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Social Security Disability & Obesity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity.” The CDC continues, “Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.”

The Mayo Clinic defines obesity as “a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat.” The Mayo Clinic says that obesity is not a cosmetic concern. “It increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.” If you are extremely obese, this means that you are very likely to experience health problems as a direct result of the condition.

A person is considered obese when they have a body mass index (BMI) that is 30 or higher. Someone who is morbidly obese has a BMI of 40 or higher. In order for an obese individual to quality for disability benefits, their obesity must have caused one of the following:

  • Damage through cardiovascular disease,
  • Damage through diabetes, or
  • Very limited mobility and extreme difficulty functioning (e.g. walking, moving around, and caring for themselves).

Is Morbid Obesity on the Listing of Impairments?

The Social Security Administration has what is called the Listing of Impairments, which “describes, for each major body system, impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity.” At one time, obesity was on the Listing of Impairments, but in 1999, the SSA had it removed because the organization felt that many obese individuals could still hold down jobs and lead productive lives.

Today, it’s still possible to be awarded disability benefits because of obesity, providing the applicant’s limitations are equivalent to an impairment listing, or the obesity contributes to another impairment on the Listing of Impairments.

If you are obese and the condition has made it impossible for you to engage in gainful work, you should contact our firm at once to see if you qualify. To learn more about applying for disability, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today.