Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I was at the airport today waiting for my delayed flight when I heard on the TV monitor above me a piece on one of the major news networks about whether or not obesity should be considered a disability. I listened to the segment and viewer comments that were posted by e-mail. This led me to decide to write a blog on this subject and how it applies to Social Security disability. Obesity is no longer on the medical listing of impairments for Social Security disability. Years ago, if you were a certain height and weight you could meet a listing and be granted disability on this basis. This is no longer the case. This does not mean that obesity is not considered in a Social Security disability claim. Social Security is supposed to look at the effect obesity would have on your other medical conditions. In other words, if you have a back impairment and you are obese Social Security is supposed to consider the impact your obesity has on your back condition and the limitations on your functional abilities it causes. So as you can see, even though obesity no longer has a listing it can still have an impact on your disability claim. So if you are obese and applying for Social Security disability benefits you should still list this as one of your disabling impairments. Many people who suffer from severe obesity go through great measures including surgery to try and reduce their weight. Many of these procedures for obesity have serious side effects and many times can impact the entire body and make you more disabled even if you lose weight as a result of the surgery. I have had many cases of people who have had surgical procedures to reduce their obesity and as a result of these procedures and the side effects had then become disabled. The purpose of this post is to not argue one way or the other whether obesity should be considered a disability in and of itself. I am writing this to inform those who suffer from obesity that it can have an impact on their disability claim. Anyone who suffers from obesity does not need me to tell them that there will always be those who feel obesity is the fault of the individual and should not be considered in determining disability. However, Social Security's rules clearly state obesity should be considered when determining if someone is disabled.