A true opportunity awaits those interested in becoming an AbilityOne® Program authorized distributor. Administered by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission®, the AbilityOne Program creates jobs and training opportunities for individuals who are blind or have other significant disabilities. AbilityOne products are mandatory items under the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR 8.7) and most carry the SKILCRAFT® brand name. Contractors providing supplies for use by Federal Government personnel are also required to provide mandatory items available through the AbilityOne Program, according to FAR Part 52.208-9.
Historically, AbilityOne supplies were distributed by the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). In 1995, the Commission clarified its regulations to allow the authorization of other AbilityOne distributors, in conjunction with the GSA "Desktop" Schedule (75IIIA) and a few single award contracts for supplies distribution. GSA has recently merged all of its office supply schedules into one Schedule 75 II A. Hardware and custodial/janitorial items are provided under GSA Schedule 51 Part V.
At this time, the recommended procedure for becoming an AbilityOne distributor is to make an offer on a GSA Schedule either for office supplies or hardware and custodial/janitorial supplies, or to receive an award from another Federal agency in tandem with completing the AbilityOne Application for Distributors which can be accessed below.
For more information about the AbilityOne Program and/or becoming an authorized AbilityOne distributor, please contact Eric Beale at (703) 603-2119 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers to Distributor's Frequently Asked Questions are available in the Distributor FAQ.
The reference files provided below identify the commercial items available from the two authorized wholesalers that have been determined to be essentially the same (ETS) as items provided through the AbilityOne Program. The ETS commercial items should not be placed on any Federal contracts (especially the GSA 75 Schedule) or Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs). In addition, many of the ETS commercial items must be blocked from sale to Federal customers in an automated fashion through your order entry system.
The A-List contains commodity-type products that are commonly used in office and light industrial settings.
These products, when furnished by the AbilityOne Program, are widely available through multiple government and commercial distribution channels, and are delivered to customers in timeframes consistent with industry best practices. For most office supplies, this means on a next-day or two-day basis. For oversize office products (e.g., chair mats), or janitorial/sanitary products, delivery times may be three to five days after receipt of order.
"A-List" products must be purchased by Federal employees whenever they are available within required timeframes and quantities. AbilityOne authorized commercial distributors must stock the items, obtain them from approved wholesalers or, to the extent permitted, coordinate nonprofit agency shipments, to make A-List items available for quick delivery. Any "essentially the same" commercial equivalents to these products, as determined by the Commission, are identified to the government and commercial distribution channels, and are excluded from contract sales to Federal employees in accordance with the Commission's regulations at 41 CFR 51-5.3(a). If a Federal customer orders an equivalent item, AbilityOne-authorized distributors are required to substitute and deliver the corresponding A-List product instead. This effectively gives AbilityOne purchasing preference to each of the A-List products across all entities of the government, comparable to the total government requirement scope previously extended to certain general Procurement List additions.
Examples of A-List products include writing instruments, paper pads, desktop accessories and general purpose cleaner in retail-sized bottles. The A-List is updated quarterly by the Commission staff. Note: As with any proposed addition, new products must first go through a notice and comment rulemaking process and receive the Commission's approval to be added to the Procurement List before being classified as or placed on the A-List.