Severe Weight loss
Claimants may suffer severe weight loss for a many reasons and be unable to continue to perform substantial gainful activity or work. If you have suffered severe weight loss you may be wondering if qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
What disability benefits are provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for severe weight loss?
Social Security Disability Insurance is offered by the SSA to disabled workers who have a severe condition which does not allow them to work for at least 12 continuous months. The condition must be 100% disabling and does not allow them to perform substantial gainful activity. If you can work or your condition is a short term condition you will automatically be denied SSDI. Additionally, workers must also be insured, earning enough work credits through employment, to win SSDI benefits.
Supplemental Security Income is offered to individuals who are blind, aged or disabled and who are not able to work. Disability is determined using the same criteria for both SSDI and SSI benefits. To qualify for SSI, however, a worker does not have to earn work credits. They also must have limited income and resources.
How will the SSA determine the severe weight loss disability? - The SSA has two methods to determine disability. First, the SSA will determine if the condition is in their SSA Listing of Impairments (a listing of conditions and symptoms the SSA considers automatically disabling). If the condition is not on their listing and the SSA does not believe it "meets or exceeds" a listing in its severity, they will determine if the claimant has the residual capacity to work through a medical vocational allowance.
Weight Loss and the SSA Listing of Impairments
Many claimants, when they think of severe weight loss, automatically think of an eating disorder. Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can be considered disabling. According to the SSA, if the claimant is suffering from anorexia nervosa or another eating disorder they recognize that the symptoms can be both physical and mental. If they determine the limitation is physical in nature they will evaluate the condition under the appropriate physical body system listing.
Claimants who are suffering from a severe mental disorder which has caused the eating disorder will be evaluated under the appropriate mental disorder listing which is found in the listing 12.00 Mental Disorders in the SSA Listing of Impairments.
Weight Loss which is not caused by an Eating Disorder
Weight loss can also be caused by many other physical conditions such as pancreatitis, liver disease, liver cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. If your severe weight loss is a result of another severe health condition the SSA will evaluate your condition under the appropriate listing.
For instance inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is evaluated under listing 5.00 Digestive System, 5.06 Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Under this listing the claimant may suffer "Involuntary weight loss of at least 10 percent from baseline, as computed in pounds, kilograms, or BMI, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart; or the need for supplemental daily enteral nutrition via a gastrostomy or daily parenteral nutrition via a central venous catheter."
Talk to a disability lawyer if you have severe weight loss and need SSDI or SSI benefits.
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