The Social Security Administration considers your ability to engage in any kind of work when it determines whether you are disabled under the Social Security Administration’s guidelines and regulations. A few conditions are so severe that you are presumed to be disabled if you meet certain guidelines, either under the “compassionate allowance”, which are extremely severe conditions, or if you meet certain “listings”. Most of the listings are very complex and require proof of several objectively verifiable conditions or findings. Both the compassionate allowances and the listings can be found on the Social Security web site.
The Social Security Administration’s rules have determined that obesity can itself be disabling, and notes that being obese often makes other conditions worse. Obesity is often measured by body mass index (BMI).The state agency initially determining your case or the administrative law judge hearing your case must take into account and consider the effect of obesity on your ability to work. For example, the listing of impairments for heart problems states in part:
Obesity is a medically determinable impairment that is often associated with disorders of the cardiovascular system. Disturbance of this system can be a major cause of disability if you have obesity. Obesity may affect the cardiovascular system because of the increased workload the additional body mass places on the heart. Obesity may make it harder for the chest and lungs to expand. This can mean that the respiratory system must work harder to provide needed oxygen. This in turn would make the heart work harder to pump blood to carry oxygen to the body. Because the body would be working harder at rest, its ability to perform additional work would be less than would otherwise be expected. Thus, the combined effects of obesity with cardiovascular impairments can be greater than the effects of each of the impairments considered separately. We must consider any additional and cumulative effects of obesity when we determine whether you have a severe cardiovascular impairment or a listing-level cardiovascular impairment (or a combination of impairments that medically equals the severity of a listed impairment), and when we assess your residual functional capacity.
Despite these requirements to consider the effects of obesity on your ability to work this condition is often given less than full consideration as to the full impact on your ability to work. We try to develop your record so that the DDS or the administrative law judge has a more complete understanding of how your obesity makes it more difficult for you to work.
We will be happy to discuss your condition and to evaluate your claim. Please click here to fill out our interactive contact form and we will get back to you promptly to discuss your Social Security disability claim, give you a free evaluation of your case, and let you know what we can do for you. You can also call us at (303) 996-0700.
Nothing contained on this web site should be construed to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. The relationship is only created by written agreement signed by the client and the law firm. Please contact us for a conference to further discuss your claim.