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Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

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How long does Disability take?

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Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

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Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

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Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

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Facts about Morbid Obesity and Filing for Disability

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

1) Obesity and morbid obesity are medical conditions in which body fat is high on the individual, resulting in more strain on the body and oftentimes poor health. Both obesity and morbid obesity are determined using body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing a personís weight by the square of their height.

2) In the United States, a body mass index of 40 or higher is considered morbid obesity. Usually, morbid obesity is roughly about 100 lbs. overweight.

3) For instance, a person who is five-feet and five-inches and weighs 245 lbs. has a BMI of 40.8 is therefore considered morbidly obese.

4) There are many simple online calculators to determine oneís BMI. One can be found here at the U.S. Department of Health of Human Services: Simply type in your height in feet and inches and then plug in your weight to get your current BMI number.

5) People who are morbidly obese are more likely to have high levels of triglycerides, bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. They are also more likely to have type 2 diabetes.

6) Those who are morbidly obese have higher (anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent) mortality rates than those with healthy weights.

7) The causes of morbid obesity can be genetic, due to hormonal imbalances or due to metabolic disorders. In addition, morbid obesity can be caused by eating unhealthy foods in large portions and not implementing a daily exercise regimen.

8) When diet, exercise, behavior modifications, and traditional pharmaceuticals do not work for reducing oneís weight, the U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends a form of bariatric surgery as an option. Not only can bariatric surgery help reduce weight significantly for long-term, but it can also help reduce mortality, improve cardiovascular risks, and help patients recover from diabetes.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews