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Workers with Disabilities (55-a)

In accordance with Section 55-a of the Civil Service Law, individuals with disabilities may be eligible for employment in certain positions in local governments (counties, cities, towns, and villages), without having to take a written examination.

Application Process

  • In order to be employed under Section 55-a in local government positions, individuals with disabilities should apply directly to the employer for any entry-level position for which they meet the required minimum qualifications.
  • A nomination for appointment to a position pursuant to Section 55-a must be made by the appointing authority to the local civil service commission or Personnel Officer if the employer is interested in appointing an individual with a disability.
  • The local Civil Service Commission or Personnel Officer will request the position duties and responsibilities be reviewed by either the New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB)(External Link), or the State Education Department (SED)(External Link) to determine if the nominee is able to perform the duties of the position.
  • If the nominee is able to perform the job duties of the position, the NYSCB or SED will certify to the local civil service agency that the nominee is eligible for appointment.
  • Note that while certification by these organizations is required to be employed under Section 55-a, such certification is not a guarantee of a job. For more information regarding Section 55-a, you should contact the local civil service agency having jurisdiction over the position.

Each local civil service agency in New York State (State) may, by rule, determine a prescribed number of positions (not to exceed 700) with duties which can be performed by persons with physical or mental disabilities who are found qualified to perform such duties satisfactorily.

Each local civil service agency has policies and procedures regarding appointments pursuant to Section 55-a. Depending on the local civil service agency's policies and procedures, it is typically an employer's prerogative whether to appoint an entry-level competitive class position from an open-competitive civil service examination eligible list or to appoint a qualified person with a disability on a non-competitive basis.

Please note that Section 55-a is distinct from Sections 55-b and 55-c of the Civil Service Law, which provide similar employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities to positions in State government. Information regarding 55-b/c programs may be found here.