U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Civil Rights — disability discrimination
A bank’s request for information regarding disability benefits before making a loan is not discrimination.
“Disability benefits under private programs likewise can change. One kind of program that employers provide as a fringe benefit awards payments for two years if the person can no longer do his job, but after two years only if the person cannot perform any job in the economy. Benefits under a program such as this can end without any change in the recipient’s education or physical condition. The possibility of such changes makes it prudent for potential lenders to know what kind of disability an applicant has and how that disability is treated by the public or private payor. That’s why the Equal Credit Opportunity Act permits requests for information about all public-assistance benefits. A potential lender likewise wants to know what kind of job an applicant holds, for how long, and whether that job is likely to last — for that matter, whether the employer is likely to remain in business. Learning about the probable duration of disability benefits is no different in principle.”
13-3249 Wigginton v. Bank of America Corp.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Kapala, J., Easterbrook, J.