Food and Transportation
Comprehensive Social Assistance Application: Social services are administered through your state’s Department of Human Services (DHS). Often, they have online applications that you can use to apply for food stamps as well as Medicaid, state disability aid, state emergency relief, childcare, and other services. These programs are state specific and administered at the county level. Each state has their own DHS website or visit the DHS office local to your county for more information.
Transportation Assistance for Medical Appointments:
- Insurance companies: The Department of Human Services transportation application provides free medical transportation. Check with your insurance provider to see if you are eligible for this service.
- Auto insurance and Workman's Compensation: The only other insurance companies that cover transportation for medical appointments are auto insurance, related to injuries sustained in an automobile accident, and Workmen’s Compensation insurance for appointments related to injuries sustained at work. Check with your health or auto insurance provider to see if they cover transportation for medical appointments.
- Transit/Bus Companies: Metropolitan area transit/bus companies will often have a program for those who require a door-to-door transit pick up service, due to a disability. Contact your local transit company to find out if they offer this program.
- Older Adult Service Agencies: These agencies will offer transportation resources for older adults. For example, the Area Agency on Aging is a program that administers resources to those 60 and over as well as for disabled individuals, including transportation. Find your local Area Agency on Aging.
Employment and Disability
Asking for Accommodations at Work
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law the protects people with disabilities from being discriminated against in the workforce. As a result of this law, employers that are required to comply with the ADA must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is any change or modification to the aspects of a job. Accommodations are provided to people with disabilities that are qualified for the job but need assistance completing some of the job requirements because of their disability or physical impairment. In addition, accommodations must be “reasonable” so they can be easily provided by the employer.
For people with Lupus, it would be advantageous to ask for accommodation if there are aspects of your job that would compromise your ability to manage your symptoms. For example, in a job that requires a lot of standing which might cause joint pain, asking for a chair to sit in could be a reasonable accommodation.
Talking with your doctor about your work and how this might affect your Lupus would also be helpful. Your doctor could suggest reasonable accommodations and write a letter to your employer to provide more information on your disease and how accommodations could help you better fulfill the responsibilities of your job.
Who is eligible?
The ADA defines a person with a disability as someone who:
- Has a physical or mental impairment that significantly impacts a person’s ability to perform one or more “major life activity;”
- Has a record of an impairment; or
- Is regarded as having an impairment.
The ADA does not have an official list of medical conditions that would qualify for disability, but some symptoms that can occur with lupus would qualify for reasonable accommodations.
Note: The types of accommodation and the process of asking for accommodations will depend on the specific symptoms a person with lupus has, whether the person is a student or an employee, and if the place of employment is bound to the ADA. It is an employee’s responsibility to ask for accommodations if needed, but not all accommodations may be granted if the employer does not have the bandwidth to fulfill the request.
What are reasonable accommodations?
Examples of “reasonable accommodations” for people with Lupus:
- Light – having access to an office space with windows to utilize natural light or having full-spectrum lighting
- Vision – accommodated with a large monitor, screen magnification software, hand/stand magnifier for paper copies, and a closed-circuit television system
- Difficulty standing/walking: accommodated with a scooter for getting around office and a stand/lean stool to support weight when standing
- Pain (in back, neck, hands): having a speech recognition software, an ergonomic chair, and an adjustable sit/stand workstation
- Fatigue: frequent rest breaks, flexible schedule, work from home part-time option
- Migraine headaches: moved to a workspace free from distractions and noise
- Service Animal: any dog that is trained to assist an individual with a disability with tasks related to work and daily life.
- Emotional Support Animals vs. Service Animals: Emotional Support Animals are not protected by the ADA as they are not trained to perform specific tasks related to a disability or physical impairment. Service Animals are trained dogs that can assist with tasks related to work or daily life. If there is an essential function of your job that you are unable to fulfill because of a disability, it would be worthwhile to consider getting a service dog to assist in fulfilling these tasks. For more information on where Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals can provide support visit this website: https://adata.org/guide/service-animals-and-emotional-support-animals
When can you ask or apply for accommodations at work?
Applying for accommodations can happen at any point during employment. The employee is responsible for contacting Human Resources or the applicable office to begin the process.
Accommodations are considered on a case-by-case basis, which is dependent upon the needs of the person with a disability and the ability of the workplace to provide the accommodation. Because of this, the amount of time it will take to approve and fulfill accommodation requests may vary.
How do you ask or apply for accommodations?
- Let the employer know that you need accommodation to fulfill essential work tasks.
- Employers may elect to write a memo or ask the employee to fill out a form for the request; however, documentation of the request is not required.
- The employer will determine if the employee’s medical condition constitutes a disability as defined by the ADA.
- Reach out to the Disability Office for students at your school. They might require a meeting or documentation of the disability.
- The office will determine if the medical condition constitutes a disability as defined by the ADA.
- Once accommodation is granted by the Disability Office be sure to inform professors or teaching staff of the accommodation.
The following are examples of offices at workplaces that may be responsible for fulfilling requests for accommodation:
- Human Resources
- Equality of Equity Offices
- Student Disability Offices (for students)
If you are unsure of what resources are available at your workplace, contacting a supervisor or the Human Resources office is a good place to start.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): This was a law passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination based on disability. Check out the official ADA website for more information: https://www.ada.gov/ada_intro.htm
Title IX: A law enacted in 1972 that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives federal funding.
Essential function: any aspect of the job that is necessary for fulfilling the role, removing this component of the job would result in a change in job title or position. If there is a part of your job that is not essential to fulfilling your role, then it would not be necessary to ask for accommodation for this function, it could instead be fulfilled by someone else.