Obesity can lead to a host of other impairments, making it difficult or even impossible to sustain meaningful, gainful employment. Physicians use a measure known as body mass index (BMI), which uses a person’s height and weight to generate a standardized number and determine if a patient is obese. A BMI above 30 indicates obesity, and a BMI above 40 indicates severe obesity.
If your doctor diagnosed you with obesity and you are unable to make a living due to your body weight, you might be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). An attorney from the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can review your medical history and help you understand how to get disability for obesity. Our team has helped many disabled clients receive the benefits they deserve, including those with obesity and other weight-related conditions.
Whether it is your first time applying for disability or you have applied in the past and received a denial from the SSA, the disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help you build a strong claim and pursue the benefits you deserve. We have helped our clients win approvals on the first try as well as through the appeals process.
We invite you into our office for a free consultation. During this initial meeting, you can meet our disability team, ask questions about the process, and get advice on the disability application process. If you decide to move forward with our firm, our attorneys get to work right away, gathering evidence and building a thorough, compelling claim to submit to the SSA. Our team prides itself on a high level of service, and we stay in constant communication with you throughout the entire process.
To schedule your free consultation, call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, at 866-628-8179.
How Does Obesity Cause Disability?
Obesity affects different people in different ways. Some people with BMI measurements above 30—and even above 40—can live normal, even active lives. They are perfectly capable of holding a job and earning a living. Others find that as their BMI number climbs, their capacity to do many of the tasks they did before declines in concert. It is not always as simple as motivating yourself to lose weight so that you can get your own life. The cycle of obesity is difficult to escape, especially with age.
Moreover, obesity can lead to a host of other disabling medical issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Any one of these conditions can prevent you from sustaining employment, in which case you deserve benefits to make up for the income you can no longer earn.
We can help you determine if your obesity qualifies you to receive benefits. If it does, we can make sure the claim you submit to the SSA is thorough and compelling, giving you the strongest chance of a favorable outcome.
How Can I Win Disability Benefits for Obesity?
To qualify for disability, you must show the SSA one of two things. First, you need medical evidence from your doctor showing your medical condition meets the criteria in the SSA’s master list of disabling conditions. If this does not apply, the SSA needs to see evidence that your condition is just as damaging as a qualifying condition. In other words, your condition reduces your functional capacity to the same degree and in the same manner as a qualifying condition would.
The SSA’s Blue Book is a list of qualifying medical conditions the organization considers disabling and eligible for benefits. It also lists the diagnostic criteria required to get approved for each condition. Prior to the year 1999, obesity had its own listing in the Blue Book. Today, however, you cannot qualify for disability on the basis of obesity alone. There are still ways for a person with obesity to apply for and receive disability, and we can discuss these methods with you.
How Can I Qualify Under a Blue Book Listing If Obesity Is Not a Listed Condition?
You cannot qualify for benefits based on a diagnosis of obesity alone. However, many patients who suffer from obesity have other conditions that arise as a result of the excess weight, some of which do have their own Blue Book listing. For instance, the following related impairments have listings in the Blue Book:
- Cardiovascular disease;
- Sleep apnea; and
- Joint impairments.
If you have a diagnosis for such a condition, we can review your medical records to determine if you meet the Blue Book criteria.
Another possibility is that your obesity helps you fulfill the criteria for another impairment. For instance, a person with a borderline low IQ does not automatically qualify for benefits, but if they also have a physical condition that further limits their ability to work, they can then meet the criteria for approval.
After a thorough review of your medical records, we can let you know all of your options. If we have no path to an approval via the Blue Book, we can instead work on getting you disability by determining your residual functional capacity (RFC).
What Is an RFC?
If we cannot get you approved through the Blue Book, we can instead apply for benefits based on your RFC. If we can demonstrate—through your RFC—that your condition prevents you from sustaining meaningful, gainful employment, you may qualify for benefits.
In order to do this, we have to prove to the SSA that your obesity prevents you not only from performing the job you were doing before, but also from doing any job you qualify for. A doctor will determine your RFC by evaluating your ability to do work-related tasks, such as standing, lifting, walking, and sitting. Since obesity can affect your ability to do these things, you stand a good chance of qualifying for disability benefits through your RFC.
Call 866-628-8179 Today to Speak With a Disability Attorney.
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we understand the challenges of getting disability benefits, and our job is to help you overcome them. We want you to receive the benefits you deserve. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 866-628-8179.