Ocala Disability Attorney Explains the Effects of Obesity on Residual Functional Capacity

Posted on May 7, 2012 by cjblog

When you meet with your Ocala disability lawyer, you will learn that obesity is a medically determinable impairment and the Social Security Administration must consider it when determining your residual functional capacity (RFC).

Obesity and Your RFC

Your RFC is the work you can still complete despite your disability or impairment. Obesity can affect your residual functional capacity in many ways. Obesity may limit your ability to perform the seven physical demands of work which are:

  • Sitting.
  • Standing.
  • Walking.
  • Lifting.
  • Carrying.
  • Pushing.
  • Pulling.

In addition, obesity may limit the manipulative motor skills or postural functions of your work including:

  • Reaching.
  • Handling.
  • Stooping.
  • Crouching.
  • Climbing stairs, step stools or ladders.

Obesity can also necessitate environmental limitations such as avoiding extreme heat and/or humidity. Fatigue may also be an RFC factor as many obese claimants suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can lead to drowsiness, lack of mental clarity, and can affect the claimant's cognitive and reasoning abilities necessary to complete their job duties.

The Social Security Administration does not take the possibility of necessary accommodations into consideration when determining whether a claimant qualifies for benefits. If you require a special accommodation such as a special equipment or workstation to complete your work tasks successfully and you are unable to complete these tasks without this equipment, the need for the accommodation arguably proves that you are disabled. In this case, you may be entitled to benefits.

If you are limited in any way by obesity, then the Social Security Administration must consider those limitations during your RFC assessment.

Benefit Entitlement

The Social Security Administration recognizes obesity as a medically determinable impairment. If your obesity imposes more than minimal functional limitations, it satisfies the Administration's severity requirement. You may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits if your obesity prevents you from working. This entitlement applies if the obesity alone prevents you from working or if the obesity in conjunction with additional medical problems are preventing your from working.

If you would like to learn more about obesity and Social Security disability benefits, please contact Ocala disability attorney CJ Henry at (352) 304-5300.

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