Disability Admin: The Invisible Costs of Being Disabled

49 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2021

Date Written: November 17, 2021


This Essay comes in five parts. After this Introduction, Part I begins by briefly sketching the concept of life admin and setting out the understanding of disability that informs the ADA. Part II demonstrates the special burdens that admin places on people with disabilities and uses this argument to refine the social model of disability and clarify its implications. This theoretical insight lays the groundwork for Part III to fill a gap in the analysis of “reasonable” accommodation under Title I. This Part shows that, although courts have set out a cost-benefit analysis as the framework for determining the “reasonableness” of an accommodation, they have neglected a significant input: the costs of disability admin. This Part also sketches several examples of the many other doctrinal consequences of recognizing disability admin: strengthening the analysis of “readily accessible” public services like transportation under Title II of the ADA,21 reframing the “vexatious litigant” who brings multiple lawsuits against public accommodations under Title III of the ADA, and broadening our understanding of “caring” under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The final Part concludes.

Suggested Citation

Emens, Elizabeth F., Disability Admin: The Invisible Costs of Being Disabled (November 17, 2021). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-699, 105 Minn. L. Rev. 2329 (2021), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3968622

Elizabeth F. Emens (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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