How does Social Security evaluate and award weight loss disability benefits? While many people fight to drop a few pounds, those who have an ongoing weight loss problem know just how frustrating and scary it can be.
Most of the time, persistent trouble maintaining weight is a symptom of a serious medical disease. Depending on the nature of the related medical disorder, you may be experiencing a variety of serious associated symptoms that make it difficult to engage in regular activities of daily living or even concentrate for long periods of time.
For this reason and others, weight loss is recognized by the SSA as a potentially disabling condition, and it may be possible for you to receive Social Security disability benefits.
What do you need to do to get these benefits? Generally speaking, there are two methods by which someone can qualify for weight loss disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
The first is to match a condition included in the SSA’s Listings of Impairments. This guidebook contains every medical issue officially recognized as a disability by the SSA as well as specific criteria you need to meet if you are to receive benefits.
Naturally, though, there are those with serious problems who may not be able to match the sometimes very specific SSA criteria. If you fall into this category, don’t give up hope.
It is still possible to qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can show that your disabling medical condition is the equivalent of one that is already included in the Listings of Impairments. Unfortunately, doing that isn’t always straightforward or easy, so you always want to try to meet the SSA’s criteria first.
SSA Criteria to Meet for Weight Loss Disability Benefits
Weight loss holds a fairly unique position in the Listings of Impairments because it has both a very specific set of requirements and is one of the conditions that people frequently qualify for by proving equivalency.
Why? Because, while the official definition says that the weight loss has to be “due to any digestive disorder,” in reality the SSA has been known to approve disability benefits for weight loss related to all kinds of problems, including:
- Pancreatic disease
- Surgical resection
- Esophageal obstruction
- Malabsorption syndromes
- Mental disorders
- Drug abuse
- And more
Technically, weight loss caused by anything that isn’t a digestive disorder constitutes proving equivalency. But even if you do this, there are still specific results that must be obtained in order to qualify.
Beyond continuing to lose weight despite ongoing, prescribed treatment, you need to have a BMI of less than 17.50 on two or more evaluations over a 6-month period where those tests are taken at least 60 days apart.
Tests that you can use to prove that your weight loss meets these requirements include:
- Body mass index
- Breath hydrogen analysis
- D-xylose absorption test
- EliA gliadinDP
- Fasting blood glucose
- Fecal calprotection
- Fecal fat
- Gastrointestinal series
- Meckel’s diverticulum scan
- Plan x-ray of abdomen
- Random blood glucose
- Serum protein electrophoresis
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
- Urinary trypsinogen-2
One of the best ways to help your weight loss disability case is to receive positive results on any of these tests to prove you meet the criteria.
Proving Equivalency to Win Weight Loss Disability Benefits
Always remember that you shouldn’t just give up if you can’t meet the SSA’s requirements for a particular listing. The secondary qualification method of proving equivalency in a weight loss disability claim may not be as easy to understand or accomplish, but it can be done as long as you work with someone who has the knowledge and skill to help you, particularly for ongoing weight loss issues.
An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can guide you through the process of using the Five Step Sequential Evaluation Process to prove to the SSA that your condition has prevented you from working for at least 12 months and is just as serious as anything in the Listings of Impairments.
For individual legal advice about your weight loss disability case, contact the disability team at Marc Whitehead & Associates. Call us toll free or arrange for a free case evaluation with a lawyer.