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Definition of Disability

Disability, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, is defined as being a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Disability is not the same as impairment. It is a consequence of an impairment that may be physical, mental, cognitive, emotional, developmental, sensory or some combination of these impairments. In regard to workers' compensation, disability represents how an impairment that is combined with a worker's vocational background, age, educational background and other factors affect an injured worker's ability to go back to work.

There are several types of disability, such as physical or mental. A worker may have more than one disability. The degree of disability may range anywhere from mild to moderate, severe or profound. The conditions that bring about disability are classified by the medical community as being acquired through injury or illness, congenital (present at birth), inherited or of unknown origin. If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work or from being considered for a position at work, contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 1-800-669-4000 or 1-800-669-6820 (TTY) or you can begin with the EEOC assessment system online.

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