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Dawson and Rosenthal

Can You Claim Disability Benefits for an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders can be detrimental to those who suffer from them. An eating disorder can lead to physical, emotional, and mental symptoms, all of which can prevent a person from carrying out the tasks required in the workplace. However, can a person with an eating disorder qualify for disability benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does consider eating disorders potentially disabling, but that does not guarantee that a person will receive benefits if they have an eating disorder. Here, we want to talk about what eating disorders could potentially qualify someone for disability benefits, as well as the steps that they need to take in order to ensure they receive the coverage they are entitled to.

When Does an Eating Disorder Qualify for Disability Benefits?

The Social Security Administration uses a manual of disabling conditions when they review initial applications. However, when examining this manual, the reader will find no specific listing for eating disorders. There is a standard process for reviewing any disability applications filed related to eating disorders. In order for a person to qualify, they must:

  • Meet a disability listing in the manual, or
  • Have a condition that is the medical equivalent to a listed disability, or
  • Prove that the impairments are so severe that they prevent them from working.

If a condition or complication of an eating disorder closely matches a disability listed in the manual, then a person may qualify for benefits based on that listing alone. Some of the most common disabilities listed under which an eating disorder may be approved include the following:

  • Chronic anemia
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Convulsive or Non-convulsive epilepsy
  • Fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or one or more of the tarsal bones
  • Fracture of an upper extremity
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Recurrent arrhythmias
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding, requiring blood transfusion
  • Weight Loss due to any digestive disorder

Medical Records That can Help With Your Claim

Even if a person is able to match their eating disorder with a listed disability according to the SSA, there must still be specific medical criteria documented inside of a person’s medical records before benefits are awarded.

The types of medical records that the Social Security Administration needs to see in order to approve an application will vary depending on the type of disability. Some of the records that may be necessary in these cases include the following:

  • All hospital records related to the disability
  • Any doctor’s records related to the disability symptoms
  • Imaging scans
  • Body mass index measurements
  • Heart scans
  • Blood work and other lab results
  • Brain scans and EEG results

It is crucial for any person applying for disability to work closely with their treating doctor in order to ensure their records accurately reflect the level of the severity of their symptoms and complications.

In the event that their medical records do NOT match the disability listings in the SSA manual, then there will likely need to be a further review to analyze the combined effects of all of a person’s symptoms. In these cases, it will need to be proven that the eating disorder has led to impairments so severe that they prevent a person from working.

What to do if Your Disability Claim is Denied

If you think you qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, you should consider working with a professional who has experience handling these claims. An attorney can analyze all of the facts of your case and help you through every step of this process. This includes communication with the SSA, and helping you through any appeals if a disability denial occurs.