What is classified as a disability?

Disability Explained

You are classed as disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment which causes a long term adverse effect in carrying out normal day to day activities. Normal day to day activities are such things as being able to feed yourself, take care of your personal hygiene, being able to shop for yourself and walking.

Usually the period classed as long term is at least 12 months but there are no hard and fast rules regarding this. It is classed as a substantial adverse effect when your abilities are limited in more than just minor ways and your inability will go towards deciding if you are classed as disabled or not by law.

Disability : Day to day activities

The disability discrimination act covers eight different kinds of ability, if one or more of theses are affected by your disability then your ability to carry out everyday activities is said to be affected.

* Your ability to move around.

* The use of your hands often called dexterity.

* Your physical co-ordination.

* Having full control of your bodily functions.

* Having the ability to carry, move and lift everyday objects.

* Your hearing, eyesight and speech.

* Your concentration and your ability to understand.

* Your awareness of physical danger.

Special cases taken into consideration

In some people their impairment comes and goes, most of the time you are only classed by law as disabled if the adverse effects are more likely to return in the future. People being diagnosed as having cancer, HIV or multiple sclerosis are classed as disabled from the time they contract the disease whether or not it causes an adverse effect at the time.

Any condition you have that is likely to worsen over a period of time is covered by the disability act from the moment the illness or condition begins to have adverse effects on day to day activities. Examples of this are if you suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or muscular dystrophy.

You are also protected under this act if you use any kind of aid in day to day living such as an artificial limb or medication taken on a daily basis to control epilepsy.

The law does not cover for example people who wear glasses or contact lenses, those suffering from illnesses such as hay fever and other allergies and people who are affected by addiction to alcohol, nicotine or drugs that were not prescribed.


  1. My sister is a 43 yr old who was born with cerebal palsy. Because she has always wanted so badly to be seen as “normal” she has been too proud all these years to even look into any help she may qualify for to make her life easier. At this point, she is still able to walk (albeit with much pain),she has been so thank-ful to be able to have a job for the last 20 yrs in the farmington school disctrict as a special ed. assistant where she works with pre-K special needs children. She has an incredible gift of being able to connect with these kids and her work is literally her life as she’s never been married or even had a boyfriend. In the last 5 years she has been so verbally and emotionally abused by the people she works with (IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WHERE WE SEND OUR CHILDREN TO LEARN ABOUT LIFE!) and has been warned numerous times by both the teacher she worked with and the HR department AND THE UNION that she’d better not talk about it to anyone or she would just make things more difficult for herself. She refused to allow me to find some help for her because she was so afraid of retaliation from her employer – again, our public school system!!!-
    and on 11/24/09 she was given notice by the principle of Akin elementary school in farmington and BANNED FROM THE SCHOOL AND FROM TALKING TO ANYONE ABOUT THIS! When she asked what she had done, she was told that she couldn’t communicate well with the teacher she had that she had taken 6 yrs of abuse from. When she went to the principle about the abuse, she was quickly termed “A Problem”. When she asked why she couldn’t just bid for another job in the school (and she had requested many times over the years not to be assigned to this teacher for the following school year because of her emotional/psychologically abusive behavior), she was told that she made this teacher feel “uncomfortable” so my sister is no longer allowed to work in the building. She was told that her “only option was to take a temporary clerical position at the district service center”. We are desperately looking for some kind of advise – she is going to lose her house, her vehicle, and everything she had to live for in her work! I truly believe she has been treated so unfairly because of her vulnerable inability to deal with these peoples abuse. This has been a True case of Retaliation- they literally followed her around looking and taunting her to make a mistake so they could document on her. Could someone please offer us some advise?

  2. my 3 year old son has just been diagnosed as hyper mobile and also has dairy egg and soya allergy, he gets constant diarrhea if he eats any of the foods i mentioned and he cannot walk properly because his joints are really flexible he’s extremely behind on his growth and co-ordination and i cannot begin potty training until his bowels are normal he’s flat footed and walks with his feet pointing inwards I’ve recently become aware that we may be able to claim dla but i need to know if this is classed as a disability before i claim.

  3. I am 42 was born only able to use one eye, if my good eye is covered I can slightly see out of bad eye but as soon as uncovered I don’t use that eye my glasses are so bad my prescription is 8 plus in both eyes would this be classes as a disability?

  4. i am and 18 and i have suffered from what doctors believe to be de quervains tenosynovitis (tendonitis)in my left hand and i have been told so many things by different people whether i am classed as disabled.
    i currently have very little strength in the hand an i am in constant pain.
    can anyone give me any answers?

  5. I am a few years away from being 50 , I have sciatica , fibromyalgia , migraine ,and other problems , I feel ill all the time … I cannot walk far without taking pain killas first and then only for a short time .. would I be classed as disabled?

  6. I have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my spine which causes me considerable pain and affects my ability to lift and carry stuff and is causing problems with my job.
    How long before I get classed as disabled ?

  7. I am 69 years old still working until I had a tia then followed by a stroke which have left me with left side weak and just about hold a fork in my hand and a weak leg ,also have dizzy spells ,I am claiming attendance allowance at full rate and awarded a mobility badge
    can I get classed as disabled

  8. ive been told that my left arm got no veins and a harding blood clot that means i have limited capacity and my fingers have no feeling in so it is hard for me to pick things up does this class me disabled

  9. i have been told their is nothing they can do with my left arm my veins are permently gone they colasped through chemo there is a blood clot that has hardend so wont move so i have limited capacity and i no feeling in my fingers so i find it hard to pick things up does that class as a disability

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