National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Push the House to Strengthen the ADA!

June 24, 2008

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote as early as tomorrow on legislation to expand existing protections under the landmark 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  The bill is designed to reverse a number of Supreme Court decisions that over the years that have narrowed the scope of ADA protections in the workplace.  For example, in one decision, the Court held that people who take medications or participate in other therapies that “mitigate” or control the symptoms of their particular condition are not covered by the ADA.     

Act Now!

Call or email your House member today! Tell them you support passage of the ADA Amendments Act (HR 3195). All House offices can be reached by calling 202-224-3121.   Remind your House member of the critical improvements in this legislation for people living with serious mental illness, including:     

  • Broadened coverage under the ADA. The bill clarifies that Congress intended the ADA to be interpreted broadly rather than narrowly, as the Supreme Court has held.
  • A revised standard to qualify for protection broader than that applied by the courts.  The ADA protects individuals who have an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, who have a record of such impairment, or who are treated as having such an impairment. This bill provides a new, broader definition of “substantially limits” to make clear Congress’ intent to reject the narrower standard that has been applied by the courts.
  • New standards for “mitigating measures” (measures a person takes to control the effects of a disability) cannot be held against people with disabilities. Many people with mental illnesses have been denied protection under the ADA because they use medication, therapy or other measures to control the effects of their disabilities. This bill would overturn several Supreme Court decisions and provide that people with disabilities will not lose their coverage under the ADA simply because their condition is treatable with medication or can be addressed with the help of assistive technology.
  • Improved coverage for episodic impairments.  Many people with mental illnesses have been denied protection under the ADA because their impairments are episodic.  This bill would ensure that an episodic impairment counts as a disability as long as it would meet the test for a disability when it is active.
  • Broader coverage for people who are subjected to discrimination because they are regarded by others as having a disability.  The bill makes it much easier for individuals to obtain protection under the ADA by showing that they were “regarded as” having a disability.  

Click here to send an e-mail to your House member.

Learn More

View additional information on the ADA Amendments Act.