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16 University of Memphis Law Review 229 (1986)


It can be difficult for an employer or a recipient of federal funds to determine exactly what types of disabilities are protected by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Relevant literature has not given a great deal of attention to this specific question. Recent cases, however, provide additional information that can assist in determining which disabilities are protected. The question of what is protected handicap differs from the question of whether a handicapped person is also “qualified.” This article focuses on the threshold question of determining whether a handicap actually exists, concentrating on the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The definition of protected handicaps found in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and in the corresponding regulations are also examined. Additionally, this article discusses court decisions addressing different types of disabilities in order to provide a clearer sense of what is being recognized as a protected handicap.