For years, the office of Social Security Disability has been reluctant to consider obesity a disability on its own. Even though it has been considered a part of other disabilities in the past, many people struggle with obesity every day of their lives. Recently, a new ruling was issued that allows the Social Security Administration to consider obesity a disability on its own. This opens the door for many people to file new Social Security disability claims. There are some key points that judges may use in their evaluation of a claim.
1. BMI Evaluation
Someone’s determination of obesity is typically determined by a BMI evaluation. A BMI of over 30 is generally considered obese. It is important to note that meeting this BMI alone does not guarantee impairment; however, it is an important component of a claim.
2. List of Impairments
Individuals with obesity are at a greater risk of developing a variety of impairments including diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, arthritis, and certain forms of cancer. While someone with obesity does not have to have these impairments to file a claim, the presence of these additional conditions may change how a claim is considered by a judge.
3. Consideration of Weight Over Time
Someone’s weight over time is going to be an important component when the judge decides how someone’s obesity impairs their ability to work. If someone’s weight is consistently obese, this has a greater impairment on their ability to work.
4. Limits Functioning or Ability to do Basic Work
Obesity must be considered in terms of its limitation on someone’s ability to do basic work. On a day to day basis, some people might have to bend over, kneel, or lift objects. Obesity can impair someone’s ability to perform these tasks, among others. Obesity and its impacts on these tasks must be considered.
5. Medically Determinable Impairment
Now, obesity is considered a medically determinable impairment, which means it must be evaluated by the judge. This means that if it has been diagnosed by a medical provider, the Social Security Administration needs to consider obesity as a stand-alone problem. Therefore, obesity must be considered when discussing its impact on one’s ability to work without having another medical problem, such as diabetes.
6. Residual Functional Capacity
Lastly, when looking at obesity, the judges will need to consider someone’s residual functional capacity. This means the judge will have to analyze how much someone can work in spite of someone’s illness. As this relates to obesity, the severity of this medical condition can vary widely. Some people might be able to move and perform some tasks at work. Others might not even be able to get out of bed. Residual functional capacity will be considered.
Rely on a Professional Social Security Disability Attorney in Utah
Now that obesity can be considered a medically determinable impairment on its own, local citizens might have an opportunity to file a new claim. At Match and Farnsworth, we are here to advocate for you, your needs, and your interests. We will take the time to understand the details of your situation and walk with you from start to finish, helping you with your SSI claim. If you are looking for help with Social Security disability in Utah, please call us today. We would be honored to help you and your family.