Students with Transitory Impairments and Section 504

Section 504 , part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a Federal law designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities who attend schools receiving Federal financial assistance. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to (1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or (2) have a record of such an impairment, or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment (ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Section 3 (1)(A–C)).


A student is not regarded as an individual with disabilities if the impairment is transitory and minor (ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Section 3 (3)(B)).  A transitory impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected duration of six months or less.  A transitory impairment does not constitute a disability for purposes of Section 504 unless its severity is such that is results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities for an extended period of time.
The issue of whether a transitory impairment is substantial enough to be a disability must be resolved on a case-by-case basis with respect to each individual student, taking into consideration both the duration (and expected duration) of the impairment and the extent to which the impairment limits one or more major life activities of the affected student. 
Student Accessibility Services recognizes students with transitory impairments, that are a result of injuries, surgery or short-term medical conditions, may need access to services and resources similar to individuals with permanent disabilities.   Examples of transitory impairments may include, but are not limited to: broken limbs, hand injuries, or short term impairments following an accident, surgery or medical treatment.

Documentation Guidelines

To receive services and resources for a transitory impairment, the student will fill out the PDF icon Student Transitory Impairment Disclosure Form and include medical documentation that addresses the following criteria:

• Type of disabling condition
• Severity
• Functional limitations affecting academics
• Prognosis
• Estimated duration of the disabling condition


It is also helpful to know any adverse side effects caused by medication and recommendations for services. The documentation should be recent enough to identify current limitations.  Additional documentation may be requested to verify the need for continued services after the estimated duration of the condition has expired.

Potential Services and Resources for Transitory Impairments

Temporary services are approved on a case by case basis.

Students with a transitory impairment may want to meet with an Accessibility Specialist to discuss:

CatsRide Services
• Potential academic assistance (i.e. classroom and testing relief)
• Potential housing options
• Information on accessible routes and elevator access on campus

Student Accessibility Services does not provide personal assistance to students transitory impairments such as personal care attendants or the transport of books or other personal items. Wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility devices are considered personal devices and are not provided for loan by Student Accessibility Services.