The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Duration of Impairment

Reference Number: MTAS-1058
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: February 11, 2016

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The regulations no longer include a six-month durational requirement in order to establish a disability. It is often difficult to determine the duration of a medical condition or impairment. The EEOC says that if a condition is severe with an indefinite and unknown duration, it may qualify as a disability.

How long an impairment lasts is a factor to be considered, but does not by itself determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA. The basic question is whether an impairment “substantially limits” one or more major life activities. This question is answered by looking at the extent, duration, and impact of the impairment. Temporary, non-chronic impairments that do not last for a long time and have little or no long-term impact usually are not disabilities.

According to the EEOC, some conditions may be long-term, or potentially long-term, in that their duration is indefinite and unknowable or is expected to be at least several months. Such conditions, if severe, may constitute disabilities under ADA.

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