How to Request Disability Accommodations in HUD Housing

Art: Robin Mead

If you are having struggles with your housing or your housing application, you may be able to request a change or exception to the rules to make things work better for you. These kinds of requests are called “Reasonable Accommodations.”

Reasonable Accommodations are a great way to get your disability needs met and find housing that will work for you.

Who Can Make a Request

A reasonable accommodation request can be made by any person who is disabled. If your child or someone else in your household is disabled, you can also make an accommodation request on their behalf.

If you are on Social Security disability, you will definitely qualify as disabled. If you are not on disability, you may still qualify if you have a chronic illness or other physical or mental health condition that significantly impairs you. Learn more about: Fair Housing Act Definition of Disability

How To Make a Request

Small requests don’t always need a formal process. Sometimes you can just call or email and ask for what you need.

For example: “Due to my disabilities, I am unable to come apply in person. May I please have an accommodation to apply by phone, mail or email?” or “Because of my disabilities, speaking on the phone is difficult. May I please have an accommodation to communicate by email instead?”

If you are requesting something bigger, or your housing program requires a more formal process, here are the steps:


Step One: Ignore Everyone

If you tell your housing worker that you are planning to make a reasonable accommodation request, there’s a good chance you will be told that the accommodation you want is not possible.

Don’t worry if this happens. It is totally normal and it means absolutely nothing.

Learn more: What to Do if Someone Tells You That You Can’t Have a Disability Accommodation

Step Two: Try Not to Get To Upset About It

Most housing workers are not properly trained in reasonable accommodation policies. They are not trying to be mean to you. They’re just repeating what they’ve been told. They may think that what they are saying to you is correct.

Don’t worry. The person who is saying “no” to you is not the person who’s going to read your request and make the decision. That will be done by someone who actually knows the rules. (We hope!)

You can just say “thank you.” Then feel free to ignore whatever they said and submit your request anyway.

Step Three: Get a Form

Your housing program probably has a special form for making reasonable accommodation requests.

You don’t have to use their form. You can use any form you want, or you can write a letter.  However, as you may have figured out by now, most housing workers don’t not know these rules. They’re going to think that you have to use their form. You might as well just make your life easier and use it.

You may be able to find their form on their website, or you can request that your housing worker mail or email you one. There should be two parts: One for you and one for your doctor or provider.

If you can’t find the form, or don’t want to use their form, or they don’t have a form, you can write a letter instead. If They Insist You Use Their Form

Step Four: Fill Out Your Part

Here’s the part where you write down what accommodating you are requesting and why you are requesting it.

If their form does it give you enough space, you can just write “see attached” and attach a statement or letter. Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters

Step Five: Make Sure Your Request is Disability Related

This step is important. If you skip this step you will have to go back and start again at step one.  Make Sure Your Disability Accommodation is Disability-Related

Mayflower is the perfect example. Her doctor wrote two letters. The first was denied. The second was approved. What was different? See for yourself: Mayflower’s Two Doctor Letters

Step Six: Pick a Provider 

You will need someone willing to write a letter or fill out a form for you. Your provider can be a doctor or a social worker or a nurse or a therapist or a psychiatrist, or another professional who is familiar with your disability needs.

Step Seven: Ask Your Provider for a Form or Letter

Tips for getting a good form or letter: How To Get a Letter from Your Provider

Your provider’s letter can be similar to your letter. Azalea emailed her doctor her letter, he agreed with everything, and his letter was almost the same: Azalea’s Two Letters

If their form doesn’t give enough space to write, your provider can write “see attached” and attach a statement or letter.

Step Eight: What to Include / What Not to Include

You do not have to disclose your diagnosis, symptoms, or medical treatment. Your provider also does not have to disclose this.

You do have to confirm your disability limitations related to this request. Your provider also has to confirm this.

Examples: How Do I Describe My Disability?

Step Nine: Submit Your Request

You can send in your forms by mail, email, fax or in person. In the ideal world, it is good to submit them in some way where you have a receipt that they were sent. If you bring it in person, get a stamp, here’s an example: Keep Proof it Was Submitted 

Some programs will insist that the doctor’s form must come directly from the doctor’s office. Most programs do not have this requirement, however if yours does, you may need to contact your doctor’s office and have them fax that in for you.

Note: There are a few types of requests that require extra process or extra documentation. Make sure you’ve got everything included if you made one of these requests; Higher Payment Standard or Rent from RelativePolicies for live in aides can also be a bit more complicated: Live-in Aides

Step Ten: Get Approved

Most requests that get to this step get approved. If not, on to next steps…


When Will I Hear Back? 

Response time for an accommodation request will vary. Usually a few days, but sometimes up to a month. If your situation is urgent, you may be able to contact higher up officials and ask for their help in getting a faster response (see link below).

Can My Request Be Denied? 

There are some situations where your request can get denied: Eight Legal Reasons a Disability Accommodation Can Be Denied

Still Having Problems? 

If you got a denial, a bad response, or no response, take a look here: What to Do If Your Accommodation Request is Denied

Get Help / Get Heard

You can also contact these places for help: How to Get Help or File Complaints for Housing Problems


Tips from Readers

🌷 Basil started by calling the Director of the HUD Field Office: “I spoke to the Director of the field office first. She said she saw no problems with my request. Then when I spoke to the local housing authority, I name-dropped the Director of the field office. The head of the local housing authority approved my request.”

🌷 Margaret was told “not possible” but she ignored this: “When I asked verbally, they told me there was no funding and it was not possible, but I applied anyway. So, when I got this letter in the mail, I thought for sure this was a denial letter, but then I read it. I’m so happy.”

🌷 Azalea cc’d her emails to a local advocacy group. “When it was getting difficult, I looped in a local advocacy organization. In my case, it was the city’s Human Rights office. They didn’t have to do anything. Once the Housing Authority saw that the Human Rights office was cc’d on emails, they were magically more helpful”. To makes sure that the cc was noticed, in her email Azalea wrote: “I am copying The Human Rights council on this request.”

🌷 Dandelion also suggests: “In your request, make sure to identify yourself as a person with disabilities, and write that this is a reasonable accommodation request. This will give you protection under the Fair Housing Act. You do not have to disclose your diagnosis or health details.”

🌷 Delphinium on accommodation forms: “No special forms are ever required to request or appeal a reasonable accommodation and it can’t be denied solely for it not being on their “preferred” format. However, if you use their form it makes it easier to know what information they want. It is very helpful to have your request clearly expressed as a reasonable accommodation for a disability.”

Great Advice from Lise

“I have yet to hear of any Housing Authority volunteering information about reasonable accommodations for disabled. I know it is degrading and exhausting. If you get told no, try to let go and just proceed with the accommodation request. Maintain as much privacy and dignity as you can.

“The Housing Authority staff are not medical professionals and can not override your doctor’s credentials. Communicate only by email, don’t get into debates about your disabilities and needs. If they try to follow up with your doctors, they likely won’t get a callback and will have to concede. Seek support from other disabled people. We are here. You are not alone. We have our dignity here amongst ourselves.”

Learn More

Guide to Accommodations for Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Section 8 Guide For the Disabled and Plucky

Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 for People with Disabilities (and family)

More Facebook Groups: Housing for People with Disabilities or Chronic Illness

Updated February 2019. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

50 thoughts on “How to Request Disability Accommodations in HUD Housing”

  1. Hi I just got my voucher but the case manager didn’t acknowledge the letter from my doctor for a extra bedroom for a special accommodation. The only granted me one bedroom for me and my husband and there was no mention of my letter or being denied a special accommodation she just basically showed me through my rent limit and bedroom limit how she felt about that letter. And I live in Shasta county and they still haven’t updated there hud rules up hear and there market rates are from years ago and I asked legal service how’s that legal when there’s no one bedrooms for $660 in Redding ca no more and they said that supposedly they been fighting with the county to update there hud rent limits since they been basing them from old rent limits from years ago.


    1. I apologize for the slow reply and I hope you have gotten an answer at this time. On the page above, there are links for a letter that you can use if your Housing Authority does not acknowledge your reasonable accommodation. I hope in your case that they were just taking some time to process. I hope that it is going well for you.


  2. Hello, I have a situation I need help with. I have several physical and mental illnesses and I’m receiving social security and SSI for my income and I’m on section 8 HCV. I signed my lease 2/14/2020 and I had back surgery that went terribly wrong and long story short, I finally was able to stay a night in August. I had been in recovery while staying at my parents. During my recovery my parents needed to be taken care of and I did it while in severe pain. It got so bad I would vomit. But they weren’t abled to take care of theselves due to surgery and disabilities. I go on vacation in June to see my twin sister and my Momma every year. I left June 2nd and when I got there I noticed my Momma wasn’t feeling right and was having a hard time doing regular tasks and she cried in so much pain all the time. So my cation turned into taking care of her. Which was ok I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for her. Anyways I found out 2 days before I had to be back home that she had stage 4 lung cancer that had also spread to her liver, spleen, lymph nodes. I was devastated and due to unavoidable doctors appointments I had to be home. I got home to my new apartment and it was a monstrosity. Nothing was unpacked and stuff was everywhere. I brought my best friend to come help me put things away and to be there to help me emotionally. I’m physically and mentally disabled and can’t work. My doctor wrote a letter stating I was disabled and needed someone here with me to help me physically and mentally. My daughter Allivia also wrote a letter stating she paid Jeremy weekly to help me with physical and mental disabilities ect. My landlords have listened to other tenants and would send me lease violations. I was accused of impossible things I’ve denied all the allegations. Because he was at my house off and on in the month of August I got two lease violations for unauthorised person living with me and one for him trying to get in while I wasn’t home we have security doors. This was false also they listen to other tenants that are racist. Anyways, I had to get back to Charlotte NC because my twin needed my help my momma was getting worse. So Sept 4th I helped take care of her. Her cancer had spread to her brain and she was no small woman. This was psycially and emotionally exhausting. I now have nightmares with flash backs of the stuff we had to do, see, and hear from her. She past away Sept 28th in my arms. I’m so lost right now. When I got home the middle of Oct I started to put more things away and I’ve fell in the shower 3 times already that Jeremy comes and helps me ect. I got a notice this month in the mail that my landlord will not be renewing my lease. I don’t make enough money to find another place. The waiting list are closed for section 8 and the one here in Boonville IN has a lower payment standered than any of the city’s, county’s, or states and this is going to be impossible to port anywhere else so where could I move to? There’s nothing in warrick CO where I live. I don’t know what I can do? I’ve lived in my apartment 3 non-consecutive months and I’m being forced to move out. I’m going to loose my section 8 and become homeless again. My family and I are worried about a possible nervous break down. This was a huge fear of my Momma’s she told my Twin to watch over me she was very worried about it. Does anyone know what I can do to have them reconsider and renew my lease?


  3. I live in a senior mobile unit and I’m disabled . Who can help me apply for section 8 and emotional support of cats? Please help…it’s been months and I’ve been denied.


    1. I’m not sure what you were denied for, section 8 or emotional support animal?

      If it was the animal, ask for a denial in writing and see what the written reason is. There are sample letters showing how to apply for this on this page.. hope this helps…


  4. My wife and I are in our 70’s and lived with our son in California.
    He lost his house due to COVID-19 and were going to be living in our car if we can’t get Affordable housing in 1 month.
    Our immune system is bad and both had COVID-19 and not able to go to a shelter. What can we do to get HUD or whatever. We also both have bad backs and knees.


    1. stanleyorlowski, it breaks my heart to read about the situation that you and your dear wife are in. I would recommend going to YouTube and checking out a channel there called CheapRVliving, which has tons of videos on people of all ages (some of whom able bodied and many of whom are disabled with various types of health issues) who are living happily and very frugally in their cars or vans or converted school busses, older rvs, etc… Anyway, this YouTube channel will inspire you when you see that you can live a very stress free and extremely inexpensive life in a vehicle of some sort, for the short term or the long term. Also, I would see if you and your wife can attend community college taking classes you love and then take out student loans and also apply for grants and scholarships so that you can pay your tuition with some of that money and use the rest of the money for your monthly living expenses. I would apply immediately for the spring 2021 semester so you can receive student aid as quickly as possible. Also, you and your wife could live stealthily for a few months in a storage unit that is housed inside a larger storage buidling, so that access to the unit is done from indoors where it is climate controlled and most likely has restrooms, patron lounge, electric outlets where you can run an extension cord to your individual unit, and you can have a bed in there, along with a mini refrigerator, some small lighting source, a portable induction cook top…and you and your wife could use this as an emergency living arrangement. There are actually people on YouTube that post videos of how they live short term in a storage unit! I will pray for you and your wife to find a cozy and affordable home immediately! GOD BLESS!


  5. Hello I am legally blind/ disabled and on ssi and ssdi. I have heard that if your on Sect 8 that you cant go to school. I checked out the criteria and I am not eligible to go to school on sect 8 since I’m over 24 and have no dependents. If I use my state dept of vocational rehabilitation with my ticket to work that I got from social security and go to school does thus count against me or can I bypass the student rule?


      1. Thank you Sleepygirl! I tried to look it up but cant find it anywhere. Do you have a link I can use to look it up? All the info I get it says I’m not able to go to school because I dont fit the criteria. They may have changed it recently because it is very strict with their school policies.


          1. If you recieved sect 8 after December 2005 for the first time you are not allowed to go to school. Even with a PASS or dept of voc rehab I assume they still wont let you go to school.


      2. Thank you but I have seen this already and dont see anything that tells me i am an eligible student. It says clearly even if your disabled you still cant attend an institution of higher learning. Unless I was under 24 but if your over 24 and single and unmaŕried you can not go to school. It doesnt matter whether your disabled or not. Please let me know where it says otherwise cause I dont see it. Thank you


      3. Okay here is the problem. This is directly from the PDF ” Students with disabilities who are applying for, or who started receiving, section 8 assistance after November 30, 2005, are not exempt from the restrictions of the new law. ” This means that anyone who is disabled and recieved Sect 8 in the last 14 yrs or so is not allowed to go to school. This rule sucks and I knew it was true. A lot of people with disabilities dont know this. If you could add this in to one of your posts so people can see it that would help a lot I think.


          1. Wow thank your right. The handbook is way more clear about this. I’m glad you sent me that info. Now I can go to school it’s just that they might count any Grant’s I recieve as income. I will have to go over this with the apt manager to see how this would work out. Thank you so much. If something different comes up I’ll let you know


  6. The forum deals with disabiity accomodation requests such as requesting an additional room allowance to be added to a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.

    However, you don’t mention religious accomodation requests for an additional room allowance to be added to a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.

    Is this plausible? Same outcome in an additional room allowance but for a different reason.


  7. Hi! Question: let’s say someone applied to section 8 and is also applying to AHVP (alternative housing choice voucher program) let’s say so far it’s one person and on the section 8 centralized waitlist form it’s selected as needing 1 bedroom. However for various disability & medical reasons this person probably needs 2 bedrooms. When it hopefully comes time that they are at the top of the waitlist… how do they go about requesting reasonable accommodations? I guess my question is, it could be multiple years before I’m selected for AHVP or Section 8… when is the appropriate time for me to request reasonable accommodations?

    And secondly have you done any posts with AHVP info?


    1. Hi Izzy,

      I don’t know anything about AHVP. If it is a HUD program it is probably similar rules to other vouchers.

      For a subsidized building, you should put in the accommodation request as soon as possible to get on the waiting list for a two bedroom.

      For a voucher, it doesn’t matter. You can request an accommodation anytime while you are waiting, or when you get to the top of the list.

      If this is Massachusetts, I’ve heard rumors that the centralized waiting lists takes forever, and it’s much faster to contact and apply directly to subsidized buildings that are not owned by housing authorities.

      Hope this helps.


  8. Hi, I currently live in a subsidized Public Housing Unit in an urban area. I have been there for 15 years. I have applied for Section 8 3 times but have never made the “lottery” to get on the list. The environment is very unhealthy and negatively impacts my mental health conditions for which I receive disability (SSD/SSID). I recently found out that if I lived in a similarly funded Public Housing Unit in a rural area (In Oregon), I would only need to live in the unit for one year, and I would qualify for a Housing Choice/Section 8 voucher. Alternatively, I also found that if my unit was funded just about any other way through HUD, I would, likewise qualify for a voucher after a year. Added to these, once qualifying for a voucher I could then qualify for home ownership. I have felt like a prisoner, trapped in my apartment for so many years – wanting desperately to move back to a rural area where I feel healthy and at home (the city was only suggested as a temporary measure by a counselor when I first became disabled – now it has been a 15 year nightmare). Please tell me – can a reasonable accommodation help me, or should I file suit against HUD as I certainly feel discriminated against in this situation, D


    1. This simplest thing to do is just start applying for vouchers and buildings in the area where you want to live. here’s where you can find wait lists:

      The link above also includes links to usda rural rental assistance. some of the USDA programs are the same rent as HUD and they are in rural areas.

      In terms of converting: Some types of buildings called RAD let you convert to a voucher. Project-based section 8 vouchers will also let you convert to tenant-based vouchers sometimes. If your building isn’t one of those types….

      You could try requesting a reasonable accommodation to convert to a voucher, though I don’t know if it will be successful. Strong doctor’s letter stating that the move is medically necessary may help.

      We heard from one reader who did that… she just made so many accommodations requests and they couldn’t meet her needs…. so they finally gave up and gave her a voucher without her even asking.

      I don’t see any kind of discrimination in this situation.

      Hope it goes great.


  9. My voucher is for a 3 bedroom. I was eligible for a 3 bedroom to house myself, my teenage son, and my 9 and 4 year old daughters. My son has recently moved out which changes the amount of bedrooms I’m eligible for. My 9 year old daughter is deaf and recieves social security. I want to request that one of daughters move into the now spare bedroom due to sleeping issues with the girls being in the same room, not to mention the 5 year age difference between the two. How would I go about requesting reasonable accomodations for my 9 year old to have a separate bedroom because she’s deaf and what are the chances it will be approved?


      1. My daughter also has ADHD which causes her sleep issues which in turn keeps my younger daughter awake at night causing her sleep loss. Can I request reasonable accomodations for this reason?


        1. Hi Lindsey,

          I’m not certain if this would be approved or not. Usually the request needs to focus on the needs of the disabled person, not other family members.

          However, if the person’s disability would make it impossible for them to share a room with any other family member, possibly that could be accepted.


  10. HI I am disable and had lost everything from storage my younger daughter hurt me so I had to do a reasonable accommodation from Doctor my manager kept saying he wanted me to stay on but I was afraid. So my oldest moved me home. I am 68yrs old… Handed paper in 28th July, been calling and not been called back… I don’t want to be homeless…. I am scared….


  11. I’m 61 and disabled window collecting SSI for insurance. Can extenuating circumstances that would allow me to get section 8 Lonely still living in the state where I was married but no support system all family another state would appeciate HUD approval Thank you


  12. Please help me. I have Section 8 and they will not allow me an extension even though I have called over 40 apartment complexes and gone to see about 6 apartments. Every one had stairs. I am in a wheelchair. (occasionally I can use a walker) I cannot use stairs.If I had an apartment with stairs, I could not get in or out unless two people are helping lift me over them, one on each side. It would not be save to live in an apartment I cannot escape in case of an emergency, and I would be essentially trapped and unable to go to doctors appointments I need. I explained this to Section 8 but they said there were no exceptions. I want to file a disability accommodation request, but I cannot find the form anywhere online. I tried calling HUD but I cannot get through. The phone rings and rings and there is no way to leave a message. I tried calling two different numbers multiple times. It says I can write a letter but I have no idea what to put in a letter. Please help me find this form. If I can’t work this out, I am going to be homeless and on the street.


    1. Sorry for the slow response.

      A sample letter is below. If you have already past the deadline, you can also request your voucher be reinstated, and include that you made a verbal request for an accommodation and the worker refused to consider your request…

      Dear So-and-So,

      I am writing to request a reasonable accommodation as a person with disabilities. 

      I am requesting an additional extension in time to use my housing voucher. Due to my disabilities, I was unable to secure housing to use the voucher by the deadline. (ADD HERE: Disability related reasons for request)

      I am requesting extension in housing search time. This request is made in accordance with HUD policy 24 CFR 982.303(b)(2) which states that “If the family needs and requests an extension of the initial voucher term as a reasonable accommodation, in accordance with part 8 of this title, to make the program accessible to a familymember who is a person with disabilities, the PHA must extend the voucher term up to the term reasonably required for that purpose.”

      I am attaching a third-party verification supporting this request (or this is the contact information for a provider who can provide third party verification supporting this request)

      Please provide me with a written decision on my accommodation request.

      Thank you, Me

      disability related reason info:


  13. What form does my dr. Need to submit for me to keep my parking space. Under new management it is being rearranged.


    1. If it’s subsidized housing, you can ask the building if they have a form for making a reasonable accommodation request. if they don’t have one, or it’s a private landlord, you don’t need a form, your doctor can just write a brief later stating your disability-related reasons for needing the space.


  14. Hi Sleeppy Girl. My question is I Have a 3 br voucher for My self who’s disable My Mom who’s73. My Daughter whos13.And my adopted Nephew who’ is 5 with a disabilty. We got a doctor’s note from my nephews doctor andwe got approved for a 3 br I asked my caseworker if I could put request for a4br because of my mobility issues. She said well we don’t have the funds.and never told me that I could ask for a Reasonable accomodation for myself. She said they would probably say .I’ or mom could sleep in the living room My mom is 73 with some health issues and I have a mobility disabilty. We need 4 bedrooms should I talk to someone else. Thanks!! Ramelia


  15. Hello! I need help! I am requesting reasonable accommodations (2). I can’t find reasonable reasons for them. My son has asthma and I have anxiety post partum depression and PCOS. Any ideas of where to look? I saw you have great examples for some but unfortunately not these. Any help would greatly appreciated. Thanks Jess


  16. I’m trying to find out how to get a Delcher accommodation for my rent a size I’m being charged 66% Over my voucher I’m going disability I’m being charged 175 I only get 750 a month i have my family a for here my husband is trying to get disability he has a court date i have 2 sons my oldest son has a job my youngest son is not working at this time yet trying to get ACD LC when my son works between my 175 and whatever he makes we get charge around rough over a $100 which i don’t think is fair so I’m trying to get accommodations for a higher voucher for me as being disabled can somebody get ahold of me as soon as possible


  17. In rule # 1, you write, ” Never, ever, ever let someone deny you verbally. Get it in writing.” Then in the next paragraph write “then they make the request officially in writing and…. voila!… it is approved.”

    I’m impressed with the turning the no into and yes!

    And confused…. is it important to get the denial in writing…. or just better to follow through with a request in writing? Seems it may be better to just go through with the request? It’s a small office I’m dealing with.




  19. Do any of these scenarios apply if you live in a Low Housing Income Tax Credit apartment? I am disabled and mostly housebound and I have a son with mental illness who I take care of full time (and may eventually receive a disability diagnosis) and we are sharing a studio apartment. I would love for us to move to a two bedroom (which the manager confirmed she would do) but I cannot afford it. I can barely afford the studio. I guess I’m a bit confused about how to deduct my cat, who is definitely a huge emotional support, and whether or not some kind of rent adjustment can be made if any (since it’s already low income) to accommodate for us each having our own bedroom. I also pay for all of my supplements out of pocket. Any advice and information would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for your articles! I’ve found them such a help and encouragement : )


    1. I think you would need to check with your housing manager to see if these rules apply for you.

      Different LITC apartments are set up different ways. If your rent is set to be 30% of your income, then most likely these rules would be helpful.

      From what you have written here, it sounds like that might not be the type of building you are in.

      You might find it worth it to get on the waiting list for some other places that use the 30% rules.

      Liked by 1 person

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