Two women working at a laptopDid you know that there's a law that requires businesses that have contracts with the federal government to actively recruit and hire qualified individuals with disabilities? Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act also requires employers to support individuals with disabilities during employment through training, promotion and retention.

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Finding the Right Fit with a Federal Government Contractor

Feb 25, 2021

Two women working at a laptopWhen you're ready to try working, finding the right job means looking at a variety of factors — job requirements, your skills, the company's location and culture — among other things. At the same time, employers are looking for qualified candidates. Did you know that there's a law that requires businesses that have contracts with the federal government to actively recruit and hire qualified individuals with disabilities? It's a provision of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act) called Section 503.

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act requires employers to not only actively recruit and hire individuals with disabilities, but to support these individuals during employment through training, promotion and retention. These rules can lead to more job opportunities for people with disabilities as federal contractors in a variety of fields and businesses of various sizes, ranging from small family-owned businesses to large international corporations. Employers may work in construction, food service and IT and administrative support, among many other fields.

How Does Section 503 Work?

To learn more about Section 503, read our fact sheet we share:

  • What Section 503 means in greater detail
  • Who qualifies for Section 503
  • The disclosure process

Or contact a Ticket to Work service provider to help answer your questions.

Ticket to Work Can Help!

Your Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program service provider is a great resource to help you find such federal contractors and job openings. If working as a federal contractor sounds like a good fit for you, service providers like these are ready to help:

  • State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and Employment Networks (EN): Many State VR agencies and ENs can help you locate employers and support you through the job search process. To find the right EN or State VR agency for you, use our Find Help tool.
  • American Job Centers (AJC): Many AJCs provide resources to job seekers throughout various stages of the job hunt. These include career counseling, job interview practice sessions, job search assistance, job training and much more. Find your local AJC.

From Airman to Department of Defense (DOD) Support

One person who benefitted from support from the Ticket Program and Section 503 was Angel. After years of service in the Air Force and extensive damage to his neck and back, Angel found he couldn't keep up with the physical demands required of an airman. After he was medically retired, had multiple surgeries and recovered from a health scare, Angel felt he was ready to return to the civilian workforce.

With support from his Ticket Program service provider, Angel found a full-time position that supports the U.S.DOD. He's now in a workplace that provides him with the accommodations and support he needs to succeed.

Ticket to Work for Veterans

If you're a U.S. veteran who is currently receiving Social Security disability benefits (SSDI), the Ticket Program is ready to serve you!

The Ticket Program recognizes that veterans have a lot to offer employers. Ticket Program service providers have resources specific to your needs and can help you find the path to financial independence. Learn more in this fact sheet.

"Being back at work has had a positive impact in so many areas of my life," Angel said. "I've been able to [show] my children the rewards that can go with perseverance and resilience."

Read more about Angel and learn how the Ticket Program helped ease his transition to the civilian workforce.

About Ticket to Work

There's a lot to consider when job searching, and it can be tough trying to do everything on your own. The Ticket Program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI or SSI) and want to work. The Ticket Program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

By participating in the Ticket Program, you'll have access to a wide variety of services from service providers that offer free short-term and long-term supports to help you find and maintain employment.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket Program, visit choosework.ssa.gov or call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket Program Find Help tool.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket Program, visit choosework.ssa.gov or call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket Program Find Help tool.

Receive Ticket Program Texts

If you're interested in receiving text messages from the Ticket Program, please text TICKET to 474747. Standard messaging rates may apply. We'll send updates from our blog, identify steps on the path to employment and more. We hope you'll find this new way to stay in touch helpful. You can opt out at any time.

If you're interested in receiving text messages from the Ticket Program, please text TICKET to 474747. Standard messaging rates may apply. We'll send updates from our blog, identify steps on the path to employment and more. We hope you'll find this new way to stay in touch helpful. You can opt out at any time.

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  Opt in to receive information about the Ticket program via text. Text the word "TICKET" to 474747