How Do I Describe My Disability in an Accommodation Letter?

459618_360207147368228_1386968222_oIf you are requesting a disability accommodation for housing:

You do not have to disclose your diagnosis, symptoms, or medical treatment. You can share these things if you wish to, but you are not required to. Your provider also does not have to disclose this.

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


EXAMPLE: VISITING HOUSING OFFICE

Less Helpful:

“Daisy has Agoraphobia, Panic Disorder, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, ME, CFS, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, etc”

More Helpful:

“Daisy has a disability that makes her unable to reliably attend scheduled meetings outside her home.”

“Daisy has a disability that causes her symptoms to worsen during in-person face-to-face meetings.”

“Daisy has a disability that impairs her mobility, and leaving her home causes her symptoms to worsen.”

“Daisy has a disability that causes her symptoms to worsen in an office space or public meeting place.”

“Daisy have a disability that makes her homebound.”


EXAMPLES: WALKING UP STAIRS

Less Helpful:

“Alder has Lyme Disease, POTS, ME/CFS, etc.”

More Helpful: 

“Alder has a disability that impedes his ability to walk up stairs, and walking up stairs worsens his symptoms.”

“Alder has a disability that makes walking up long flights of stairs difficult. Walking up more than X number of stairs worsens his symptoms.”

“Alder has a disability that makes him unable to walk up stairs on days when his symptoms are severe.”

“Alder has a disability that prevents him from being able to walk up stairs.”


EXAMPLE: SEARCHING FOR LANDLORDS

Less Helpful:

“Plumeria has Agoraphobia, Depression, Social Anxiety Disorder, Lyme Disease, ME, CFS, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, etc”

More Helpful:

“Plumeria has a disability that makes her unable to reliably attend scheduled meetings with landlords.”

“Plumeria has a disability that limits her ability to contact landlords and set up arrangements for appointments. She requires additional time and support to do these tasks.”

“Plumeria have a disability that makes her homebound.”

“Plumeria has a disability that impairs her mobility, and leaving her home causes her symptoms to worsen.”

“Plumeria required surgery last month due to her disability. She was unable to search for landlords and requires additional time.”

“Plumeria has a disability that causes her symptoms to worsen in apartments with forced air or carpets. She requires additional time to find an apartment that meets these specific disability needs.”


EXAMPLE: TALKING ON TELEPHONE

Less Helpful:

“Petunia has Social Anxiety Disorder, Tinnitus, Panic Disorder, Hyperacusis, ME/CFS, etc.”

More Helpful:

“Petunia has a disability that makes her unable to speak on the telephone.”

“Petunia has a disability that makes her frequently unable to hold phone conversations. Use of the telephone can worsen her symptoms.”

“Petunia has a disability which makes her unable to complete housing tasks over the phone. She requires communications by mail or email.”

“Petunia has a disability that impairs her ability to understand and convey information over the phone or to complete housing meetings over the phone.”

“Petunia has a disability that makes processing and communicating verbal information difficult. Due to her disability, she requires all housing communications in writing.”


What Do I Do If Someone Asks Me to Disclose More? 

If a landlord or housing worker asks you to tell them your diagnosis, symptoms, treatment or medical history, you can answer the question if you want to, or you can say, “I don’t wish to disclose that.”

Or you can just say: “Please put that question in writing for me.” That will usually make the question magically disappear.

They are not legally allowed to require this kind of information. If you continue to have problems, you have the right to file a fair housing complaint.


Learn More

Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters for Housing

1 thought on “How Do I Describe My Disability in an Accommodation Letter?”

  1. Good and helpful ! Tired of being questioned and…yes..shamed by a nosy manager who has no right to know what my disabilities are.

    Like

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