Substantially limits -
(1) In general. The term “substantially limits” shall be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage, to the maximum extent permitted by law. Substantially limits is not meant to be a demanding standard and should not demand extensive analysis.
(i) An impairment is substantially limiting within the meaning of this section if it substantially limits the ability of an individual to perform a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population. An impairment need not prevent, or significantly or severely restrict, the individual from performing a major life activity in order to be considered “substantially limiting.” Nonetheless, not every impairment will constitute a disability within the meaning of this section.
(ii) The comparison of an individual's performance of a major life activity to the performance of the same major life activity by most people in the general population usually will not require scientific, medical, or statistical analysis. However, nothing in this section is intended to prohibit the presentation of scientific, medical, or statistical evidence to make such a comparison where appropriate.
(iii) In determining whether an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity, it may be useful in appropriate cases to consider, as compared to most people in the general population, the condition under which the individual performs the major life activity; the manner in which the individual performs the major life activity; and/or the duration of time it takes the individual to perform the major life activity, or for which the individual can perform the major life activity. This may include consideration of facts such as the difficulty, effort, or time required to perform a major life activity; pain experienced when performing a major life activity; the length of time a major life activity can be performed; and/or the way an impairment affects the operation of a major bodily function.
(2) Non-applicability to the “regarded as” prong. Whether an individual's impairment substantially limits a major life activity is not relevant to a determination of whether the individual is regarded as having a disability within the meaning of paragraph (g)(1)(iii) of this section.
(3) Ameliorative effects of mitigating measures. Except as provided in paragraph (z)(3)(i) of this section, the determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures as defined in paragraph (n) of this section.
(i) The ameliorative effects of the mitigating measures of ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses shall be considered when determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity. See paragraph (n)(2) of this section for a definition of “ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses.”
(ii) Non-ameliorative effects of mitigating measures. The non-ameliorative effects of mitigating measures, such as negative side effects of medication or burdens associated with following a particular treatment regimen, may be considered when determining whether an individual's impairment substantially limits a major life activity.
(4) In determining whether an individual is substantially limited the focus is on how a major life activity is substantially limited, and not on the outcomes an individual can achieve. For example, someone with a learning disability may achieve a high level of academic success, but may nevertheless be substantially limited in the major life activity of learning because of the additional time or effort he or she must spend to read, write, or learn compared to most people in the general population.
(5) Predictable assessments. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individualized assessment. However, the principles set forth in this section are intended to provide for generous coverage through a framework that is predictable, consistent, and workable for all individuals and contractors with rights and responsibilities under this part. Therefore, the individualized assessment of some types of impairments will, in virtually all cases, result in a determination of coverage under paragraph (g)(1)(i) or (ii) of this section. Given their inherent nature, these types of impairments will, as a factual matter, virtually always be found to impose a substantial limitation on a major life activity. With respect to these types of impairments, the necessary individualized assessment should be particularly simple and straightforward.
(i) Examples of predictable assessments. Applying the principles set forth in this section it should easily be concluded that the following types of impairments will, at a minimum, substantially limit the major life activities indicated: deafness substantially limits hearing; blindness substantially limits seeing; an intellectual disability (formerly termed mental retardation) substantially limits brain function; partially or completely missing limbs or mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair substantially limit musculoskeletal function; autism substantially limits brain function; cancer substantially limits normal cell growth; cerebral palsy substantially limits brain function; diabetes substantially limits endocrine function; epilepsy substantially limits neurological function; Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection substantially limits immune function; multiple sclerosis (MS) substantially limits neurological function; muscular dystrophy substantially limits neurological function; and major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia substantially limit brain function. The types of impairments described in this section may also substantially limit additional major life activities not explicitly listed above.