American Sign Language (ASL) Protocols


Professional interpreters are offered free of charge to all clients, including those clients who select ASL to communicate and conduct Department business. 

To secure an ASL interpreter from the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), see Securing MCDHH Services for Deaf or Hard of Hearing clients.



If a TAO includes a bilingual case manager who knows ASL, an ASL client should also be given the option to use him/her as an interpreter.


Appointments will never be automatically scheduled for a client who has a Department-initiated accommodation for ASL Interpreter services.  Alternative accommodations for applicants/clients who communicate using ASL can be found at: Available Auxiliary Aids. The accommodation type/remedy is always the client’s choice.


ASL Protocols for Mail-in or Drop-off SNAP Applications

The SNAP Benefits Application includes an ADA section that requires applicants to indicate their preferred communication method to complete the application as a person with a disability.  Whenever an applicant has indicated their communication preference as ASL - In-Person, you must not cold call the client to complete the interview by phone.  Follow instructions at: SNAP Application Processing.


Using an ASL Interpreter

When using an ASL interpreter (as with all interpreters) you must remember to:

The Department is committed to ensuring that interpreters have been trained in interpreter services, ethics and confidentiality.  If there are any concerns about an interpreter, this concern must be directed to your manager.



For clients who regularly use an ASL interpreter, it may be necessary to extend deadlines since it can take a while to schedule an appointment with an ASL interpreter.  See Protocols for Working with Walk-in Clients who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.


Available Auxiliary Aids

Securing MCDHH Services for Deaf or Hard of Hearing clients

Protocols for Working with Walk-in Clients who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

ADA Policy and Procedures



  Last Update: October 15, 2020