Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder than can cause severe physical and mental symptoms. It’s the among the most common mental disorders, especially in teens and young adults, and has the highest death rate of any mental disorder.
Sometimes, these symptoms cause short-term and long-term effects that can impact your ability to work. If your constant struggle with anorexia is negatively interfering with your work, then you might want to consider applying for Social Security Disability.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two different benefit programs based on income levels and work ability, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplementary Security Income (SSI). SSI is awarded based on current income limits, but not previous work history. Counting only about half of your income, you can only get SSI if your individual income is $733 or less. SSDI is for those who have worked in a job that paid Social Security taxes for at least five of the last ten years, and the monthly payment is based on your income from that job.
Anorexia – Conditions and Symptoms
The human body needs nutrition and energy from food, so lack of those things can cause many health problems in teens and adults. Loss of muscle tone, strength, and bone mass, minerals, and density are very common, as well as damage to the brain, heart, and kidneys. Other side effects include abdominal pain, constipation, fatigue, dizziness, seizures, and lack of ability to focus.
Anorexia is a mental disorder; therefore, it is associated with a lot of psychological problems including depression, anxiety, obsession, moodiness, and substance abuse.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Anorexia
There a couple different ways to file for SSD with anorexia. In many cases, they SSA will consider both the mental and physical complications of the condition, because there is no listing in the SSA’s Blue Book for anorexia in adults. You will need to show that your health complications meet or equal a listing in their Blue Book, and/or their functional limitations make you unable to work.
The SSA may grant a medical-vocational allowance even if you don’t equal any listing, if they feel that based on your limitations, you can’t perform gainful employment at any job. The will consider your age, education, and skills in this decision. Your best chance of approval will be a mixture of all symptoms and limitations, because they are rarely enough for approval on their own.
Depending on the severity of the anorexia and the accompanying health problems, you could file under one or multiple conditions. If the anorexia hasn’t progressed that far, you could also file under an organic mental disorder if you can prove that it affects your daily living and working abilities. You may also be able to meet the listing for extreme weight loss, if your BMI is less than 17.50 for at least six months.
It is imperative that you include all medical evidence, such as tests results, lab reports, summaries of hospitalizations and treatments, and detailed statements describing symptoms and limitations from each doctor you are treated by. Statements from family, friends, coworkers, and managers are also beneficial.
Anorexia and Your Social Security Disability Case
The biggest mistake most applicants make is sending the application unprepared and without enough evidence. The SSD is a very complicated system with limited resources, and the SSA wants to make sure they are giving benefits to those who really need them. Because of this, about 70 percent of applicants are denied at the initial claim. If your claim has been denied, you can appeal your claim and have the SSA review their decision.
There are four additional stages in the appeal process, most of which involve going in front of a judge. Having legal representation will increase your likelihood and speed of approval at any stage, even the initial claim, but especially the hearing. Your experienced disability attorney can handle communications with the SSA, work with your doctors, get medical test results, and find important witnesses to prove to the SSA that you need help with you disability.