Should we claim disability on job applications?

This is sort of an opinion poll.

I’m currently trying to find work (in a new great depression and during a re-surging pandemic while my city currently has a heavily armed, vegan, internet rap singer warlord running the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (wtf?! - you can’t make this stuff up) - but that’s another topic altogether). One of the questions on a job application was ‘do you have a disability’? I stared at that question for way too long. I mean, yep, I do, definitely. Does the government know that or agree? Nope. If I say yes, I’m sort of lying. If I say no, I’m also lying. I think I could get fired either way. I have no real disability protection and who hires a knowledge worker that spends four plus months a year not remembering their native tongue and who can’t accomplish simple tasks? How would you guys answer that question? And if I get the job am I obligated to tell them about MAV? Is it a dumb idea to wait until it’s obvious - either by MAV making itself known in public or just the regular need for time off?

I’m not sure I’ll even get an interview, but this is a problem that’s not going away until I either get work or qualify for disability (which would require me to apply and then fight for 2-3 years). What do you all think?


It’s a “damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t” situation. My guess is that the question is probably being asked more for someone who needs some sort of physical accommodation (such as a wheelchair ramp). My suggestion is that you answer “no,” but then if you get an interview, you can always say, “I answered ‘no’ to your question about disability but I do have a condition that I’d like to tell you about,” or something to that effect.

You’ve asked a good question and I’m not sure there’s one answer for every situation.


I was going to reply with the exact same advice as @Manatee. I think MAV is one of those things that is best discussed face to face after you have successfully charmed the socks off of them.


Thanks ladies. Good advice. I’m not taking it. These are very specialized, nationally competitive, highly political, non-represented, at will jobs where you need 20 years experience to get an interview and then must be a near perfect personality fit. If I make it in the door, MAV won’t come up until I fail to hide it - preferably years from now. I can’t afford discrimination at this point.


That would be my course of action as well. Even if I could get disability I’m not sure I’d feel any better than working and getting fired every so often for falling short of my commitments. Not because we don’t deserve disability, I just think it would be harder to have MAV with so much time on your hands not working.


Well, the job decided I wasn’t worth interviewing (after being recruited to apply). Moral dilemma resolved.

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Sorry flutters, that’s a drag. It seems like your industry will remain in demand so hopefully other interesting prospects are around the corner.

Thank you.

My industry is going to die for many years - it’s a government consulting gig. Government is losing tax revenues hand over fist from lost retail sales tax, lost gas taxes, and lost property taxes when the foreclosure tsunami comes. Part of that is temporary but most will takes years or the decade to recover. Furloughs and contract cancellations have already started. It is perhaps time to reinvent myself again. The flip side of catastrophe is opportunity.

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@flutters I know you’ve mentioned you’ve had to take time off of work in the past… was that covered under some sort of disability insurance? Thanks for asking this question as I’ve wondered myself…

I see - I thought you were in urban planning and just assumed that would have longevity, I might be laboring under mismemory and assumptions.

The field is correct. The stability assumption isn’t. We’re usually the first out the door when the budget cuts start. The US doesn’t value urban planning. And it shows. :slightly_smiling_face:

Nope. As a sole proprietor I have no safety net whatsoever beyond my husband’s very limited employer provided health insurance. I saved up money and lived off it. Then they fired me. Well, offered an untenable circumstance I walked away from. I am an ethical person. They value other qualities. The oncoming economic depression is poorly timed given it’s taken me a long time to get to where I thought I was healthy enough to work again.

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Uff. I feel ya. I had just started work as an independent contractor when this all hit and had no disability insurance or savings. It’ll be 9-10 months lost income total assuming my plan to return to work in a couple months pans out. There was no “vestibular migraine” expense deduction when I filed my taxes, I checked :wink:


I’m bringing this topic back up as it’s again relevant to my life.

After months of wandering in the desert, I’ve been gainfully employed again for several months. Quickly - I’m a planning consultant. That means when Towns, Cities, Counties either have no in-house staff or more work that they can handle in-house, they contract out to me. I function more as the Town Administrator/Planner in three really tiny towns, am a contract municipal code writer for a medium sized city and am the expedited land use permit reviewer for a smaller city. I’m also the person the smaller city hired to teach the junior staff how to do their jobs. Smart but inexperienced folks who need my couple of decades of stepping on legal landmines to show them the ropes. I’ve been there a couple of years or so. I’ve also been a land use judge for a long time, working the bench for a variety of municipal clients.

I’ve been happy in my life lately. Enough money not to be afraid, clients that like me and understand my situation, plenty of free time to pursue my hobby of living in doctor’s offices, time to garden and preserve it in a million ways, swimming, time to let MAV run it’s summer squalls through and still get the work done. Work from my home office with my furry and finned companions and the rotating cast of young adults that live in my home, call me mom and work service industry job hours. Come and go as I please. Really, perfect. I knew it couldn’t last.

The smaller city lost its primary person. I’ve been happily filling in the gap and replenishing my bank account. The City decided to elevate the former position to a department director level and increase the pay but below market still. In the four intervening months, there have been zero applicants. I’ve been conspicuously absent from that discussion - just hiding on the sidelines sucking up all that nice paying contract work and hoping no one would ask me to apply while having a truly pleasant summer.

They forced my hand. Begged. Actually begged me to apply. I was sleeping off a migraine when they called (at 3 pm) and not smart enough to just say no. Well, shit. They caught me off guard. And I knew it was coming.

I walked into the interview on Tuesday with the City Administrator and the Mayor and started by saying I know you want to talk about my qualifications and the position, but let’s start with I’ve already had this position and can do it again and I’m the most qualified you were going to get anyway so let’s talk about why I never applied. I told them what they don’t know about me is almost as important as what they do. Then I told them about MAV and the four other autoimmune issues that dog my life. I explained I am essentially unemployable and that Cigna has processed 100+ medical claims, not counting pharmaceuticals, and there are a minimum of 20 more to go this calendar year. I asked for insane accommodations from a municipal entity. I want flex time, limited in office time, less hours, the ability to moonlight - all the things cities are designed against. I also talked about lighting and other minor physical accommodations.

They are insanely desperate. They’re going to send me an offer letter next week. That folks, is ironic. I started with should I tell them or let them work it out and then fire me and went to can’t beat them off even with the MAV stick.