Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodations when interviewing for a job. Learn more about accommodations and how to request them during the application process in today's blog post.

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Making Interviews Accessible for You

Jul 13, 2017

Throughout July, we're discussing the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). One key feature of the ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment. That means employers must provide reasonable workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities. However, did you know that employers must also provide accommodations to people with disabilities who are applying for a job? Today, we're talking about accommodations in the interview process.

Requesting a reasonable accommodation

An employer may ask if you need a reasonable accommodation for the interview, or you may need to make the request yourself, either verbally or in written form.

We recommend requesting the accommodation when setting up the interview because the employer may need time to make arrangements. For example, if an employer needs to arrange for a different location for wheelchair accessibility, they may need time to find and reserve a space to hold the interview.

The employer is not required to provide the exact accommodation that you request as long as they provide a suitable accommodation. For example, if you are blind and request that an interview test be read to you, the employer may choose to offer the test on a computer using a screen reader or by audio recording instead as long as it allows you to complete the task.

Under the ADA, employers are not allowed to ask you questions about your disability before you're employed with them. However, an employer who may not be familiar with your disability may ask for more information about it before setting up accommodations. If they do, it is your responsibility to provide accurate information so that the employer can arrange the accommodation.

Interview accommodations

When you apply for and interview for a job, consider the following:

  • Review the job posting. Make sure you have the qualifications for it. Employers are required to detail the essential functions of the job to ensure that qualified people with disabilities are not discriminated against.
  • Know the questions they may ask. Even though employers are not allowed to ask questions about your disability before you're employed with them, if you're applying for a federal government position or for a job with a federal government contractor, they will ask you if you want to self-identify as a person with a disability under Sections 501 and 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • Keep in mind that an employer who hires you is allowed to ask medical questions about your ability to complete job functions if these questions are asked of all employees, regardless of disability.
  • Think about other accommodations you may need for the interview such as a sign language interpreter, someone to assist with filling out paperwork or that the interview be held somewhere with wheelchair accessibility.
  • Ask about tests that you may need to take during the interview process, which may alert you to accommodations you'll need.

Additional Resources

About Ticket to Work

Social Security's Ticket to Work program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work.

The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Ticket program service providers, like Employment Networks (EN) and State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies, may be able to help you request and secure reasonable accommodations for your job interviews. If you've never considered reasonable accommodations, a service provider can help you learn more and find options that can help you succeed in the workplace. They can also guide you through requesting job accommodations as you interview for job positions and transition into the workplace.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit www.ssa.gov/work. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.


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