What does “Disability” mean According to the Washington State Human Rights Commission?
As of July of 2007, the definition of disability is as follows:
• Disability refers to the presence of a mental, physical or sensory impairment that:
o According to WA disability law, the disability is medically diagnosable or cognizable; or
o According to WA disability law, the disability must exist as history or record; or
o Is perceived to exist whether or not it exists in fact.
Disabilities exists whether it is common or uncommon, temporary or permanent, mitigated or unmitigated or whether or not it impedes the ability to work in general or perform a specific job function.
The state—through WA disability law–interprets “impairment” and implements said definition into Washington disability law; impairment refers to any condition or physiological disorder or anatomical loss which affects one or multiple of the following bodily systems: special sense organs, neurological, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, cardiovascular, skin, endocrine, hemic and lymphatic.
Is the Washington Definition of Disability the same as the Definition Expressed in the American with Disabilities Act?
• The Washington definition of disability is broader than the federal definition. The Washington definition covers a large number of medical, mental and/or psychological conditions.
• Temporary ailments are covered under the WA disability law and Washington State’s definition but not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• Conditions that are mitigated or ameliorated by medications are considered under Washington disability law but are not accounted for on the federal level.
• Using the Washington definition, there is no requirement under WA disability law that a medical condition must have an impact on a major life function or activity, or that said impact of the condition be limiting.
According to Washington Disability Law, what Protections do I have at work if I am disabled?
• Under WA disability law, you have the basic right to not be discriminated against. If you are disabled, you may request reasonable accommodations during the job application process. While on the job, assuming you are able to perform your job, you are protected under WA disability law. If you formally request reasonable accommodation to successfully do your job, your employer is required to enter into an interactive process to determine accommodation efforts.
• When requesting reasonable accommodation, Washington disability law requires you to provide your employer with medical information. If your work is suffering because of your medical issues, your employer—under Washington disability law may request information concerning your condition as it specifically relates to your ability to perform.
How do I Request a Reasonable Accommodation?
• The traditional way to request reasonable accommodation via WA disability law is to submit a formal request in writing or secure a note from your doctor stating the request for accommodations. You should—according to WA disability law–present the request to your manager or to your human resources department. Your request must relate to your disability, must lower barriers to your performance and must help you with your job function.
What Kind of Protection Do I Have at Work If I Have a Disability?
• Washington disability laws protect employees with disabilities so long as they can perform their job. Washington disability law offers protections to safeguard your right to be considered for employment. Therefore, to adhere to WA disability laws, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for their disabled workers. This requirement; however, only applies if the reasonable accommodation aids the person with their job performance.
How do I Apply for Washington Disability?
When you apply for Washington Disability, you must ensure that your application adheres to Washington disability laws. Please follow the below steps when applying for benefits:
• As stated above, before applying for benefits, make sure you adhere to Washington disability law. To qualify for disability, you must not be able to perform substantial work activity because of a diagnosable mental or physical illness that is expected to last for one consecutive year or result in death. The Federal Social Security website provides a benefit eligibility screening tool to determine if you think you can qualify for any of the following programs: Supplemental Security Income; Social Security Disability Insurance; or Non-Grant Medical Assistance.
• After determining your eligibility with regards to Washington disability laws, you must secure the forms at any Washington Division of Disability Determination Services; forms can be procured on the DDS website or any branch office.
o Washington DDS website.
o Location: Disability Determination Services Offices
Olympia Regional Office:
Toll Free: 1-800-562-6074
Fax: (360) 586-0851
PO Box 9303 MS 45550
Olympia WA 98507-9303
• After contacting the Washington DDS, you must fill-out the forms and submit them to the office and your employer.
• To adhere to Washington disability law, you should document your illness by procuring your medical records and talking to your medical professional
• Washington disability laws require you to provide the requested medical evidence for a medical determination of your illness/disability
• After fulfilling these steps, officials—using Washington disability law—will wait for a decision from the Social Security Administration office.