Office of the Chief Information Officer

United States Department of Agriculture

Departmental Regulation 4050-531-002

Office of Human Resources Management

Pay Administration – Superior Qualifications and Special Needs Pay Setting Authority


The purpose of this directive is to set forth the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) policy on the use of Superior Qualifications Authority (SQA).


This directive provides policies and procedures for requesting and authorizing the use of SQA to a General Schedule (GS) position in accordance with the provisions of Title 5 United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 5333 and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 5 CFR Part 531, Subpart B, 5 CFR 531.212 and Guide to Processing Personnel Actions.

Supplementation Guidance: Agencies and Staff Offices may not supplement this directive without prior approval of the Director, Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM). Approved supplemental regulations or internal guidance issued by Agencies or Staff Offices may not conflict with the contents of this directive. Agencies and Staff Offices must make this directive, and any approved supplemental regulations or guidance, available to all employees.