In fair housing law, you are protected as a person with a disability if one of these 3 statements is true about you:
- You have a physical or mental impairment which substantially interferes with at least one major life activity (see below)
- You have a record of physical or mental impairment
- You are seen by others as having a physical or mental impairment
“Major life activity” may include:
- Performing manual tasks
- Caring for yourself
Major life activities also include things like normal cell growth, how well an organ works, or how well the digestive, neurological, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions work.
The definition of disability is very broad. There are all kinds of disabilities, and many people have them. A few examples of disabilities are:
- A heart or breathing condition
- Depression or anxiety
- A problem with your legs that prevents you from walking easily or climbing stairs
- Mental illness
- Problems seeing or hearing
- A learning disability that prevents you from reading or keeping track of your finances on your own
- HIV infection
- Alcoholism or drug addiction, if you're in treatment
- Traumatic brain injury
Current use of illegal drugs, being a sex offender, or being a juvenile offender is not a qualifying disability under fair housing law. But people in these categories may have a different disability (or other protected status) that entitles them to protection under fair housing law.
Not all disabilities stay the same. Some get better or worse over time. Many people have more than one disability.
If you receive Social Security Disability benefits, you have a disability under fair housing laws. Even if you don’t receive disability benefits, you may still have a disability.