Obesity & Disability: Can You Get Disability for Being Obese?

Obesity and Disability

Obesity is one of the most common medical conditions in the United States. Studies suggest that approximately one third of the adult population in the United States is overweight or obese. An individual is said to be obese when his or her Body Mass Index or BMI is said to be above 30% and morbidly obese when the Body Mass Index or BMI is above 40%. Obesity in itself carries with it a lot of health hazards.

An obese individual will always be at risk for medical conditions like early onset of arthritis of the joints, cardiovascular risks, and other respiratory issues. Obesity can also predispose an individual to risk of diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer. An individual can become obese due to certain medical conditions also like some form of endocrinological disorders or mental illness causing the individual to be totally inactive with total loss of interest in doing any activity.

Although just being diagnosed as being obese is not sufficient enough to get Disability Benefits, there are certain factors which when met can get an individual Disability benefits due to Obesity. These factors are that the BMI of the individual should be so high that it precludes him or her to move, walk, or even partake in simple activities of daily living like cleaning, dressing or bathing let alone be gainfully employed at a position to any substantial period of time. An individual can also get Disability Benefits due to Obesity if the individual gets a medical condition which is caused due to obesity like a heart condition, stroke, diabetes, or severe arthritis of the weight bearing joints which may preclude the individual from sitting, standing, walking, or do any sitting type of job as well.

Can You Get Disability For Being Obese?

Can You Get Disability For Being Obese?

The SSA has a book which contains a list of medical conditions which automatically qualify for disability benefits. This book is called as the “Blue Book” and if a claimant has a condition which is a part of this “Blue Book” then the claimant automatically qualifies for disability benefits provided he meets those requirements listed in the blue book.

Obesity was once a part of the listing that qualified for disability benefits but was later removed by the SSA, as it was felt that there were many obese people who were able to lead a successful life and were gainfully employed and were able to carry out their job duties effectively. At the present time, if a claimant files a disability claim for Obesity, the SSA will first look if the weight of the claimant precludes him or her from working under any significant capacity. For this, the SSA will look if the claimant is able to or unable to walk effectively and whether there is any significant dysfunction of the weightbearing joint of the claimant. The SSA will also look whether the claimant’s obesity has caused other medical conditions like a musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular, respiratory or endocrine systems like heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis which may preclude the claimant from working. In case if the claimant has any of the above mentioned conditions accompanying obesity causing functional limitations, then the claimant will have to furnish records proving such. The claimant will also have to prove what modalities he or she has employed to lose weight in terms of exercise, diet, surgery and the like and what has been the response to those modalities. The claimant should also furnish records indicating how the claimant is not in a position to work under any capacity as a result of Obesity and other accompanying medical conditions.

Additionally, the SSA will see how obesity of the claimant worsens the claimant’s ability to function with all the inherent impairments that Obesity brings along with it. The SSA will also see if the Obesity along with the other impairments causes significant functional limitations to grant Disability Benefits for Obesity.

What are the Chances of Getting Social Security Disability Benefits Due to Obesity?

In case if you do not have any other concurrent impairment apart from obesity, then the SSA will conduct a Residual Functional Capacity Evaluation for the claimant to check whether the claimant is fit enough to perform any type of job effectively for a substantial period of time. For this, the SSA will appoint a physician who will do a thorough evaluation of the claimant along with screening the past medical records of the claimant to see what modalities have been followed for controlling the weight and bringing down the BMI.

The physician will also check to see what has been the response of the claimant to the treatment modalities and whether the claimant has been compliant with the recommendations suggested by the treating provider. If the physician is convinced that the claimant is not fit to be working under any capacity due to Obesity then the claimant can be granted Disability Benefits for Obesity

Why is it Important to Hire an SSD Attorney for Winning Disability Benefits for Obesity?

Even if a claimant has enough documented evidence favoring his or her claim for disability benefits for obesity, if it is not presented in front of the judge in an appropriate way, the claimant may not be able to get the decision in his or her favor. For this, the claimant needs to hire an experienced disability attorney or a lawyer who can prepare and present the claimant’s case in the best possible way so that Disability Benefit for Obesity is granted. An experienced disability attorney would have significant knowledge as to what the judge might require of the claimant during the hearing and what are the other relevant information that needs to be furnished in front of the judge at the time of hearing to win a disability claim for obesity. It should be noted here that an SSD attorney gets paid only after the claimant has been granted disability benefit, thus the attorney does all he or she can to get the claimant disability benefits for obesity.


In summary, if an individual has a body mass index of more than 40 and is not able to bring it down despite numerous measures taken by the individual under the supervision of the treating provider and is disabled to an extent that he or she is unable to be gainfully employed in any position then hiring a experienced SSD attorney scan help improve your chances of winning disability benefits due to Obesity.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 14, 2023

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