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The Applicability of the ADA to Personal Assistance Services in the Workplace

by Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI)

Article Summary

Personal Assistance Service (PAS) is a form or assistance used by persons with disabilities to perform tasks that the person would perform for himself or herself if she or he did not have a disability.  Examples of this may include:  assistance in reading, communication, transportation to and from work, or job coaching.  Access to coverage for such services as well as many others is essential for Americans with disabilities to live independently and enter or rejoin the workforce. 

Congress has noted that individuals with disabilities are often unable to obtain healthcare insurance through employers that provides coverage for such services.  For individuals with disabilities, there is an overwhelming fear that they will loose their public health care as they pursue employment and increase earning potential.  The area of health care has been a large barrier between individuals with disabilities and work. 

            In this policy brief, the question of whether, and if so, under what circumstances the provision of PAS in the workplace is a reasonable accommodation as defined by the ADA?  The conclusion set forth is that any job-related services that are not solely beneficial to the individual are required by the ADA to be covered by the employer.  However, the employer would not be required to cover any services that are related solely to the daily living of the individual.  Examples of this might include eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, or personal hygiene care. 

*To read the analysis of this issue please read the full policy brief