Ocala Disability Attorney Discusses Obesity and Social Security Disability Benefits
If obesity is a factor in your Social Security disability claim, an experienced Ocala disability attorney can help explain the Social Security Administration's requirements regarding Body Mass Index (BMI) and following prescribed treatments.
About Your BMI
Obesity is commonly evaluated using the BMI. The BMI gives you a body fat measurement based on both your height and weight. The formula to calculate your BMI is weight in pounds divided by your height in squared inches. That number is then multiplied by 704.5. For example, if you weighed 145 pounds and were 60 inches tall, your BMI calculations are 145/602 x 704.5 = 28.375 or 28.38.
According to the National Institutes of Health, if you have a BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 you are considered overweight, but not obese. However, if your BMI falls within that range and your waist is bigger than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women, you are considered obese. A BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater is generally always considered obese.
If you have been under the care of a physician for your obesity and you fail to follow his or her prescribed treatment, the Social Security Administration may deny your disability claim. A statement from your physician recommending that you lose weight and engage in increased physical activity is not considered a prescribed treatment. For a treatment to be considered a prescribed treatment for the purpose of Social Security disability claims, the treatment recommended by your doctor must be followed with the expectation that doing so will restore your ability to work.
In its official Rulings, the Social Security Administration states that it rarely uses a claimant's failure to follow a prescribed plan as a reason to deny or stop benefits. However, you should be prepared to give testimony at your disability hearing regarding the efforts you've made to lose weight. When helping you to prepare your testimony, your attorney may also request that your physician comment on your weight loss struggle.
If you have failed to follow your prescribed treatment, you must have an acceptable reason for not doing so. Most health insurance plans and Medicare do not cover the costs of drug therapy or surgery for treating obesity. Not being able to afford various prescription drugs and/or surgery is an acceptable and valid reason for not following your physician's prescribed treatment plan.
If you would like to speak to a knowledgeable Ocala disability attorney regarding your case, please contact CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC at (352) 304-5300.