Department of Justice Regulations Broaden Who is Covered Under the ADA

September 12, 2016



The U.S. Department of Justice is issuing a rule to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to expand who is covered under the Act. “In response to earlier Supreme Court decisions that significantly narrowed the application of the definition of “disability” under the ADA, Congress enacted the ADA Amendments Act, to restore the understanding that the definition of “disability” shall be broadly construed and applied without extensive analysis.” The primary purpose of the ADA Amendments Act is to make it easier for people with disabilities to obtain protection under the ADA.  


 In the final rule, which will take effect October, 11, 2016, the Department of Justice is clarifying Congress’s mandate that eliminating discrimination based on disability is the primary object of cases brought under the ADA. The final rule issued by the Department is necessary in order to incorporate the ADA Amendments Act’s changes into the Department’s ADA regulations and provide guidance on how to apply those changes.


With the final rule, the Department spells out that those persons with everything from orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, and cancer, heart disease, emotional illness, HIV, drug addition, alcoholism, dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities, ADHD, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis are to be protected under the ADA. 


The rule will take effect October 11, 2016. 


By Martha Millar

Martha Millar Law

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