Defining 'Disability' Looking for those who do not meet the criteria.

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Rybee
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Hi Guys - I'm after any input possible at all.

I'm doing my LL.M Law dissertation on disability discrimination law. I'm looking at the definition of disability and whether the current definition is suitable or whether it excludes certain people with disabilities that they feel should not be excluded. As part of this I'm looking for anyone who thinks they have a disability but have been denied this 'status' (i hate saying that word but it's the only way i can think to word it) because they do not fulfill the specific requirements.

I've really been racking my brains and thinking of all kinds of mental and physical disabilities that the Act does not cover but everything I have thought of so far seems to be covered.

The Equality Act 2010 states that you are disabled if:

1) You have a physical or mental impairment
2) Your impairment is long term (i.e. has lasted or is expected to last 12 months)
3) Your impairment is substantial (i.e. not minor or trivial)
4) Your impairment has an adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day acts


So in a nutshell, do you think you have a disability but you are not granted this status because The Equality Act does not recognise it as a disability?

This work is quite close to home for me, I have quite severe clinical depression and anxiety so am myself recognised as 'disabled'. I'm very passionate about disability discrimination and really want to hear from people who have been denied access to services or things like reasonable adjustments at work etc... because their disability has been challenged NOT to be a recognised disability.

As said, I've been running through various physical impairments, mental health issues, diseases etc.. and I just can't seem to 'invent' a person with a particular disability that would NOT be covered by the Act in some way or another.

Also I'm looking to consult organisations on this issue. I think I will speak to local councils regarding things like people being refused disability benefits, because they do not fulfill the requirements. If you can think of any other organisations that deal with disabled persons that I could consult - that would really help too.

So after my research I would ultimately propose a new Act of Parliament that has been re-written to include those with disabilities that really should be entitled to recognised as having a disability.

Eek! I hope this all makes sense!?

Any input or suggestions at all would be helpful. Oddly enough, the government seems to have done a good job at including a whole range of disabilities that I just can't think of one that doesn't fulfill the criteria, that really should do.


Rybee xxx
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Tiger Rag
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Some of us have found that because we've just been diagnosed (even though it is a life long disability) that companies are refusing to make reasonable adjustments.

Regarding the definition:
There are exceptions. If you're diagnosed with cancer or registered as partially sighted or blind, you're classed as disabled from day one.
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SamJHill
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I don't know if this will be any help to you, but I'm happy to explain my story;

I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome a couple of months ago, which is quite rare for a 17 year old as usually it's diagnosed in childhood. After the diagnosis, my school (I'm not sure this is the kind of authority you're looking for to determine a disability) didn't offer any help or support. For example,
  • I've heard that I should have been entitled to extra time in exams but this wasn't given as I'd 'coped well enough' before the diagnosis.
  • I had to tell each of my teachers personally about the diagnosis, there wasn't any sort of 'head of sixth form telling my teachers' for me.
  • some reactions I had were 'you haven't got that, you've been fine coping without the diagnosis'


As far as the government recognising it as a disability, I had some trouble claiming DLA, the first application being denied as 'I'm not likely to harm myself or anyone else, or be in a hazardous situation, I don't need help with day to day tasks such as feeding, taking medication, going to appointments'. All of these reasons were contradictory to the evidence sent so we appealed and finally got an acknowledgement of a successful application. This implies that as far as the government is concerned, my 'disability' is only relevant in certain situations which I don't feel is the case. It's constantly with me, most things I try to do are overshadowed by the fact I don't cope well in social situations, need 'care' nearly all of the time and don't interact well either on my own or socially.

Again, not sure if this is the type of thing you were looking for but thought I'd write my bit.
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Rybee
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(Original post by OU Student)
Some of us have found that because we've just been diagnosed (even though it is a life long disability) that companies are refusing to make reasonable adjustments.

Regarding the definition:
There are exceptions. If you're diagnosed with cancer or registered as partially sighted or blind, you're classed as disabled from day one.
For sure, other irrefutable exceptions are HIV/Aids, Multiple Sclerosis, Facial Scarring, Birthmarks and even major visual skin disorders such as psoriasis.

You didn't state what the diagnosis was, if you mind me asking?

(Original post by SamJHill)
I don't know if this will be any help to you, but I'm happy to explain my story;

I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome a couple of months ago, which is quite rare for a 17 year old as usually it's diagnosed in childhood. After the diagnosis, my school (I'm not sure this is the kind of authority you're looking for to determine a disability) didn't offer any help or support. For example,
  • I've heard that I should have been entitled to extra time in exams but this wasn't given as I'd 'coped well enough' before the diagnosis.
  • I had to tell each of my teachers personally about the diagnosis, there wasn't any sort of 'head of sixth form telling my teachers' for me.
  • some reactions I had were 'you haven't got that, you've been fine coping without the diagnosis'


As far as the government recognising it as a disability, I had some trouble claiming DLA, the first application being denied as 'I'm not likely to harm myself or anyone else, or be in a hazardous situation, I don't need help with day to day tasks such as feeding, taking medication, going to appointments'. All of these reasons were contradictory to the evidence sent so we appealed and finally got an acknowledgement of a successful application. This implies that as far as the government is concerned, my 'disability' is only relevant in certain situations which I don't feel is the case. It's constantly with me, most things I try to do are overshadowed by the fact I don't cope well in social situations, need 'care' nearly all of the time and don't interact well either on my own or socially.

Again, not sure if this is the type of thing you were looking for but thought I'd write my bit.
Thanks for the input, yes that is helpful. I was going to say that the most common 'part' of the assessment was for X to say that although you may have a perceived disability that it doesn't affect your day to day tasks. As I just mentioned above, there have been successful appeals in court and it was held that large scarring, birthmarks or sever skin disorders that are visible on your face automatically give you the protection of being disabled so as to limit you being discriminated against. Obviously a facial birthmark doesn't fulfill the requirements but it's very possible to be turned down a job because of it, so that's the rationale for providing persons with protection.

I'm going to have a look into aspergers... that's an interesting one because I guess it varies by how severe you have it? Akin to depression I guess it would depend how much it really affects you so you wont automatically qualify as disabled. Unlike only having one leg which is a bit more obvious.

I'll also read up on the DLA process and their forms to see how their criteria compares and how they judge it because I guess that's where a lot of people will be trying to prove themselves as disabled. Thanks for the suggestion!

May I ask if you feel that you do come under the definition of disabled? And as such if you were to apply to a job would you be happy to tell your employer that you are disabled? Similarly, would you tick a box that states 'disabled' on it, if it were part of an application/form?
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by Rybee)
For sure, other irrefutable exceptions are HIV/Aids, Multiple Sclerosis, Facial Scarring, Birthmarks and even major visual skin disorders such as psoriasis.

You didn't state what the diagnosis was, if you mind me asking?
Why would some skin disorders come under the exception? Not all skin disorders are disabling either. (I've had a few) Many also wouldn't last long enough to cover the definition.

My diagnosis was Autism. It was argued that it can't be that serious because I've just been diagnosed. Females are a lot harder to diagnose than males.


I'm going to have a look into aspergers... that's an interesting one because I guess it varies by how severe you have it? Akin to depression I guess it would depend how much it really affects you so you wont automatically qualify as disabled. Unlike only having one leg which is a bit more obvious.
It's not just about the severity. There are some people with mild forms of it; but depending on their exact traits, it can be disabling. For example, many people will have some of sensory issue.

I'll also read up on the DLA process and their forms to see how their criteria compares and how they judge it because I guess that's where a lot of people will be trying to prove themselves as disabled. Thanks for the suggestion!
DLA and the definition of disability are 2 different things. My dad, for example, is classed as disabled (he has epilepsy controlled by medication) but he wouldn't meet the criteria for DLA because it's controlled fully with no side effects by medication. And some people are expected to be able to self care.

DLA is based on care and /or mobility needs. Nothing to do with the definition of disability.
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SamJHill
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(Original post by Rybee)
For sure, other irrefutable exceptions are HIV/Aids, Multiple Sclerosis, Facial Scarring, Birthmarks and even major visual skin disorders such as psoriasis.

You didn't state what the diagnosis was, if you mind me asking?


Thanks for the input, yes that is helpful. I was going to say that the most common 'part' of the assessment was for X to say that although you may have a perceived disability that it doesn't affect your day to day tasks. As I just mentioned above, there have been successful appeals in court and it was held that large scarring, birthmarks or sever skin disorders that are visible on your face automatically give you the protection of being disabled so as to limit you being discriminated against. Obviously a facial birthmark doesn't fulfill the requirements but it's very possible to be turned down a job because of it, so that's the rationale for providing persons with protection.

I'm going to have a look into aspergers... that's an interesting one because I guess it varies by how severe you have it? Akin to depression I guess it would depend how much it really affects you so you wont automatically qualify as disabled. Unlike only having one leg which is a bit more obvious.

I'll also read up on the DLA process and their forms to see how their criteria compares and how they judge it because I guess that's where a lot of people will be trying to prove themselves as disabled. Thanks for the suggestion!

May I ask if you feel that you do come under the definition of disabled? And as such if you were to apply to a job would you be happy to tell your employer that you are disabled? Similarly, would you tick a box that states 'disabled' on it, if it were part of an application/form?
That's a tricky one because I'm not sure what my interpretation of 'disabled' is. If I had been diagnosed at a younger age, I'm sure in general it would have been classed more of a disability than it does now as I've 'coped' without any help e.t.c. As things are going I'm learning that by telling university, employers about it, and classing myself as 'disabled', then I will receive the help I need, hence I would be willing to tick the 'disability' boxes. I would feel like, for a job application say, they could consider my suitability truthfully, whereas otherwise there may be unforeseen problems that they weren't aware existed as I hadn't informed them of the asperger's.
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Rybee
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(Original post by OU Student)
Why would some skin disorders come under the exception? Not all skin disorders are disabling either. (I've had a few) Many also wouldn't last long enough to cover the definition.

My diagnosis was Autism. It was argued that it can't be that serious because I've just been diagnosed. Females are a lot harder to diagnose than males.




It's not just about the severity. There are some people with mild forms of it; but depending on their exact traits, it can be disabling. For example, many people will have some of sensory issue.



DLA and the definition of disability are 2 different things. My dad, for example, is classed as disabled (he has epilepsy controlled by medication) but he wouldn't meet the criteria for DLA because it's controlled fully with no side effects by medication. And some people are expected to be able to self care.

DLA is based on care and /or mobility needs. Nothing to do with the definition of disability.
Severe, visible skin disorders come under 'Severe Disfigurement' under Equality Act (2010) SCHEDULE 1. Disability: Supplementary Provision Part 1 Determination of Disability Section 3(1).
An impairment which consists of a severe disfigurement is to be treated as having a substantial adverse effect on the ability of the person concerned to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

As aforementioned, this supplementary provision permits those with facial scars, birthmarks or deformities to be automatically qualified as disabled, accordingly it would permit a person to file a claim of disability discrimination, if they feel that they have been discriminated for having such disfigurement.

I think it's an interesting point raised regarding the DLA though. If someone has epilepsy controlled by medication it's very likely that they are to be regarded as disabled and as such would be entitled to make adjustments at work and also raise a claim for disability discrimination, but would not be able to make a claim for DLA. The fact that the Equality Act recognises medication controlled disability is a little bit controversial in my opinion, so I'd be interested to see why the DLA do not subscribe to such view.
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PinkNurse
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I took population health this semester and disability can be accounted for as a weighted mark 0.1 meaning low 1 meaning high. Disability is the severity of the individual's dis-ease, if you have had a stroke and you are not able to do anything by yourself then the severity would be weighted as, maybe, a 1 this is because you cannot live your life to the fullest due to lack of normal ability. So if this disability lasted for 5 years and your weight was one, then the years accounted for your disability would be 5years x 1 ..... I dunno if this may be any use to you but it may contribute to a thought??


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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by Rybee)

I think it's an interesting point raised regarding the DLA though. If someone has epilepsy controlled by medication it's very likely that they are to be regarded as disabled and as such would be entitled to make adjustments at work and also raise a claim for disability discrimination, but would not be able to make a claim for DLA. The fact that the Equality Act recognises medication controlled disability is a little bit controversial in my opinion, so I'd be interested to see why the DLA do not subscribe to such view.
DLA is completely different though. It's a benefit paid to you if you have any care and /or mobility needs. Not everyone classed as disabled has these needs. I can think of quite a few people who meet the criteria for disability but not the criteria for DLA.

Depending on your disabilities, you would be expected to do self-care. For example, someone who is diabetic would be classed as disabled under the Equalities Act. But they would be expected to be able to administer their medication themselves unless they're blind or have a learning / mental disability, etc.
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rainbow_artist
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I would say I have a disability - I am unable to walk at all without the use of 2 crutches and am in constant pain. I have never tried to claim any benefits as although it is disabling and massively affects my life I try to get on with most things myself and have a supportive family and very helpful friends. I got turned down for a disabled parking badge because I can walk more than 50m which is true but it is painful and a struggle and that is only with the use of two crutches. Seems crazy as my granny got one no problem for being partially sighted - she can walk fine and as far as anyone.


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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by rainbow_artist)
Seems crazy as my granny got one no problem for being partially sighted - she can walk fine and as far as anyone.
A blue badge isn't just about being able to walk fine. In your gran's case, her mobility is affected - she may not see that well and may risk walking into the road into oncoming traffic.
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balotelli12
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OP you ay wish to also consider exemptions from the discrimination legislation. I still find it unbelievable for instance that exam boards are excluded, so they have no obligation to give consideration to how a disability affects a student in an exam.
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Rybee
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(Original post by balotelli12)
OP you ay wish to also consider exemptions from the discrimination legislation. I still find it unbelievable for instance that exam boards are excluded, so they have no obligation to give consideration to how a disability affects a student in an exam.
Mmm that one's a touchy topic indeed. The whole purpose of disability discrimination is to end unfavourable treatment to a disabled person, not to encourage favourable treatment to a disabled person. Although disability discrimination is one of the only protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 to actually permit favourable treatment.

That's where you end up looking into positive discrimination and the pro's/con's of the philosophy of that.
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rainbow_artist
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(Original post by OU Student)
A blue badge isn't just about being able to walk fine. In your gran's case, her mobility is affected - she may not see that well and may risk walking into the road into oncoming traffic.
I do totally agree but she could obviously never drive anywhere and so will never be in a car on her own meaning she has the driver to help her know if she can cross etc although she is able to cross roads independently. I can see how she qualifies for one and am not saying she shouldn't and would never say anyone who has one shouldn't have one it just seems confusing that I do not qualify. I think that if my illness was a very well recognised and well known disability that affected my mobility in the same way I may have qualified. I might be wrong though as obviously I don't know what the criteria is and how they decide.


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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by rainbow_artist)
I do totally agree but she could obviously never drive anywhere and so will never be in a car on her own meaning she has the driver to help her know if she can cross etc although she is able to cross roads independently.
It's nothing to do with driving.
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SamJHill
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(Original post by OU Student)
It's nothing to do with driving.
No need to debate on here, that's not what the OP wanted. Take it to pm.

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balotelli12
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(Original post by Rybee)
Mmm that one's a touchy topic indeed. The whole purpose of disability discrimination is to end unfavourable treatment to a disabled person, not to encourage favourable treatment to a disabled person. Although disability discrimination is one of the only protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 to actually permit favourable treatment.

That's where you end up looking into positive discrimination and the pro's/con's of the philosophy of that.
You need to do a bit more research if you think being opposed to allowing exam boards to be excluded from disability discrimination laws means supporting favourable treatment. It doesn't. It means expecting an end to unfavourable treatment. So, for instance, drama examiners at A level should make allowances for physically disabled candidates and not mark them down if they can't differentiate physical characterisation due to their disability as they currently do.
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Petetyerman
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Exam boards are not excluded from equality act. The main problem with equality act is the misunderstanding of what it means. If you are disabled the university , school , employer hasto make adjusts to put you in as near as possible to the position you would be without you disability. There fore it does not effect your education or job they don't need to do anything but that is rarely the real position. However many organisation think they can ignore it if you are "copying" however that is not the position. I think the definition of disability is actually not the problem. The problem is employers,universities etc denying the disability and the employee or student not being in the position challenge their erroneous decision on it. It is almost as the default position is to deny disability even if it is obvious.
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Pachuco
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(Original post by Petetyerman)
Exam boards are not excluded from equality act. The main problem with equality act is the misunderstanding of what it means. If you are disabled the university , school , employer hasto make adjusts to put you in as near as possible to the position you would be without you disability. There fore it does not effect your education or job they don't need to do anything but that is rarely the real position. However many organisation think they can ignore it if you are "copying" however that is not the position. I think the definition of disability is actually not the problem. The problem is employers,universities etc denying the disability and the employee or student not being in the position challenge their erroneous decision on it. It is almost as the default position is to deny disability even if it is obvious.
This thread hasn't been posted in for five years.

(Original post by Rybee)
For sure, other irrefutable exceptions are HIV/Aids, Multiple Sclerosis, Facial Scarring, Birthmarks and even major visual skin disorders such as psoriasis.
Would facial scarring include disfigurement? I'm going to tag Tiger Rag too. Sorry, I know its been necrobumped
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