What is the definition of disability?

The Disability Discrimination Act says a disabled person is someone with a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Examples include cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and heart conditions; hearing or sight impairments, or a significant mobility difficulty; and mental health conditions or learning difficulties. People in these circumstances and some others (such as people with a facial disfigurement) are likely to have rights under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to protect them from discrimination. However, only the courts can say if a particular individual is defined as disabled under the legislation.

This section contains information about your rights in education, employment, access to services and what the law says.

Download Guidance on matters to be taken into account in determining questions relating to the definition of disability (pdf)

Last Updated: 25 Sep 2014