The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) amended regulations implementing Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, the law that prohibits the federal government from discriminating in employment on the basis of disability and requires it to engage in affirmative action for people with disabilities. As part of their obligation to engage in affirmative action, federal agencies are required by the new regulations to provide personal assistance services (PAS) to individuals who need them because of certain disabilities. See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(d)(5). The regulations require federal agencies to provide PAS, in addition to reasonable accommodations, to certain employees who have targeted disabilities unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the agency. They also state that an agency cannot discriminate against an individual based on the need for PAS.
What are Personal Assistance Services?
Personal assistance services are services that help someone perform basic activities like eating and using the restroom. They are not the same as services that help the individual perform job- related tasks, such as sign language interpreters for individuals who are deaf or readers for individuals who are blind or have learning disabilities. These services are already required under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act as reasonable accommodations.Close and return to top
Do PAS include helping an individual with a targeted disability to perform his or her own job functions?
No. PAS allows individuals to perform activities of daily living that an individual would typically perform if he or she did not have a disability. PAS do not help individuals with disabilities perform their specific job functions, such as reviewing documents or answer questions received at a call center. NCUA processes PAS requests for employees with targeted disabilities under its Reasonable Accommodation Instruction.Close and return to top
What is a targeted disability?
Targeted disabilities are a subset of the larger disability category. The federal government has recognized that qualified individuals with certain disabilities, particularly manifest disabilities, face significant barriers to employment, above and beyond the barriers faced by people with the broader range of disabilities. These barriers are often due to myths, fears, and stereotypes about such disabilities.Close and return to top
When is the NCUA required to provide PAS?
NCUA is only required to provide PAS if -
- the individual is a NCUA employee;
- the individual has a targeted disability;
- the individual requires PAS because of his or her targeted disability;
- the individual will be able to perform the essential functions of the job, without posing a direct threat to safety, once PAS and any required reasonable accommodations are provided; and
- providing PAS will not impose undue hardship on the agency.
What is the process for requesting PAS?
As with a reasonable accommodation, an individual may request PAS online, or by informing a supervisor, human resources professional, Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator or other suitable individual, in writing or orally, that he/she needs assistance with daily living because of a medical condition. Undue hardship determinations will follow the same process used in the reasonable accommodation process.Close and return to top
Who will provide PAS?
The Reasonable Accommodation Manager will coordinate with supervisors to explore options for providing PAS on a case-by-case basis. Funding may be provided through the NCUA central accommodation fund or other funding mechanisms.Close and return to top
For Additional Information
Contact: Vanessa Jackson, Reasonable Accommodation Manager, Office of Human Resources
Phone 703.518.1638 or email at RAMail@ncua.gov
Resources: EEOC Issues New Guidance to Assist Federal Agencies to Provide Personal Assistance Services (PAS) (opens new window) (You will be leaving NCUA.gov and accessing a non-NCUA website. We encourage you to read the NCUA's exit link policies. (opens new page).)
Questions & Answers: Federal Agencies’ Obligation to Provide Personal Assistance Services Under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act (opens new window) (You will be leaving NCUA.gov and accessing a non-NCUA website. We encourage you to read the NCUA's exit link policies. (opens new page).)