Has anyone ever received disability accomodation for deadlines?
November 29, 2016 12:58 AM   Subscribe

It seems like nearly every organization you can interact with has some form of deadlines - payment periods, responses needed, return-by dates, applications, tickets, etc. These deadlines - and more specifically, dealing with time crunches - always seem to play merry hell with people with mental health disabilities, particularly when times enter dark periods. Has anyone ever heard of someone arguing, successfully or otherwise, either privately or in court, that disability accomodation should apply to mental health as well for these scenarios?

I am looking for examples not just in employment but also things like people dealing with companies, landlords, etc. Is this a thing? Has this been attempted to be a thing? What has the success rate been like?
posted by corb to Law & Government (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
In my neck of the woods, penalties (financial or otherwise) that seem unfair can be reviewed by the Office of Fair Trading. Some late penalties cannot be argued against. Revenue penalties, etc; money owing to the State, often comes under revenue laws that supersede most other laws. Late penalties to utility companies etc. are often written into the original service contract and thus fall under contract law.

The thing about disability accomodation, as I understand it (again, in my locality), is that the accommodation should not seriously disadvantage the provider. If, as a landlord or service provider, I was not permitted to charge a late fee on late rental payment, even though I may have incurred a charge myself through late payment to my mortgage provider, that would seem like a serious disadvantage to me, and one I would like to mitigate by having the right not to rent to or service people seeking such an accommodation.

It seems you are seeking a legal solution to a set of social symptoms when the problem exists in the (personal to global) social system.
posted by Thella at 2:04 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've met a score of people recently who had that exact problem and now receive disability checks from the government. In the cases of the ones who've shared the details, they eventually messed up something very important or cost their employer lots of money. They were sorry but that really doesn't cut it. I don't think they could see far enough to ask something like that. Then they couldn't work in their field again and spent two years arguing with SSA about it

In an hour I'm having breakfast with a 37 year old former stockbroker who one day just stared at a bunch of time sensitive money stuff on his computer and did nothing all day. The brokerage had to cover that.

I'd be surprised if this thread finds an example of what you are looking for.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:07 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Of course.
First, some mentally ill people receive social security disability and supportive housing so that's an accommodation. So they are not subject to paying rent in quite the same way as others (but the system comes with a new level of red tape.) And some may receive the added accommodation of assistance from social workers and other independent living assistance. Families usually fill in the (huge) cracks.

The criminal justice system will also accommodate it to a point.
A friend's son, right now, is hospitalized going on week 3 for his mental illness and due to crimes (again) committed during (yet another) mental breakdown.
He is often arrested for previous actions/court orders that are unresolved. He doesn't always have the ability to follow up on paperwork/meetings required from his previous encounters with the law.
If he were not mentally ill he would be in jail, but instead he's in the hospital.
When he does finally face a judge it's likely he will not receive the kind of sentence that someone that's not mentally ill will receive for the same actions.
They certainly understand his ability to meet deadlines isn't that of most citizens, which leads to some of his legal problems of inability to comply with the paperwork, etc that the legal system runs on.
He has severe mental illness which is documented by social security disability and his long history of crimes and hospital stays related to his mental state.
Of course this is individual to each judge, but leniency in sentencing due to mental illness is an accommodation.
posted by littlewater at 3:10 AM on November 29, 2016

This is a thing, but the accommodation is usually client-side and often kind of folded into something else. Here's the list of suggested accommodations for deadline impairment/time management problems from JAN. This link to Stress Intolerance accommodations is probably also helpful. The University of Washington includes "assist thestudent in planning the workflow of assignments" as a common accommodation, noting, "This is especially important with large writing assignments. It may be helpful to break the larger assignment into smaller components with opportunities for draft feedback." Basically they will check on you in smaller intervals to make sure you are doing the thing.

Disability civil rights law firm DREDF filed a complaint with HHS alleging discrimination in social welfare program applications in California in 2012, basically arguing that the process was especially onerous for people with cognitive impairments, learning disabilities and mental illness. At least one of the cases cited included a woman who asked for deadline extensions on paperwork and was turned down and lost benefits. Connecticut settled a similar case, Raymond v Rowland, in 2001. In both cases, the accommodation is basically that the state has an obligation to affirmatively identify if a client is unable to meet a deadline and then assist them one on one, and waive program terminations if that doesn't work.

Just generally, this is part of what representative payees do for bills.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:15 AM on November 29, 2016 [8 favorites]

Oh, and to be specific- in almost everything I linked, mental health problems are specifically cited as a qualifying disability.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:19 AM on November 29, 2016

Just generally, this is part of what representative payees do for bills.

Yeah, I was coming in to say that many of our agency's clients end up on rep payee for a lot of these reasons (and often their housing arrangements, especially board and cares, will require that they be on rep payee before moving in). Though it's really less of an "accommodation" and more of a "stripping of rights," so...
posted by lazuli at 6:54 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

In an academic context, I have sometimes had students with disabilities that includes a provision for disability-related extensions. Although the paperwork never reveals a student's specific disability, my understanding is that mental health is included on the same par as physical disabilities.
posted by rainbowbrite at 2:14 PM on November 29, 2016

I have achieved extensions on deadlines as a result of my disability and that of one of my children. I've requested this extension both based on disability and on family status, which are protected grounds where I live. I have had to point this out to some organizations. One time, they wanted to give me a ridiculous 12-hour extension and I explained that they could not arbitrarily determine the extension but had to base it on the individual's needs. Some organizations have no experience with it, so you might have to educate them.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 4:59 PM on November 29, 2016

I know of at least one example of a tenure clock extension being given as a mental health accommodation.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 9:06 AM on November 30, 2016

« Older Burner Phones   |   Nina, Kim, Dorcas, Millicent Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.