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Common impairments: Obtaining North Carolina Social Security disability benefits for obesity

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Our North Carolina Social Security disability benefits lawyer can represent you. Call Bridgman Law Offices at (704) 815-6055 today.

The Social Security Administration considers obesity to be a medically determinable impairment. Accordingly, you may be entitled to an award of North Carolina Social Security disability benefits if your obesity, either alone or in combination with other related medical problems, is severe enough to prevent you from working.

In assessing your ability to work, the Social Security Administration evaluates your “residual functional capacity” – your ability to perform work-related functions, despite the limitations caused by your impairment. Obesity may limit your physical ability to work by restricting your ability to stand, walk, sit, lift, carry or manipulate small objects. It may limit your mental ability to work if, for example, you suffer from fatigue caused by obesity-related sleep apnea. Obesity also may limit your psychological ability to work, as it often is associated with depression.

Failure to follow prescribed treatment can result in a denial of Social Security disability benefits, but this rarely occurs in obesity cases, in part because a “prescribed treatment” must be just that – a form of treatment prescribed by your doctor that is expected to restore your health and your ability to work. Your doctor’s advice to lose weight and get more exercise does not constitute “prescribed treatment.” Moreover, Medicare and most private health insurance plans will not pay for drug therapy or surgery to treat obesity. If your doctor prescribes this type of treatment, but you cannot afford it, that is a valid reason for “failing to follow prescribed treatment.” That said, you likely will be asked at your disability hearing about your efforts to lose weight, so you should be prepared to testify about this topic.

If you think you have a claim for Social Security disability benefits based on obesity, or if you have filed a claim and been denied, a knowledgeable and compassionate North Carolina disability lawyer may be able to help. Please contact us if you would like to talk about your case.

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