Obesity and Social Security Disability
Obesity, a disease characterized by a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher, has become a massive issue across the United States. Excess body weight can make it nearly impossible for some sufferers to perform every day tasks like driving, bathing, or even walking. Obesity used to be on the Social Security Administration's (SSA) list of medical impairments, allowing sufferers to claim Social Security disability benefits if their obesity prevented them from holding down gainful employment. However, now that the listing has been removed, claimants can no longer point to obesity as their sole disability to receive benefits. There are still two ways in which obese claimants can become eligible for Social Security disability benefits. 1. The obese claimant is suffering from additional ailments, perhaps caused by their obesity. Obesity can cause severe conditions, ranging from heart disease to diabetes, most of which are on the SSA's list of medical impairments. You or your disability attorney can submit a claim using the subsequent listed condition instead of obesity to make your claim. Be sure to note in your claim the ways in which the condition, combined with your obesity, has affected your ability to work. 2. The claimant can apply for a medical vocational allowance. A medical vocational allowance is for claimants who can prove that their disability prevents them from working, despite its absence from the SSA's list of medical impairments. Your physician, or a Social Security physician, must provide the court with a statement of residual functional capacity (RFC). RFC statements specify exactly what activities your condition prevents you from performing. If you have applied for Social Security disability benefits for your obesity and been denied, you may want to speak with a disability attorney to determine the next course of action. An experienced attorney will know which route is best for your obesity claim, and they can help you through the appeals process.