Disabled access and facilities in business premises

When a person is considered disabled

In general, a person is considered disabled for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial, long-term and adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Defining disability

Impairments include:

  • physical, eg mobility impairments
  • mental, eg learning disabilities and some mental illnesses if severe and long term
  • sensory, eg hearing impairments or visual impairments

Substantial means more than minor or trivial.

Long term means the impairment has lasted, or is likely to last:

  • for at least 12 months
  • for the rest of the life of that person

Normal day-to-day activities means activities that are carried out by most people on a regular and frequent basis.

What is deemed a disability?

Conditions that are not considered to be an impairment for the purposes of the DDA include:

  • addiction to alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs - unless they result from drugs that have been prescribed by a doctor
  • seasonal allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • a tendency to start fires
  • a tendency to steal
  • a tendency to physically or sexually abuse other people
  • exhibitionism
  • voyeurism