Could You Receive SSDI in Massachusetts for Obesity?

In June 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity a disease. Previously, obesity had been considered a condition. In spite of this newly elevated status, the Social Security Administration still does not have a specific listing for people suffering from obesity to receive SSDI in Massachusetts.

If you are considered medically obese, and you are unable to work, there is hope.

Disabling Symptoms of Obesity

Obesity is a disease that impacts your metabolic system. To be diagnosed with obesity, your doctor will examine your body fat levels, and take into consideration a number of factors. These factors include how much muscle you have, how much fat you have, whether you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high triglyceride levels.

Although you may have one or more of these symptoms, your obesity may not be disabling. In order for obesity to be considered disabling, it must have impacted other parts of your body. Some of the most common disabling symptoms of obesity include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Limited mobility
  • Anxiety or depression

If you have one of these disabling symptoms, you may qualify to receive SSDI.

How to Apply for SSDI in Massachusetts for Obesity

Because the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have a specific listing for obesity, applying for SSDI with this disease is more cumbersome. In order to be approved, you must show that you have significant limitations because of the symptoms of obesity, or that obesity worsens another impairment that is listed by the SSA as a qualifying disability.

The most common way that people apply to receive SSDI for obesity is by showing how obesity contributes to other impairments. Here are a few examples of other qualifying medical conditions that obesity often relates to:

  • Respiratory conditions that make it hard to breathe
  • Musculoskeletal conditions that make it hard to walk or move freely
  • Cardiovascular systems that leave you at risk for heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep apnea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

If you have one of these conditions, you could qualify to receive SSDI. However, you still must meet the individual qualifications under each of those listings for the SSA to approve your application. To better understand what those qualifications are, you can speak with your Social Security disability attorney in Boston, or do a quick search on this website to learn more.

It is equally important to remember that the SSA will take into consideration how your obesity worsens your medical condition. For example, if obesity makes you extremely fatigued, it could worsen your sleep apnea symptoms, making it even more difficult to work in the position you once held.

When you apply to receive SSDI in Massachusetts for obesity, you must show that your medical condition is long-term and not treatable. If you demonstrate this, as well as show the specific symptoms that prevent you from being able to work in your job, you will maximize your chances at being approved.

Do you know someone who struggles to continue in a job due to obesity? We encourage you to share this information with him or her.


John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer