Agency PAS Requirement, Employee Qualifications, and Service Delivery
Effective January 3, 2018, amendment to regulations implementing Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, require the provision of Personal Assistant Services or PAS to certain employees with targeted disabilities who request and require non-medical and non-work task personal assistance, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the agency. HHS anti-discrimination policies apply to this new affirmative action requirement, and no employee should be discriminated against based on need for PAS.
The following information defines PAS and qualifying factors to receive PAS support; how to request PAS, and the Agency’s PAS support delivery options:
What are Personal Assistance Services (PAS)?
Personal Assistance Services are defined as "assistance with performing activities of daily living that an individual would typically perform if he or she did not have a disability, and that is not otherwise required as a reasonable accommodation; examples include, assistance with removing and putting on clothing, eating, using the restroom, and pushing a wheelchair or assistance with getting into or out of a vehicle at the worksite.” These examples are non-exhaustive, and serve to identify self-care type activities for which a PAS may be employed.
- PAS do not include, performing medical procedures (e.g., administering shots) or medical monitoring (e.g., monitoring blood pressure).
- PAS do not help individuals with disabilities perform their specific job functions, such as reviewing documents or answering calls; and differ from services that assist an individual to perform job-related tasks, such as sign language interpreters. Employees or applicants needing medically based reasonable accommodations (RA) to assist them in the workplace, or to apply for employment, may request reasonable accommodation through the Agency’s RA procedures.
Qualifying factors to receive PAS
- The individual is an employee of the agency;
- The individual has a targeted disability; a list of targeted disabilities is located on OPM form 256.
- The individual requires the services 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.
Making a Request for PAS
As with reasonable accommodation, an employee may request PAS by informing a supervisor, the Reasonable Accommodations program office, or other appropriate management official that he or she needs assistance with daily life activities because of a medical condition. The individual does not need to mention Section 501 or use specific terms such as "PAS", "affirmative action", or “Reasonable Accommodation” to trigger the agency's obligation to consider the request. Typically, the targeted disability and need for PAS will be obvious, such as with missing limbs or paralysis, and medical support may not be required. Where there is a requirement to clarify qualification of need and nature of PAS assistance, the reasonable accommodation (RA) interactive process should be engaged and a request for medically supporting information may be requested. For more information on the HHS RA procedures, contact the RA program office at EEOSC.Accommodations@hhs.gov, or at (202) 619-1564.
HHS PAS Delivery Options
- The agency may use an existing employee who already performs similar service as part of his or her regular job or hire federal employees, independent contractors, or a combination of employees and contractors to perform personal assistance services.
- If hiring PAS, and it is deemed reasonable, the agency may give an employee’s PAS preference primary consideration to the extent permitted by law, provided PAS qualifications are met; and
- An employee who already uses a PAS provider in their personal non-work environment may request permission to bring his or her own PAS provider to work as a reasonable accommodation, if the employee does not request that the agency assume the cost of providing the services.
For more information on PAS or to make a request for reasonable accommodation, contact the Agency’s RA program office at EEOSC.Accommodations@hhs.gov, or at (202) 619-1564.