On January 22, 2014, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the voluntary disability self-identification form which federal contractors must use to invite applicants and employees to voluntarily disclose whether they have, or ever had, a disability. The approved form will be utilized by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) under the final rules implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which become effective March 24, 2014.

The form starts by stating that “[b]ecause we do business with the government, we must reach out to, hire, and provide equal opportunity to qualified people with disabilities. To help us measure how well we are doing, we are asking that you tell us if you have a disability or if you ever had a disability.” Because a person’s disability status may change over time, federal contractors must also request that current employees update their information every five years.

The approved form briefly defines what constitutes a “disability” and provides some examples of conditions generally considered to be disabilities. It also allows applicants and employees to provide their names, and give them three options to select from: “___ Yes, I have a disability (or previously had a disability)”; “___ No, I don’t have a disability”; or “___ I don’t wish to answer.”

Completed forms must be maintained separate from personnel file and used only in connection with a contractor’s affirmative action obligations and goals.