Disability is defined in different ways for different purposes. In employment, the definition that is important is that within the Equality Act 2010 which is: A person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse affect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Long-term means that the condition must last, or be likely to last, for more than 12 months, or that it is terminal.
Individuals with cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV/AIDS are covered from the date of diagnosis regardless of the impact that the illness is having on their life at the time of diagnosis.
To be covered under the Act, a mental illness does not have to be clinically well recognised. The emphasis is on the impact of the symptoms rather than the label that has been attached to them.
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