Federal employers also may obtain additional guidance on providing reasonable accommodation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Free copies of the EEOC's published guidance on reasonable accommodation and other issues pertaining to non-discrimination against people with disabilities may be reviewed at EEOC’s website and obtained by calling (800) 669-3362 (voice), and (800) 800-3302 (TTY).
Other resources for technology-related technical assistance and accommodation assessment are:
Agencies may employ personal assistants for employees with disabilities, including those with visual and hearing impairments, under authority provided by 5 U.S.C. 3102. In addition, Section 3102(d) of the law authorizes the payment of pay and allowances for an individual who accompanies an employee with a disability on official travel. Specifically, the statute provides that the head of an agency may authorize the payment to an individual to accompany or assist (or both) the employee with a disability for all or a portion of the travel period involved. The statute further provides that the accompanying individual shall be considered an employee, but only for purposes of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act and the Federal Tort Claims Act. Accordingly, 5 U.S.C. Section 3110, which provides that a public official may not appoint,
employ, promote, advance or advocate for a relative (as defined in the section), does not prohibit pay to an accompanying spouse.
An individual with a disability:
Employees or applicants with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation are responsible for making their needs known to the appropriate official. Supervisors are responsible for properly responding to requests for accommodation from their employees. When an individual decides to request accommodation, the individual or his/her representative must let the employer know that s/he needs an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition.
The employer and the individual with a disability should engage in an informal process to clarify what the individual needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation.
An individual who is granted a reasonable accommodation might not receive the exact form of accommodation requested. The deciding official has the discretion to identify reasonable and appropriate alternatives.
Generally the agency (employer) must bear the costs of providing reasonable accommodation. For more information see the amended Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
In addition, Federal agencies may have several resources to draw upon when seeking support for reasonable accommodation. Sometimes other agencies have a role in funding the cost of an accommodation. For example, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs may have funds to assist employers in providing reasonable accommodations for veterans with disabilities. The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) in the Department of Defense provides reasonable accommodations such as assistive technology, devices and support services for free to Federal agencies who have a partnership agreement with CAP.
Applicants and employees are not expected or required to bear the costs of reasonable accommodations. Check with the agency personnel office, disability coordinator, or EEO office to see how requests for accommodation are handled at a particular agency.
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