Depression, Obesity, Drug Addiction Not a Disability, Survey Says

Most Americans agree that blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis are among conditions that should be considered a disability, according to a recent survey, while issues such as depression, obesity and drug addiction are less likely to be regarded as such.

With debate taking place over Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits for disabled children and children with mental health issues, among other benefits for the disabled, the issue of what constitutes a disability has become a regular topic on the floor of both houses of Congress.

The recent Harris Poll, which asked more than 2,200 Americans where they stand on key disability issues, also found that while the majority of Democrats believe speech/language disorders, learning disabilities and cancer should be considered a disability, less than half of Republicans agree.

The poll asked participants their age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, household income, political affiliation and if they have a disability or live in a household with someone who has a disability.

Of the people who identified as Republicans, 47 percent said speech disorders should be considered a disability, 46 percent said learning disabilities should be considered a disability and 45 percent believed cancer should be regarded as a disability. Among Democrats, 57 percent said speech disorders should be considered a disability, 54 percent said learning disabilities should be considered a disability and 52 percent believed cancer should be regarded as a disability.

Some issues are consensus: Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed think companies should not discriminate against an employee, and 88 percent believe customers should not be discriminated based on disability.

Moreover, 75 percent of Americans think employers with more than 15 employees should be expected to make reasonable accommodations. The conditions that most people think should be considered a disability are: vision loss, blindness, or other permanent vision impairments (88 percent); cerebral palsy (83 percent), hearing loss, deafness, or other permanent hearing impairments (79 percent); multiple sclerosis (78 percent); autism (68 percent) and epilepsy (68 percent).

The issues that pulled the least amount of support are depression (29 percent), migraine headaches (22 percent), morbid obesity (17 percent), anorexia/bulimia (16 percent), drug addiction (10 percent), alcoholism (9 percent) and compulsive gambling (5 percent).

The biggest generational gap lies in the realm of employment, with 82 percent of “Matures” answering that job candidates should have to disclose any disabilities during the interview process, and 55 percent of “Millennials” answering yes to the same question.

As for how disability issues impact the first Tuesday in November, 47 percent say they would vote for a candidate that shares their stance on disability rights.

People with disabilities or who share a household with someone with a disability are even more likely to allow a candidate’s policy on disability to sway their decision. About 56 percent of people with a disability polled said they would vote for a congressional or senate candidate based on their stance on the issue, while 59 percent of people who share a household said they would. And 55 percent of people with a disability (and 56 percent for people who share a household with someone who’s disabled) polled said it would affect their presidential vote.

The timing is impeccable; the nation celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act just as the 2016 Presidential election cycle kicked off. If the chatter around disability rights lingers, each candidate from both parties may be forced to lay out to the American public how they would approach this issue.

Latest News

Flint, Michigan water plant

Ex-Michigan Governor Charged for Racist Lead Poisoning of Flint Water Supply; COVID-19 Vaccines Not Increasing in Availability; Democrats Plan to Repeal Trump Rules; and More

Former Michigan Governor formally charged for poisoning thousands of predominantly Black Flint citizens with water containing lead. In 2014, when the city of Flint was forced by the state to begin taking its water supply from the Flint river rather than using water from nearby Detroit as it had for…

NYPD under suit

NYPD Sued for Years of Racial Abuse and Use of Excessive Force; Trump Administration Approves Discrimination Against LGBTQ individuals; and More

NYPD sued by Attorney General for years of racial abuse and use of excessive force. In what’s been called a “landmark lawsuit,” The New York Times has reported that New York state Attorney General Letitia James is suing the city of New York, the mayor and the NYPD’s leaders, alleging…

NBCUniversal News Group Launches NBCU Academy, Offering Training to Universities and Community Colleges

NBCUniversal News Group launched NBCU Academy, a new, innovative, multiplatform journalism training and development program for four-year university and community college students through education, on-campus training and online programming. Originally published on The initiative includes a curated onsite curriculum for hands-on learning experience with world-class NBCU News Group journalists,…


Kaiser Permanente: Committing $8.15M for Racial Equity

Originally published on Grants to grassroots and nonprofit organizations will help address structural racism and practices that prevent communities of color from achieving good health and well-being. Kaiser Permanente (DiversityInc Hall of Fame), the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health system, has awarded $8.15 million to support dozens of nonprofit…

Toyota Research Institute and Stanford University’s Dynamic Design Lab Study How to Improve Automotive Safety

Originally published on Inspired by the Skills of Professional Drift Drivers, Research Seeks to Combine the Technology of Vehicle Automation with Artificial Intelligence Algorithms What if every driver who ran into trouble had the instinctive reflexes of a professional race car driver and the calculated foresight of a supercomputer…

Tribal elder

Loss of Tribal Elders Due to COVID-19 Decimating Indigenous Populations; Colorado Revamps Common-Law Marriage Requirements, Making Them More Friendly for LGBTQ Couples; and More

Loss of tribal elders due to COVID-19 decimating Indigenous populations. The Muscogee, Navajo, Blackfeet Nation, White Mountain Apache and Choctaw tribes are among the many communities of Indigenous people suffering irreparable losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Times reporter Jack Healy has reported. Already impacted by infection rates…