Gary’s weight increased yearly to the point where he could no longer walk the construction site like he used to. Climbing on equipment was impossible, and he became short of breath just walking around to check on the employees he supervised. Eventually, he had to stop working in part due to the heart disease and asthma that developed. Gary needed to get his disability benefits started as soon as possible. However, he was unsure if obesity would qualify as a disability under Social Security Administration requirements.
According to a study conducted by the Social Security Administration (SSA):
Obesity is a complex disorder characterized by an excessive amount of body fat, and is generally the result of many factors including environment, family history and genetics, metabolism, and behavior. . .”
Medical professionals generally diagnose obesity based, in part, on a person’s body mass index. This indicator is calculated by dividing a person’s weight by the square of his or her height. Physicians may conduct other interviews to assess the level of obesity.
Related Medical Conditions
People diagnosed as obese have an increased possibility of developing the following impairments:
- Type II diabetes;
- Heart disease;
- Respiratory diseases like asthma or sleep apnea;
- Mental disorders, including depression; and
- Certain cancers.
Some of these conditions certainly may be considered disabling and qualify for benefits like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
The SSA List of Impairments
This list contains an extensive list of medical conditions that generally qualify for SSDI benefits. Obesity is no longer listed as an impairment. However, it does show up in some sections that cover the effect of obesity on other disorders. Generally, the SSA may consider the combination of a medical condition with obesity to be more disabling than if both conditions were considered separately.
Whether Obesity Will Qualify as a Disability is a Tough Question
Talk to an attorney about your eligibility for disability benefits if you are concerned about obesity and your disability claim. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ legal experience, much of it involving Social Security Disability Insurance claims. They can help you with your application and any appeals that might be needed.
Call us at 714-385-8100 for a free consultation. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.