Southwest ADA Center

Publications: Definition of Disability

Compliance Manual Section 902 Definition of Disability (EEOC) 67 pgs. 1995.  This document provides guidance and instructions determining whether an individual has a "disability" as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This determination often requires more extensive analysis than does the determination of whether a person is protected by other nondiscrimination statutes.  It is not often clear whether a person's physical or mental condition constitutes an impairment of sufficient degree to establish that the person has a disability. 

Instructions for Field Offices: Analyzing Americans with Disabilities Act Charges After Supreme Court Decisions Addressing "Disability" and "Qualified"  (EEOC) 19 pgs. 1999 These instructions were issued to the EEOC's field offices on July 26, 1999.  They summarize the Supreme Court's decisions in Bragdon v. Abbot, Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc., Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc., Cleveland v. Policy Management Systems Corp., and Albertsons, Inc. v. Kirkingburg and explain their impact on the processing of charges under the ADA. The instructions are not enforcement guidance or policy statements, they modify previous field instructions and emphasize the individualized analysis that must be used in determining whether an individual has a "disability" and whether they are "qualified." 

Enforcement Guidance on the Effect of Representations Made in Application for Benefits on the Determination of Whether a Person is a "Qualified Individual with a Disability" Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990  (EEOC) 40 pgs. 1997.  This guidance sets forth the EEOC'S position that people who seek or obtain disability benefits are not prohibited from pursuing their ADA rights.  The EEOC's position on this issue was reinforced by the Supreme Courts decision in Cleveland v. Policy Management Systems

What is a Learning Disability (DOJ) 1998
 This is a one page fact sheet detailing what constitutes a learning disability. 

ADA Amendments Act Publications (EEOC) 2011