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4 reasons for job applicants to self-identify as disabled

New DOL form geared toward federal contractor hiring compliance 

The U.S. Department of Labor is urging applicants to voluntarily disclose disabilities. The DOL says the new employment form will help federal contractors meet equal opportunity goals -- opening more doors for disabled persons.

Yet candidates with physical impairments or medical conditions are often leery of calling attention to their disabilities. They fear it would take them out of consideration. But there are several reasons why it actually makes sense to reveal a disability when applying for federal jobs.

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4 reasons to be up front about disabilities on job apps

It's understandable to be hesitant to declare a disability. You don't want to be labeled or pre-judged or disqualified altogether. You want to be hired on your merits. But if you are applying for positions with federal contractors or federal agencies, there are good arguments for self-identifying as disabled:

(1) Affirmative hiring - Many federal contractors are on notice that they are underrepresented in the employment of people with disabilities. Hiring a qualified candidate who also has a disability "kills two birds with one stone." It enables the contractor to meet the 7 percent target for employing veterans and disabled workers under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

(2) Competition - The new administration has signaled intentions of a hiring freeze on federal employees, although certain sectors (defense, borders, immigration) may grow. For the reasons above, a disability could be an edge in competing for scarcer job opportunities in the federal sector.

(3) Accommodation - Employers can't make allowances for an impairment if they don't know about it. And it may be more difficult to demand "reasonable accommodations" later.

(4) Full disclosure - A disability not declared on the application form may be discovered in background screening, in interviews or after the fact of hiring. Non-disclosure could be viewed as an issue of trustworthiness, particularly in security clearance positions. 

Source: Why you should self-identify (ClearanceJobs.com)

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