Specific Measures of Disability

The most recent #U.S. Census refers to individuals with #disabilities using a variety of specific measures of #disability such as Seeing, hearing and speaking limitations, Upper and lower body limitations, ADL’s, IADL’s and Need for Assistance and Cognitive, Mental and Emotional Functioning. #Springboard has received numerous inquiries about how each of these measures is actually defined by the U.S. Census Bureau so I have decided to provide the definitions are as follows:

Seeing Limitations: Experiencing blindness or having difficulty seeing words and letters in ordinary newsprint even when wearing glasses or contacts.

Hearing Limitations: Experiencing deafness or having difficulty hearing a normal conversation even when wearing a hearing aid.

Speaking Limitations: Difficulty having their speech understood other in part or at all.

Lower Body Limitations: Difficulty walking, climbing stairs or using a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker.

Upper Body Limitations: Difficulty with physical tasks including lifting and grasping.

ADL’s – Activities of Daily Living: These include difficulty getting around the home such as getting around the home, getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, eating or toileting.

IADL’s – Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: These include difficulty going outside the home, managing money, preparing meals, doing housework, taking prescription medication and using the phone.

Cognitive, Mental and Emotional Functioning: When symptoms of psychological or emotional illness interferes with an individual’s ability to manage everyday activities.


This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.