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How the AMA’s Classification of Obesity as a Disease Could Impact Disability Claims

Written by Ankin Law Office

Obesity is a widespread national health problem that contributes to a number of serious – and potentially life-threatening – medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. For years, many people have considered obesity a lifestyle choice and not a medical condition, but now the American Medical Association (AMA) has officially declared obesity a disease and the ramifications of that classification are numerous.

By declaring obesity a disease, health experts hope that more patients will get better health care, which should lead to an eventual decline in the number of people who are considered obese and suffer from related health problems. Currently, more than 90 million people are officially classified as obese, which could also increase the pressure to spend more money on obesity research and public health initiatives.

But how will the classification of obesity as a disease impact Social Security disability claims?

Although disability eligibility was not a driving factor in the AMA’s decision to classify obesity as a disease, the decision could make it easier for individuals who suffer from obesity-related medical conditions to obtain disability benefits. In order for a person to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), he or she must have a disabling condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death and prevents you from engaging in “substantial gainful activity.”

SSDI provides payments to disabled persons who have earned enough “credits” through the payment of social security taxes deducted from their paycheck, with the number of work “credits” required to receive SSDI varying depending on your age at the time of disability. On the other hand, SSI provides disability benefits only to those disabled persons with limited income and resources.

In order to receive SSDI or SSI benefits, an applicant must submit a claim with the Social Security Administration, providing comprehensive and detailed information regarding medical condition, employment history, and financial situation. Once a claim has been submitted, an independent medical exam will be scheduled. Although obesity alone is not enough to establish eligibility for SSDI or SSI benefits, it will be considered along with any other medical impairments that make it impossible for the applicant to work.

If you are unable to work due to obesity or other medical impairment, it is important to consult with a skilled Social Security disability lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and how to submit a disability claim. Regardless of your disabling medical condition, the Chicago disability lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC have the skill and knowledge necessary to help through the entire application process for SSDI or SSI benefits.

Contact one of the Chicago social security lawyers at Ankin Law Office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you pursue your Social Security disability claim.

Categories: Social Security