The idea of seeking Social Security disability can arise for many reasons for people in Florida. One of those reasons is obesity. When trying to be approved for SSD benefits for obesity, it is important to understand how the Social Security Administration defines, views and evaluates this issue. Obesity is considered a chronic and complex disease whose characterization is based on accumulated body fat. There are numerous factors that go into obesity including behavioral, environmental and genetic issues. While the amount of calories a person takes in plays a part in obesity, the other issues are not to be ignored. The classification of a person as being obese depends on the person’s body mass index (BMI).
Obesity can impair many body systems. There can be cardiovascular problems, respiratory disorders and it can cause damage to the musculoskeletal system. It can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, stroke and more. The key to a successful application for Social Security disability benefits often hinges on obesity being classified as a medically determinable impairment. The SSA will use the testimony of a physician who has dealt with the patient and provided a report on the person’s appearance, build, height and weight. If there is a diagnosis of obesity, this may be sufficient unless there is contradictory evidence. The amount of weight gain and how long it took are also factored in when a decision is made.
It is possible to be declared disabled based on obesity alone if it is deemed severe. It can also depend on the individual’s residual functional capacity, age, education and work experience. Obesity will be considered a “severe” impairment when it combines with other medically determinable conditions or illnesses and limits the individual’s capability of performing basic work activities. These can be mental or physical impairments. The BMI will not have to reach a specific threshold for it to be deemed severe or not severe in terms of impairments. Various terms such as “morbidly obese” will not factor in to whether or not it is considered severe.
The Sequential Evaluation for obese individuals will also be important when seeking benefits. If there is an inability to work and the requirements are met, there will be a chance to be approved for SSD benefits due to obesity.