Will the disability judge consider the effect of my obesity and the fact that I was prescribed a cane?

Hi, I am wondering if I am considered disabled by Social Security with the following conditions. I have advanced degenerative arthritis in my spine, bone spurs in my neck, spine and hips, ossification of my anterior longitudal ligament, bridging osteophytes, my lower spine is straight with joint space narrowing, also joint space narrowing in my hips (I fall alot from this). My orthopedist prescribed me a cane, I have pain all the time from muscle spasms...also i am allergic to arthritis meds. I am 300 lbs, was 318 lbs.

I had my hearing the other day and the ALJ told me I needed to eat better and exercise. I replied that I can't use my legs very long. His reply was "use your arms and maybe later on your legs and you might feel better about yourself and not worry about falling so much. Even the vocational expert said I could be a housekeeper or cashier.

I am still awaiting my decision letter. I am almost certain he denied me. I thought the ALJ considered obesity and my cane when considering whether I'm disabled with my conditions.

It sounds like you have significant problems with regard to your arthritis, and I am sure you are in a lot of pain. Social Security changed their impairment listings a few years ago and removed the obesity listing. Now they consider your arthritis under musculoskeletal impairment listings with some consideration for obesity. It really makes it harder for individuals with obesity to be approved for disability, even when they have very serious medical conditions.

While I am not sure what they judge's decision will be, I do think that it may be a denial as well considering the suggestions of the vocational expert for jobs more than the judge's remarks. Still you never know until you have your actual decisional letter in hand.

Did you have a representative? If so, what did they think?

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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