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Definition of Handicap

Handicap, handicapped is a disadvantage that an individual has that prevents or limits the fulfillment of a role in life that is normal. Handicapped refers to a person who has a handicap. Impairment, disability and handicap are many times used interchangeably. However, they have different meanings. Impairment is a problem in the function of a body part. Impairment is any functional or anatomic loss or abnormality that can be temporary or permanent. Disability is a consequence of an impairment that may be physical, mental, cognitive, emotional, developmental, sensory or some combination of these impairments. Disability is any lack or restriction (caused by an impairment) of ability to perform an activity within the range or in the manner that is regarded as being normal for a person. To put it simply, impairment has to do with an organ or structure of your body. Disability is a functional limitation in regard to a particular activity, and handicap is a disadvantage in filling a role in life that is relative to a peer group.

In relation to workers' compensation, federal and state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against workers with a handicap, or a handicapped worker. Many statutes require that an employer has to make what is referred to as "reasonable accommodationsfor a handicapped worker who is protected under these statutes and is "otherwise qualified,which means that the worker with a handicap is able to do what is known as the essential functions of the job. The idea is that if these reasonable accommodations are made, a handicapped worker will be able to do the job as well as a person without a handicap.

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