Federal government continues to develop new strategies to attract, develop, and retain a world class, high quality workforce that can deliver results for the American people. We are committed to identifying strategies that foster fairness and inclusion for people with disabilities within the workforce. Through this memorandum, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are providing information on the updated form for self-identification of disability, which can assist agencies in their efforts to monitor the hiring, development and retention of Federal employees with disabilities, including targeted disabilities. An individual’s disability status can change during the employee’s tenure in the Federal government and these changes, in turn, affect the number of employees with disabilities in the Federal workforce.

In October 2016, OPM modified the SF-256, Self-Identification of Disability Form, to reflect changes to terms used to describe targeted disabilities, serious health conditions, and other disabilities; simplifying the descriptions of conditions; and providing respondents with the option of identifying that they have a medical condition without specifying a diagnosis. While completion of this form remains voluntary, the collection and/or update of this information will assist agencies in gaining a broader understanding of their diverse workforce.

On January 3, 2017, the EEOC issued a final rule to amend the regulations implementing Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which became effective on January 1, 2018. Under the Section 501 regulation, agencies are required to take steps designed to move toward a target workforce participation rate for employees with disabilities of 12 percent, both above and below the GS-11 grade, as well as a target rate of 2 percent for employees with targeted disabilities, both above and below the GS-11 grade. Agencies have been determining their baseline participation rates of individuals with disabilities and individuals with targeted disabilities at those grade levels as part of this year’s reporting requirements.

The updated SF-256 is an excellent tool for measuring workforce participation of people with disabilities within your agency. We are pleased to remind agencies that resource is available for your use. Both of our agencies are available to assist you in efforts within your agency to help employees to self-identify as people with disabilities and people with targeted disabilities, as appropriate. The Federal Employee Exchange on Employment & Disability (FEED) that brings together staff from equal employment and human capital offices also is a valuable resource. For resources to promote self-identification, please visit for materials designed for your use by OPM, in collaboration with Federal disability employment managers.

If you have any questions, please contact at OPM or ofo.eeoc@eeoc.govat the EEOC.