Historically, people were not able to get obesity disability benefits. Obesity still does not qualify as a disability for the purpose of social security disability benefits by itself. However, a social security disability attorney may be able to help people qualify for disability benefits for obesity-related medical issues.
Obesity Disability Benefits
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.
Does Obesity Qualify for Benefits?
Although obesity disability benefits were 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.”
Obesity by itself, therefore, may not be enough for someone to qualify for disability benefits. However, if someone’s obesity prevents him or her from walking for more than a short period of time or undertaking gainful employment, obesity disability benefits may be more likely.
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.
Can I Get Disability for Obesity?
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. Each case is unique, and an attorney cannot tell clients whether they will qualify for obesity disability benefits without first reviewing the facts of their individual case. However, a disability attorney can help people understand their chances of receiving benefits. Regardless of your disabling medical condition, the Chicago disability lawyers at Ankin Law 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 disability lawyers at Ankin Law at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you pursue your Social Security disability claim.