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Can I qualify for SSD benefits due to obesity?

Obesity is a major health problem in the U.S., including here in Missouri. A website called the State of Obesity lists Missouri as having the 16th highest obesity rate for adults in the country at 30.4 percent. That is right around the national rate for adults, according to Disabled World.

Among the many negative health effects that obesity can wreak on the human body is a limitation on its ability to move. Many obese people have difficulty walking. If their jobs require them to be on their feet for significant periods of time, those jobs may eventually become impossible.

However, unlike other medical conditions that reduce mobility, the Social Security Administration no longer recognizes morbid obesity as a disability on its own. Instead, the SSA labels obesity a “chronic disease,” defined as a body mass index of at least 30 for standard obesity and 40 or more for morbid obesity.

Though obesity is not a disability under SSA’s current rules, those who must stop working due to this condition may still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. They must show SSA that their obesity, “alone or in combination with another medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s),” significantly limits their ability to do their basic work activities.

Examples of common co-existing conditions include orthopedic impairments like bad hips or knees; respiratory problems; arthritis; and heart trouble.

Still, most initial SSD applications are turned down. That is no the end of the matter. Applicants have the right to appeal, a process that can be slow, but eventually result in their receiving their rightful benefits.

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