What is disability?

There are many kinds of disabilities. The meaning of disability is not limited to what a doctor or Centrelink may say. Discrimination law gives a very broad definition of disability.

According to current Australian and Victorian legislation:

“Disability includes impairments of physical, sensory or mental functions which may affect undertaking activities or participating in community life. It may be caused by accident, trauma, genetics or disease. A disability may be temporary or permanent, total or partial, lifelong or acquired, visible or invisible.”

What counts as a disability?

Courts have found a range of impairments may be considered as disabilities.

For example, stress – the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demands placed on them – may be considered a disability under discrimination law if:

  • it has lasted for a significant period of time, and
  • it is having a debilitating effect on your ability to carry out usual tasks or daily activities.