While most live in aide forms are reasonable, there are a few housing authorities in the country that make their forms so difficult and demanding no one would ever be able to get an aide.
Examples of Reasonable Forms
These are typical forms similar to what most housing programs use. Each program is slightly different:
Example of Unreasonable Form
Here’s a particularly brutal Cambridge Live In Aide Form.
This form requires your doctor to verify that you need “nearly round-the-clock care from a single person.”
In what universe would any aide ever be able to do this? Are aides not allowed to ever leave the house? Sleep? Go to the bathroom?
Intimidation of Doctors
The Cambridge form also intimidates doctors by requiring them to answer five complicated and difficult questions and then asks them to agree to be called into court.
They also force a doctor to check boxes verifying a need for “continuous care during a 24-hour period” and “One single person has to provide all care.” Since there are no labor laws that would allow a single person to provide 24 hour care, how would any doctor ever agree to certify this?
This criteria is far stricter than the medical criteria for admission to any Medicaid nursing home in the country, none of which demand a standard of 24 hour continuous care, or all care from a single provider.
Cambridge also requires that the doctor describe how the care is unskilled. So any kind of nursing care or attending to medical needs won’t qualify. That’s right: Nearly round the clock, continuous, unskilled care, from a single person. What type of activities are they imagining disabled people are doing that need 24 hour assistance? Do the disabled people also not get to sleep?
Finally, the form flat-out states that if the doctor doesn’t prove a need for near-round-the-clock care from one person, Cambridge “generally will not approve a live-in aide” and states that a doctor must agree to testify “as to the representations that you have made.”
While many other programs include a small reference to testimony, it is most commonly one sentence, written in a neutral tone, and buried somewhere in the certification fine print. This form is far more accusatory and intimidating its phrasing and presentation.
As any disabled person will tell you, it’s common for doctors to be unwilling to fill out disability paperwork. Many doctors offices have set office policies of “no disability paperwork.” If a patient is very lucky, very persistent, and begs and pleads with their doctor, sometimes a doctor will overlook a policy and fill out a disability form.
How many doctors have ever agreed to fill out the Cambridge form? That would be interesting to know.
What Can I Do if a Form is Unreasonable?
If the Housing Authority has a rule or policy that is keeping you from getting the care you need, you have the right to request an exception: How to Request an Exception to Live in Aide Policies
You can also contact these places for help: How to Get Help or File Complaints for Housing Problems
You can also use the link above to file a fair housing complaint and explain why you feel their forms discriminate against people with disabilities and prevent you from being able to access housing that meets your disability needs.
You can also decide to not use their form and instead submit your own forms and see what happens. They cannot legally refuse to process your request, they must give you a decision. You can use forms from a different housing authority, or you and your doctor can write letters. Sample Letter If You Are Required To Use Their Forms
You can take a look here and try to decide if there was a problem with your application or a valid reason for a denial and if it something you can fix or change: How to Respond if Your Disability Accommodation is Denied
🌸 This page is part of the online guide: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters
🌸 Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 Disabled Residents & Family Members
Updated February 2020. 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: