How to Get a Disability Letter from Your Employer

Artwork: Robin Mead

If you are working while applying for disability, it may be helpful to request a letter from your employer.

If you are no longer working, you can also request a letter from your previous employer.

A letter from your employer is certainly not required, but may provide some extra support to your case if your employer is willing. Most people are approved without employer letters, so do not worry if you cannot get one, or decide not to get one.

Your medical records will be much more important than anything your employer writes, so it’s good to focus on that first: Medical records, function forms signed by doctors and letters signed by doctors. A letter from your employer can help support your medical documentation and increase credibility for your case.

Asking for a Letter

Before your employer writes a letter, it can be helpful to write down and give your employer a list of any problems you’ve had on the job because of your disability, or any tasks you cannot do or extra help you need because of your disability. This may give your employer some ideas for things to include. You will probably be able to think of and remember many more examples than your employer will.

Your employer may have no idea what to include in this kind of letter (the opposite of a job reference!). Below are two samples you can share with your employer if you wish.

Your Human Resources File

If you requested any disability accommodations while working, it may also be helpful to send Social Security your file from human resources, especially any doctor’s letters or forms supporting your disability accommodation requests. If your human resources file show that you were a hard worker with good reviews before becoming ill this may be a small help as well.

Sample Letter #1

Disability Determination Services, P.O. Box 9999, Everyplace, USA, Re: Jones, Jane

To Whom It May Concern:

Ms. Susan Jones was hired as an aide at our nursing home and worked here from 2000-2003 in a full-time position. During the years that Ms. Jones was here, she had to take a significant amount of medical leave.

During the last year, she was unable to do her work without someone with her virtually at all times. She would often become confused and needed help completing her assigned duties on time. Initially, other staff were more than willing to pitch in with Ms. Jones as she was very sweet, pleasant, and appreciative. However, over time, it became impossible for us to keep providing this amount of support, and we had to let her go. We were sorry to have to do this.

If you have further questions, please call me at 640-782-9876.


Sample Letter #2

To Whom It May Concern,

Jane Smith has been in my employ in the following position: _______________. She previously worked full time, however due to her illness her hours have been reduced to 10 hours per week. She is often absent for sick days.

Before her illness, I knew Jane to be a dependable and hard worker. Because of her disability and physical limitations, Jane is no longer able to perform many of the job duties she previously performed, which are required for this job.

Previously, Jane handled a variety of tasks. Since her illness began, Jane is no longer able to manage projects that have a deadline or perform physical tasks that are needed for this job, For example, she is no longer able to complete the following physical job tasks:______________________. She is also no longer able to handle many of the mental tasks that required concentration. I have hired another person to handle these tasks.

While Jane was previously responsible and reliable, since her illness began she is frequently late and often needs to leave work early. She also needs frequent sick days; in 2014 she was took sick days for more than 30% of the time she was scheduled. In addition, she frequently lies down during the work day.

Out of compassion for her situation, I have continued to offer a small amount of employment to Jane, even though she is no longer able to perform many of the tasks required for this job.

Please email or call with any questions.

Thank you,

Learn More

How to Apply for Disability While Working

Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

Updated May 2018. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: 

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