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Dutchess County encourages employment of persons of all abilities as part of its "ThinkDIFFERENTLY" Initiative. Dutchess County Human Resources is the civil service agency and primary recruiter for county departments.

One avenue for employment for persons with disabilities is through the 55-a Program.  

In a civil service environment, most positions are filled by choosing from among the top three candidates on an 'eligible list' created as a result of a competitive civil service examination. Section 55-a of the New York State Civil Service Law allows for qualified persons with disabilities to gain civil service employment without having to participate in the competitive civil service examination.  A 55-a appointment is simply a non-competitive (no civil service examination) appointment to what would normally be a competitive (civil service examination) civil service position.

The purpose of the 55-a Program is to help persons with disabilities overcome potential barriers and gain access to civil service employment opportunities.  A non-competitive class position may not have all of the same rights and protections as a competitive class position.

In Dutchess County, these non-competitive appointments can be made to some entry level titles as defined and designated by Dutchess County Human Resources.  Review of a list of qualified entry level titles


  • 845-486-2169
  • 845-486-2186
  • Human Resources
    Dutchess County Office Building
    22 Market Street, 5th Floor
    Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Examination Hotline 845-486-2167
Contact Emails

Frequently Asked Questions about the 55-a Program

Who is eligible to apply for employment through the 55-a Program?

To be eligible to apply for employment through the 55-a Program you must: 

Who decides if I’m eligible?

There are two agencies that provide this determination:

If I am eligible and apply, am I guaranteed employment through the 55-a Program?

There is no guarantee of receiving an interview or a position.  Appointments through the 55-a Program are discretionary for each agency. 

How do I apply for the 55-a Program?

  1. Review open recruitments and qualified entry level titles for the 55-a Program.  Choose the applications for the civil service title(s) that you would like to apply for. A separate application must be submitted for each title you would like to apply for. 
  2. When you apply as a 55-a candidate, you are authorizing Dutchess County Human Resources to:
    • If you wish to proceed with a 55-a application, you must be comfortable with hiring administrators knowing that you have a disability and that you may need a reasonable accommodation.
    • You are under no obligation to disclose the nature of your disability. 
    • If you do not want hiring administrators to be aware that you have a disability, do not file the 55-a application.  
    • You may withdraw your 55-a application at any time.
  3. Once a completed 55-a application to the Dutchess County Human Rights/Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Officer, is received:

    • Your 55-a application will be reviewed. 

    • If you meet the minimum qualifications, your 55-a application will be sent to ACCES-VR or NYSCB along with the position description, so they can verify that you can perform the essential functions of the job.

    • ACCES-VR or the NYSCB evaluates your skills and abilities against the essential functions of the job and either:

      • Approves your 55-a status and suggests appropriate reasonable accommodations or disapproves you for not being able to perform the essential functions of the job.

      • This decision is made on a job-by-job basis so if you are disapproved for not being physically or mentally able to perform the essential functions of one job, you may still be eligible for something else.

What is next:

Should I still consider taking a civil service exam if I am applying to the 55-a Program? 

Yes.  This is the only way your appointment can become a permanent position.

Important consideration for accepting a position in the 55-a Program.

If you have any questions regarding the 55 a process please contact us at: or 845-486-2169.

What job titles are approved for the 55-a Program?

The following list of job titles are approved and eligible for the program.  Links will take you a full job description for that title. All links open in a new window