How To Get a Verification Letter (Disability Accommodations for Housing)

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Art: Robin Mead

When requesting a disability accommodation, it is a huge help to include two letters: one from you and one from a provider (doctor, psychiatrist, therapist, social worker, case worker, etc).

Another option is to send two reasonable accommodation forms: One from you, one from your provider.

Many housing programs have their own reasonable accommodation forms, you can ask your housing program for their form.

The letter or form from your provider is sometimes called a “third party verification.”

Do I Always Need a Provider Letter?

Some housing programs are more strict than others. For a small, simple request a provider letter is not always necessary.

For example, if your request is to handle paperwork from home instead of coming to their office, some programs will say yes to this if you just tell them you are disabled and ask for the accommodation.

Why Include a Provider Letter?

If you don’t collect and submit these documents yourself, something bad can happen: The housing program can send a blank form to your provider to fill out on their own.

The problem is this: Your provider is not going to magically know what is supposed to go on this form. They may have no idea what you are requesting or why you are requesting it. Sometimes providers do not respond to these forms, or write something on them that doesn’t address what you are requesting.

How to Get a Letter or Form

Many providers prefer if you set up an appointment and sit with them while they fill out the form, then collect the form and submit it to the housing program yourself (Less work for your provider! More likely to get done correctly!)

If you are unable to set up an appointment for this, you may be able to make the request by phone, mail or email (depending on how flexible or helpful your provider is).

Talk to Your Provider

If at all possible, it’s helpful if you can sit and talk with your provider about the reasons you are asking for this accommodation. This will give your provider a chance to ask questions and offer any suggestions they might have about what they feel would be best for your disability.

Once your provider knows all your reasons…. you don’t have to include all those reasons in the letter!

Your provider’s letter does not need to include your diagnosis, symptoms, or private medical history. Some people don’t like to disclose this kind of information to their landlord or housing program.

Your provider’s letter just needs to confirm that you are disabled, explain how your request relates to your disability, and state that your provider feels this request is needed for your disability.

Tips for Helping Your Provider

One way to help your provider is to write down a short list explaining EXACTLY what you are are asking for and the reasons why you are asking. A list like this will help your provider understand what it is you are asking them to verify, and will make everything much quicker and easier for both you and your provider.

Example #1 – Deadline Extension

What I am requesting: I am my housing program give me a deadline extension so I will have more time to find an apartment.

Reasons I am making this request:

  1. I am disabled
  2. Because of my disabilities I need to find a place with no stairs
  3. Because of my disabilities I need to find a place within 3 blocks of the bus stop
  4. Finding an apartment that meets my disability needs takes additional time. I need additional time to search.

Example #2 – Guest Policy Exception

What I am requesting: I am requesting that my housing program let my mom stay with me as a guest for three months.

Reasons:

  • I am disabled
  • Because of my disability, I am about to have a surgery
  • After the surgery, my ability to take care of myself will be lower
  • After the surgery, I will need additional help with Activities of Daily Living
  • My mom will be able to take care of me and help me with my disability, so she stays with me for three months after the surgery

Example # 3 – Additional Bedroom

What I am requesting: I am requesting my housing program let me move to an apartment with an additional bedroom.

Why I am requesting this:

  • I am disabled
  • My disability requires daily physical therapy
  • Need room for storage and daily use of physical therapy equipment (list here of all equipment, who prescribed it and why)
  • Equipment is too large to fit in other parts of house (list size of equipment and space needed to operate)
  • Equipment can’t be safely operated in other parts of house
  • Need adequate, private space for in-home sessions with therapists
  • Storing equipment in common areas would impair mobility and create fall risk
  • These exercises have been prescribed by my physical therapist and are needed to maintain my mobility and independence

How Azalea’s Got a Provider’s Letter

When Azalea needed to make a request for reasonable accommodation, she started by writing down her disability housing needs. Then she emailed this to her doctor. Azalea was kind enough to share copies of both her own letter and her doctor’s letter. As you can see, the two letters are almost identical. Her doctor’s letter confirmed the medical need for her request:

Azalea’s Two Disability Accommodation Letters (One From Her, One From Her Doctor)

You can find more sample letters on this page: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters

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