D3 – Bingo: Accusations of faking your disability or intrusive demands for information

Accuses you of faking your disability

Sometimes service providers will try and accuse you of faking your disability when you ask for access or complain about poor access after an incident. It is not usually reasonable for a service provider to try and determine the genuineness of your impairments.

Our general advice is to gather evidence of any in-person or written accusations that you are faking your impairments. These may form the basis for aggravating factors, or a harassment complaint.

In any response, whether in-person or in writing, remind the service provider that the issue is their discrimination and not the legitimacy or otherwise of your impairment. Remind them what outcome they need to provide and don’t get too embroiled in their allegations.

Assistance dogs

We have a whole section on our regulations page about assistance dogs (where fakery accusations are common) with links to a guide for businesses and a complaints toolkit.

Intrusive demands for information

During requests for access

Along with allegations of faking disability, it is quite common for Service Providers’ staff to ask intrusive personal questions about people’s impairments during incidents. While this may often be well-meaning, it is still inappropriate and unprofessional.

We think it is reasonable for disabled people to tell staff, firmly but politely, that intrusive questions are inappropriate, and ask them to stop. Try and steer the conversation to what they need to do to provide you with access to the service. As always, try to gather evidence in case anything turns nasty, or you wish to prove the content of conversations at a later date.

During post-event complaints

Sometimes when disabled people complain about poor access or discrimination, respondents can start to ask for intrusive proof of our disability to progress the complaint. This is unlikely to be reasonable, and is often used as a tactic to put disabled people off complaining.

We have more information in our proving disability page which covers more about when you do and do not have to “legally prove your disability” and how to go about getting Equality Act standard proof if needed.

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