Managers in the federal government really want to hire both veterans and civilians with disabilities.
Federal agencies are supposed to be meeting ambitious goals for hiring workers with disabilities.
But officials at the U.S. Government Accountability Office say the agencies are falling short of the goals and aren’t even sure how far short, in part because talented workers with disabilities who fear discrimination may give incorrect or incomplete information about the challenges they face.
In July 2010, President Obama signed an executive order calling for the federal government to hire 100,000 workers with disabilities over the next 5 years. He put the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the U.S. Labor Department in charge of implementing the order.
Like private disability insurers, the federal government has a big financial incentive to expand hiring of people with disabilities. The government itself runs the mammoth Social Security Disability Insurance program and a big benefits program for disabled veterans.
OPM found that the government is not on track to meet the administration’s goals. It asked the GAO to study the problem.
GAO investigators looked at agency documents and conducted interviews to see what was going on.
Many agencies do not have good plans for recruiting, hiring and keeping employees with disabilities, Yvonne Jones, a GAO director, writes in a letter describing the GAO’s findings.