Many workers with back and spine injuries find that they gain weight due to inactivity, medications and other factors. The increased weight can cause complications with their recovery, and if they have diabetes, high blood pressure or other serious medical conditions, can contribute to their inability to perform even light duty work on a regular basis. Spinal cord injuries can even interfere with the ability to do sitting (sedentary) type jobs, since the pain down the legs can cause spasms, interrupt cooncentration and require unscheduled breaks during the workday. There used to be a listing for Obesity in the Social Security regulations, such that at a certain body weight and height, a Federal Judge could find in favor of the disabled overweight worker. However, that section was deleted in 1999.
"Even though obesity was deleted as a listing does not mean that it is not important for the Social Security Administration to consider when evaluating claims for SSDI disability benefits," according to Herndon Social Security lawyer Doug Landau. Noting that many of his disabled clients do not have any one particular impairment that meets the Federal Government’s medical listings, ABRAMS LANDAU has nevertheless been successful in winning SSDI cases by showing that the morbidly obese client has several disabling conditions.
The Social Security Administration must consider the combined effects of a claimant’s impairments. Muscoloskeletal impairments in obese individuals can be greater than the effects of each impairment considered separately. The Social Security Administration’s own policies (i.e., Social Security Regulation 02-1p) require adjudicators to "consider any additional and cumulative effects of obesity when determining whether an obese individual meets or equals a listing." Under Social Security Listing 1.00Q, obesity is often associated with a disturbance of the musculoskeletal system, which can be a major cause of disability for overweight clients. If you or someone you know needs help with their Social Security Disability claim, please e-mail or call us at (703-796-9555) ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. We have been successful winning many cases for claimants who have been denied benefits by the Social Security Administration.