NL 01001.300 Procedure for Requests for Other Special Notice Accommodations for the Blind or Visually Impaired
Under the Rehabilitation Act and the Court’s order in the American Counsel of the Blind court case, title II and title XVI blind or visually impaired applicants, recipients, beneficiaries, and representative payees may request:
a notice format that the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not automatically provide, or
a special notice format for notices or other communications that SSA issues for purposes other than title II or title XVI of the Social Security Act.
We call this a request for an alternative accommodation. SSA must approve a request for an alternative accommodation, unless it determines that:
one or more of the automatically approved options is an effective means of communication with the person, or
the request, if granted, will result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of SSA’s programs, or
the request, if granted, will cause undue financial and administrative burdens to the agency.
Use the Intranet Special Notice Option (iSNO) application to record all requests for alternative accommodations. Record the request as an “additional accommodation.” While a request for an additional accommodation is pending, the person must select another way to receive his or her notices. This can include standard print by first-class mail, or one of the automatically approved special notice options.
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) considers requests for alternative accommodations under a Section 504 regulation, 45 CFR 85.51, and court-approved guidelines. OGC should send a decision letter to the person within 45 days. OGC will send approval letters in the person’s preferred format. OGC will send denial letters in large print (18 point font). If OGC denies a request, the letter will explain SSA’s reason(s) for the denial and the right to make a discrimination complaint. The complaint form (Form SSA-437BK) is available online at SSA-437-BK
OGC uses the iSNO application to document the status and disposition of “additional accommodation” requests. Public contact employees can view a summary or a detailed history of “additional accommodation” requests for any requestor in the iSNO application.