Frequently Asked Questions

Employment Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are there laws that protect people with disabilities against employment discrimination?

A. Yes, the main ones follow:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act

  • requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment-related opportunities available to others
  • prohibits discrimination in many different areas of employment
  • restricts questions that can be asked about an applicant’s disability before a job offer is made
  • requires that employers make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it results in undue hardship

Title II

  • prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by state and local governments regardless of their size
  • prohibits discrimination by public transportation services.

Title III covers entities that provide public accommodation (e.g., restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, etc.).

Title IV covers telephone and television communication which includes a Relay service in each state.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (As Amended)

The Rehab Act prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the federal sector, programs conducted by federal agencies, programs that receive funding from the federal government, and employment practices of federal contractors.

The Ticket to Work & Work Incentive Improvement Act

This Act modernizes the employment services system for people with disabilities so they do not have to choose between working and having health care. This legislation created the Ticket to Work Program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

There may be more laws enacted by the state in which you live. ECNV suggests that you contact your local Center for Independent Living (CIL, find yours at www.ilru.org/html/publications/directory/index.html) or your state’s rehabilitation agency for more information about your state.

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Q. How does the ADA affect people with disabilities in the employment process?

A. The ADA protects you from discrimination in all employment practices, including: job application procedures, hiring, firing, training, pay, promotion, benefits, and leave. You also have a right to be free from harassment because of your disability, and you have a right to request a reasonable accommodation for the hiring process and on the job. Both applicants for employment and employees are protected under the ADA. An employer may not fire or discipline you for asserting your rights under the ADA.

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Q. What if I need some accommodations in the workplace in order to do my job?

A. An employer must make reasonable accommodations for you according to the ADA. A reasonable accommodation is a modification of a job, job site or way in which a job is done that allows a person with a disability to have equal access to all aspects of work. Reasonable accommodation also assures that a qualified individual with a disability has the same rights and privileges in employment as employees without disabilities.

Accommodations can be high-tech (e.g., voice dictation software), low-tech (e.g., a simple switch or button to allow an employee to use a computer mouse), or no-tech (e.g., a pencil grip). Accommodations do not always have to involve technology. An accommodation can be something as simple as rearranging the furniture in an office. Examples of some accommodations are (this, in no way, is meant to be an all-encompassing list):

  • Physical changes, such as installing a ramp or modifying a workspace or restroom.
  • Sign language interpreters for people who are deaf
  • Readers for people who are blind.
  • Providing a quieter workspace or making other changes to reduce noisy distractions for someone with a mental disability
  • Providing written materials in an accessible format, such as in Braille, on audiotape, or on computer disk for non-print readers
  • TTY/telephone use with people who are deaf which will include the deaf employee’s supervisor having full time access to a TTY
  • Speech output software for use by blind persons required to access a computer
  • Software, which magnifies computer screen output for use by persons with low vision required to use a computer
  • Voice recognition software facilitating computer use by persons who cannot use their hands for keyboarding
  • Time off for someone who needs treatment for a disability.

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Q. I am receiving SSI/SSDI. Will employment affect the amount of money I get from Social Security?

A. It might. In most cases your SSI/SSDI check will be reduced following employment. But the amount it goes down by will depend on how much you are earning in your new job.

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income and SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance.

If you are receiving SSI/SSDI and you go to work, the amount your check goes down depends on the state in which you live and whether or not you are married. You will need to check with your local independent living center or with your local social security office for details on working while receiving SSI benefits.

There are special rules called Work Incentives that allow people with disabilities to go back to work and continue to receive SSI.

Social Security and Work Incentives are complicated issues and it helps to get assistance in understanding your benefits. ECNV suggests you contact your local CIL (find yours at www.ilru.org/html/publications/directory/index.html) and ask to speak with the person in charge of Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach (BPAO) or Social Security issues.

See SSI/SSDI Resources on this page below.

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Q. How can I apply for a job with the government?

A. There are many types of governments (federal, state and local) and many types of jobs available. The following are resources you can use to apply for employment in a government agency or department:


the official job site of the United States federal government www.usajobs.com

Virginia Employment Commission (VEC)

  • www.vec.virginia.gov
  • (804) 786-1485 (Voice)
  • 800-828-1140 (Toll- free V)
  • (804) 371-8050 (TTY)
  • 800-828-1120 (Toll-free TTY)
Alexandria Office

City of Alexandria

Department of Personnel Services

Arlington County

Human Resources Department

Fairfax County

Department of Human Resources

All applications (unless otherwise noted) must be submitted through the Applicant Information Management System (AIMS).

Loudoun County

Division of Human Resources

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Q: What is Schedule A?

A. As defined by the EEOC:

The Schedule A Hiring Authority for people with disabilities (Schedule A) is an exception to the traditional hiring process in the Federal Government. Schedule A streamlines the hiring process for persons with disabilities and, in some instances, hiring officials may select solely from a list of qualified Schedule A applicants.

You can apply using Schedule A if you are a person with

  • an intellectual disability
  • a severe physical disability, or
  • a psychiatric disability

In order to be selected you will need to show that you meet the qualifications of the job (with or without reasonable accommodation).

To apply using Schedule A, you must submit a letter giving proof of your disability from:

  • Your doctor;
  • A licensed medical professional;
  • A licensed rehabilitation professional; or
  • Any federal, state, District of Columbia, or US territory agency that issues or provides disability benefits.

For more information on Schedule A, please go to https://www.eeoc.gov/publications/abcs-schedule-tips-applicants-disabilities-getting-federal-jobs

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Q. What organizations can I contact if I have a discrimination or advocacy complaint?

A. State and federal governments have offices dedicated to serving people with complaints.

Disability Law Center of Virginia

DLCV is the state protection and advocacy agency for persons with disabilities in Virginia and it operates the Client Assistance Program (CAP) which is intended to assist individuals who have problems, complaints or concerns regarding vocational rehabilitation services provided by DRS, CILs or other programs funded under the Rehabilitation Act.

You may pursue a complaint under the CAP, the ADA, or under the Virginians with Disabilities Act.

ADA Information Center for the Mid-Atlantic Region

The ADA Information Center provides information and technical assistance regarding your employment rights and reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

  • www.adainfo.org
  • (301) 217-0124 (V/TTY)
  • 800-949-4232 (Toll-free V/TTY)
  • (301) 217-0754 (Fax)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

Information specifically for people with disabilities can be found at www.ada.gov. This includes information about how to file a complaint and toll-free phone numbers for the Americans with Disabilities Act Information Line.

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Employment Resources

ECNV Resources

The EXCEL! Employment Networking Group

For job seekers with disabilities, this group is led by Robert Rudney. Different topics are discussed each month from Schedule A to interviewing techniques. The group meets the third Thursday of every month.

Peer Mentoring

ECNV Peer Mentors can help individuals with disabilities with formatting resumes, cover letters, interviewing techniques, and other aspects of the job search on a one-on-one basis. Contact Alexa Mavroidis at alexam@ecnv.org or Tracee Garner at traceeg@ecnv.org or call (703) 525-3268.

Job Boards and Recruitment Programs

Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.


The U.S. Social Security Administration

Ticket to Work Program


Vocational Rehabilitation

Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)

The Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services (DARS) is a government organization that provides services to eligible Virginians with disabilities. DARS generally provides short-term services to Virginia residents but may also purchase long-term vocational services from other organizations.

Such services may include

  • job search assistance
  • job coaching
  • supported employment
  • assistive technology

Main Office

  • 8004 Franklin Farms Drive
  • Richmond, VA 23229
  • (804) 662-7000 (Voice)
  • (804) 662-9040 (TTY)
  • (800) 464-9950 (Toll Free TTY)
  • (804) 662-9532 (Fax)
  • James.Rothrock@drs.virginia.gov

Alexandria Office

  • 5904 Old Richmond Highway, Suite 410
  • Alexandria, VA 22303
  • 703-960-3411 (Voice)
  • 703-317-3525 (TTY)
  • 703-960-8950 (Fax)

Fairfax Office

Main Office for Northern Virginia

  • 11150 Main Street, Suite 300
  • Fairfax, VA 22030
  • 703-359-1124 (Voice)
  • 703-359-1126 (TTY)
  • 703-277-3528 (Fax)

Leesburg Office

  • 722 East Market Street, Suite 105
  • Leesburg, VA 20176
  • 703-771-4775 (V/Relay)
  • 703-771-4746 (Fax)

Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH)

Persons who are deaf and hard of hearing may also contact:

Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)

Persons who are blind or have low vision should contact:

  • www.vdbvi.org
  • 397 Azalea Avenue
  • Richmond, VA 23227-3623
  • (804) 371-3140 (V/TTY)
  • (800) 622-2155 (Toll-free in Virginia V/TTY)

Fairfax office

Employment Resources for Specific Disabilities

Persons who are blind or have low vision

Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)
  • www.vdbvi.org
  • 397 Azalea Avenue
  • Richmond, VA 23227-3623
  • (804) 371-3140 (V/TTY)
  • (800) 622-2155 (Toll-free in Virginia V/TTY)
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind
  • www.clb.org
  • 1825 K Street, NW, Suite 110
  • Washington, DC 20006
  • (202) 454-6400 (V/Relay)
  • (202) 454-6401 (Fax)
  • info@clb.org
American Council of the Blind

Please note the Virginia affiliate is acbva.org

  • www.acb.org
  • 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650
  • Arlington, VA 22201
  • (800) 424-8666 (V/Relay)
  • (703) 465-5085 (Fax)
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

Please note the Virginia affiliate is www.nfbv.org

Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing

Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH)
Northern VA Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC )

Persons who have a psychiatric disability

Laurie Mitchell Employment Center
Clarendon House

For more resources for specific disabilities, we suggest that you contact your local CIL. Find your local CIL at www.ilru.org/html/publications/directory/

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