Section 55-a Employment Program

What is the 55-a Employment Program?


55-a refers to the section of New York State Civil Service Law that allows Niagara County and other local government entities to bypass the exam process when employing people with disabilities in competitive civil service jobs.

Who is eligible for the 55-a Program?

You may be eligible if:

  1. You are certified as having a mental or physical disability which is a substantial barrier to employment; and

  2. You meet the minimum qualifications for the job; and

  3. You are qualified to perform the essential job duties of the position.

Who determines my eligibility?

  1. The New York State Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) or the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) certifies your disability based on recent information that you provide or, if the information is insufficient, you may be required to undergo a medical examination paid for by ACCES-VR or CBVH.

  2. The Niagara County Personnel Officer determines if you meet the minimum educational and/or experience qualifications.

What job opportunities are available?

Entry-level positions exist in technical, professional, administrative, and clerical areas.  Individuals should visit to find current job postings and exam announcements.

How are employment opportunities located?

An eligible individual can contact Niagara County Civil Service for assistance in identifying appropriate job titles. However, it is the individual’s responsibility to locate a suitable opening.  Job postings and exam announcements can be found at

Are eligible individuals guaranteed a job?

No.  The program is voluntary and appointing authorities are not required to hire each 55-a eligible person.  When an appointing authority is interested in hiring you, the job description will be reviewed by ACCES-VR or CBVH to assist you in determining your ability to perform the essential duties of the job.

Should 55-a eligible individuals take civil service exams?

Yes.  The 55-a Employment Program is voluntary and some departments and local jurisdictions may not participate.  To ensure that you do no miss any employment opportunities you should take all examinations that you qualify for.

Special arrangements and accommodations may be provided for disabled people upon request to enable them to participate in the exam process.

Promotional opportunities for 55-a employees

Section 52 of the Civil Service Law permits 55-a employees to compete in promotional exams that they qualify for.

Job Protection

Section 75 of the Civil Service Law provides job protection after five (5) years of employment.  Labor contract provisions, if applicable, may apply and may grant similar protections within a shorter period.

Who to contact for further information

Niagara County Civil Service

111 Main Street – Suite G2, Lockport, NY 14094

Phone:  (716) 438-4071                      Email:

New York State Education Department ACCES-VR

State Office Building, Hauppauge, NY 11788

Phone:  (631) 952-6357                      Website:

New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped

175 Fulton Avenue, Hempstead, NY 11550

Phone:  (516) 564-4311                      Website:

New York State Department of Civil Service