Sample Letter for Requesting a Disability Accommodation in the Workplace

Art: Robin Mead

Sample Letters for Workplace

If you are requesting a disability accommodation in your workplace, here’s where you can find sample letters for you and your doctor: Accommodations Letters for Your Employer

Sample Letters for Housing 

This page is about employment accommodations. If you are looking for accommodations in housing, look here instead: Accommodation Letters for Housing

Am I Disabled? Do I Qualify? 

To request an accommodation from your employer, you must be disabled. However, you do not need to be approved by Social Security to be considered disabled and offered protections under the ADA. You also do not need to prove to that your illness is legitimate.

Many of our readers with invisible illnesses struggle with feeling they need to prove that they are “really sick.” How Do I Prove That I Am “Really Disabled”?

How Do I Make the Request?

Learn all about accommodations in this guide for a Win Win Approach to Reasonable Accommodations and this guide to Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA.

The Magic Rules

Magic Rule # 1 – Submit your request in writing. If you ask verbally, you may be told “no” or “not possible.” After you submit the request in writing, sometimes “no” magically turns into a “yes.”

Magic Rule # 2 – Get an answer in writing. Never ever ever ever (under any circumstances ever) accept a verbal denial. State that you need a written decision. Once again, many times the decision will magically turns into a “yes.”

Free Consultations

You can request a free consultation from the Job Accommodation Network. They may be able to advise you on your request. 

Key Ingredients

Please make sure your request includes:

  • Your request is written
  • The request states you are disabled
  • The request states that this is a reasonable accommodation request
  • Doctor’s letter is not required but helps a lot
  • Doctor’s letter identifies you as disabled
  • You have proof you submitted the request (receipt, email, certified mail, etc)

The “Nexus”

Your letters do not have to include any private medical details or medical history, but they should include a clear explanation of how your request relates to your disability. This may be called the “nexus” between your disability and your accommodation request.

Leaving this out is a common reason why accommodations may be denied. This page is for housing, but it will give you an idea of how to show the connection: How to Show That Your Disability Accommodation is Disability-Related

Need a Different Schedule? More Sick Days? More Time Off?

In some situations, instead of using the letters above, it would be better to request a different schedule or more time off through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Not everyone is covered under FMLA. Learn more The Employees Guide to FMLA.

What If I’m Not Covered by FMLA?

If you are not covered under FMLA, you can still make similar requests. Do not call them FMLA requests. Make it clear you are requesting a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities under the ADA. For example, you can request a different or flexible schedule. You can also request unpaid time off (for your own disabilities, not for other family members).

While there is no guarantee that all requests will be approved, your employer will have to consider your request using the same ADA laws that apply to any other disability accommodation request.

Does My Employer Have to Say Yes?

An employer does not have to grant all accommodations. It depends on the circumstances and what you are requesting. More information on this topic can be found in this fact sheet on: Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship

Can I Ask For More Time? More Hours? More Pay?

Your employer does not have to grant you more pay or more paid hours. They also don’t have to grant you permission to be less productive or get less work done than other employees. Some employers might be nice and decide to allow this, but they are not legally required to.

On the other hand, your employer does have to consider granting any requests that will help remove obstacles or barriers so you can get your work done. For example: Switching some job tasks with someone else, relocating your work space, providing additional training, or purchasing special equipment that helps you.

Need Help?

If you run into problems or need assistance the Disability Rights Agency in your state may be able to help. You can also try contacting your local Center for Independent Living.

Be Careful

The people who work at Human Resources are hired to protect your employer, not you. Readers kind enough to share their stories to help others: Human Resources is Not Your Friend

Get Protected

If you submit a Reasonable Accommodation request, you have some legal protections from being fired if this would be retaliation. If you do not submit a Reasonable Accommodation request, then you have no protection. Learn more: EEOC fact sheet on retaliation.

Considering Applying for Disability?

If you think you may apply for disability at some point, keep copies of all Human Resources files and all doctor’s letters related to your accommodation request. Also, please take a look here: If There is Any Chance You Will Ever Apply for Disability…

If your employer offers disability insurance and there is any chance you might some day apply, please also read this How to Protect Yourself if Your Employer Offers LTD

Definitely Applying for Disability?

It is possible to apply for Social Security disability while working, as long as you are earning under a certain amount. You may find it more difficult to get approved, or it may take longer, but it is possible. Learn more: Applying for Disability While Working

Already on Disability?

If you are already on disability, check out: How to Work Without (Too Much) Trouble

Learn More

Good news! You might be eligible for Medicaid (even if you think you’re not). How to Get or Keep Medicaid While Working with Disabilities

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7 thoughts on “Sample Letter for Requesting a Disability Accommodation in the Workplace”

  1. I need help writing a letter reasignment to another coordinator (position ) as a assignment comparable to the one I have. ( My Reasonable accommodation was denied)


  2. I have found your writings to be very helpful. I used your sample to request reasonable accommodations with my employer, who happens to be a local housing authority. Believe it or not they formed a task force to keep from complying!They also doubled my workload with no extra hours to complete it. (I had asked for a few more hours since I only work part time)
    I will keep you informed as to the outcome. Thank you for your help.
    Please don’t use my name until this is done. I have considered going to the press since they receive a large portion of funding for disabled support.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m very sorry to hear this.

      I believe you can request a free consult with this group: I hope they can help.

      I wasn’t clear from your post what accommodation you are request. If your request is more paid work hours I am not sure that an employer would be legally required to grant that as an accommodation.

      If they doubled your work load as a result of making an accommodation request, that might be considered retaliation. You might consider filing a complaint. I hope that JAN or your states disability rights organization could advise you on that. I believe there is a deadline.

      Please come and report back. I hope that this goes well.

      P.s. I am removing your name but may forget to in the future, are you able to remove it yourself when you post?


  3. It was delightful to find your site. The inviting and colorful images are inviting and cheerful and the information helpful. I have done some research and have checked the Jan site and have spoken to a representative there.

    Thanks Laur


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