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Does the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 cover adults with ADHD?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Some adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) qualify for benefits under the Rehabilitation Act (RA) of 1973. Those who qualify are entitled to receive certain protections from discrimination in education and employment settings. There are three areas where adults with ADHD are protected by the RA, according to the National Resource Center on ADHD. These are:

  • Regarding employment in the federal government's executive branch
  • Regarding employment as a federal government contractor, in most situations
  • When involved in activities that are funded by federal grants or subsidies (this also includes federally funded organizations and companies, such as higher educational institutions)

In addition, adults with ADHD must have documentation showing that they meet the following criteria to benefit from protection under the RA:

  • They must have a disability as defined by law.
  • They are qualified for employment positions, with or without reasonable accommodations.
  • They have been excluded from higher education or employment because of ADHD symptoms.
  • They are covered by the appropriate law.

According to the National Resource Center on ADHD, the RA prevents certain employers (usually those funded by the federal government) from discriminating against employees in these areas:

  • Hiring
  • Promoting
  • Awarding tenure
  • Firing
  • Demoting
  • Laying off
  • Determining compensation
  • Approving leave

To learn more about your benefits under the RA and whether you qualify, talk to a social worker or legal aid office.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.