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Living with a Disability: Learning the Laws

Each year, thousands of disabled Americans live without much of the aid they need and deserve because they are unfamiliar with the disability laws. If you are one of these individuals, do something to help your situation! These laws were designed to help improve the quality of your life as much as possible, and you have every right to take full advantage of the opportunities they provide.

Of course, taking advantage of the disability laws could prove very difficult if you are totally unaware of them. Fortunately, this short article will give you a quick overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Once you have read and understand this, however, do not stop looking for other sources of information about your rights and responsibilities as a disabled person. You might discover that your knowledge can help others, too!

Disability Laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Disability laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act go hand-in-hand. The ADA is one of, if not the, most extensive acts on the rights of disabled Americans today. While the ADA does not attempt to list all of the possible disabilities which is covers, it defines a disabled person as such: "An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment."

In short, the ADA states that an individual cannot be discriminated against because of their disabled status in seven crucial areas: employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, telecommunications, and the United States Congress. Additionally, it also provides penalties for many violations of these rules.

Even though the ADA was created to help disabled individuals, it is by no means perfect. For example, it prohibits employment discrimination only among those federal government contractors and subcontractors who have contracts of more than $10,000. It does not apply to such contractors with smaller contracts.

Fortunately, however, the ADA does make it easier for those who feel they have been discriminated against to take legal action. If you choose to do this, remember that disability law is a specialty, just like criminal law, and you should choose a lawyer who spends either most or all of his/her time in this area.

We wish you the best of luck as you continue your journey of exploring the rights and responsibilities afforded you by our nation's disability laws!

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