You are here

Obesity and Social Security Disability

Obesity is a growing concern in the United States, for both children and adults alike. It is estimated that more than 30 percent of the adult population currently suffers from Obesity. While the degree of Obesity varies from case to case, some of the individuals who suffer from the condition are unable to work because of it. Those who suffer from severe Obesity may not be able to leave the home or even get out of bed, let alone maintain the responsibilities of full-time employment. This can result in severe financial hardship and overwhelming emotional burdens. If you or someone you know is suffering from Obesity and is unable to work due to the condition, you may be interested in how Obesity is viewed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you are wondering whether or not Obesity can qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information can help.

Obesity - Condition and Symptoms

It is important to understand that there is a difference between being overweight and being obese. Obesity is defined by an individual's BMI (body mass index). A BMI over 30.0 is considered to be obese. Even if you are overweight, if your BMI is below 30.0 you do not fall under the definition of an obese individual.

There are three different categories of Obesity. Individuals with a BMI of 30.0 to 34.9 are considered to suffer from Class I Obesity. Individuals with a BMI of 35.0 to 39.9 are considered to have Class II Obesity. A BMI of 40.0 falls into the category of Class III Obesity. The health risks associated with Obesity increase with each level. Obesity can lead to sleep apnea, heart disease, cancer, liver disease and other serious medical complications.

There are a variety of factors that can lead to Obesity and the causes of the condition are widely misunderstood. Many people assume that individuals who suffer from Obesity do so because of their eating habits. They believe that these people could “solve” their problem by eating less and exercising more. While this may be true in some cases, it is not always the situation. Other factors can play a role in Obesity, such as illness and genetics.

There is no overall “cure” for Obesity. The condition must be treated on a case-by-case basis and the reason for the Obesity must be determined in order for the condition to be treated properly. For example, a woman with PCOS may be suffering Obesity due to a case of insulin resistance. In this situation the doctor could prescribe a medication that would address the insulin resistance and the Obesity may resolve itself. Depending on the cause of the Obesity, the condition may be treated with medication, diet and exercise or, in extreme circumstances, surgery.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Obesity

There is no longer a listing for Obesity in the SSA's “Blue Book” of impairments. This was not always the case. Up until 1999 Obesity was listed as a disabling condition in the SSA's guidelines. That listing was deleted in 1999, however, and it is currently more complicated for individuals to receive Social Security Disability benefits due to Obesity.

If you suffer from Obesity along with an associated condition that is listed in the Social Security Blue Book, you may have an easier time qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits. For example, if you suffer from a cardiovascular or respiratory condition that is listed under the Social Security guidelines as a result of your Obesity, it may be easier for you to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits than it is for someone who only suffers from Obesity and other non-listed conditions.

Even if you do not suffer from a listed disabling condition, it does not mean that you will not be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. You may just have a harder time being approved for disability benefits and will likely need to take your disability case before an administrative law judge.

Obesity and Your Social Security Disability Case

If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to Obesity and you do not have a resulting condition that is listed in the SSA's guidelines, you will likely be denied at the initial stage of the Social Security Disability application process. The fact of the matter is that nearly 70 percent of initial applications are not approved by the SSA. In order to receive disability benefits you will need to move forward and file an appeal and have your case heard before an administrative law judge.

If you want the best chance of receiving a favorable decision in your disability claim, you will want to hire a Social Security Disability attorney. A qualified attorney can increase your chances of successfully filing a claim for disability benefits.