Slepian Smith, PLLC

Is obesity a disabling condition?

The Social Security Administration defines a disabling condition as a mental or physical impairment that is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months. The condition must be medically determinable and prevent a person from engaging in substantial gainful activity.

People who suffer from obesity might therefore assume that it fits these criteria - but that assumption is usually not true.

Obesity on its own may not provide an adequate basis for disability benefits, unless it prevents a person from doing any job and is expected to cause death or last for at least a year. However, obesity is a common side effect or precursor to other conditions that could qualify as disabling.

Obesity as a consequence of other conditions

Obesity can accompany or result from serious health conditions like paralysis and amputation, as these can severely restrict a person's mobility. Additionally, illnesses involving chronic pain or depression can make it difficult for a person to pursue certain exercise and dietary solutions to obesity.

Obesity as a risk factor

Obesity can put people at risk of developing potentially disabling conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Obesity as a genetic condition

There are genetic conditions for which obesity is a main characteristic. For instance, Prader-Willi syndrome is a condition that leads to chronic overeating, weak muscle tone and obesity. While rare, these disorders can be disabling.

Examining your options

Obesity is a complicated condition that varies from person to person. This is why it is all but impossible to know for sure if obesity or any accompanying conditions will provide a basis for disability benefits without specific guidance.

To determine if you qualify for disability benefits due to conditions involving obesity, you can consult a Social Security Disability attorney in Arizona. Doing so can help you avoid costly assumptions or missteps that put your financial future in jeopardy.

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