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Can weight loss be a disability for SSDI purposes?

While many Ohio residents, and Americans in general, are constantly looking for the next ‘miracle diet’ to help them lose weight, there are some who would be happy to gain it. We should be clear that we are not talking about cosmetic body changes in this post, but actual, serious illnesses that cause some people to be continuously losing weight, and can cause grave complications. Unfortunately, these physical disabilities sometimes make it very difficult to hold down a job and support oneself.

There are a few varied digestive disorders that can cause people to become chronically malnourished. These include, but are not limited to, Short Bowel Syndrome, ulcerative colitis or other physical ailments that require removal of part of the digestive tract. When the amount of surface area available for nutrient absorption is significantly reduced, chronic malnourishment may result. The Social Security Administration’s blue book section 5.08 explains how the agency determines eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income based upon weight loss due to digestive disorders. The SSA uses Body-Mass Index to evaluate such claims. Basically, if weight loss has occurred, even while the applicant is receiving treatment, such that two measures over 60 days apart show a BMI of 17.5 or less within a six-month period, the agency may define it as chronic malnutrition.

To calculate BMI, the SSA uses a formula where the BMI equals the person’s weight, in pounds, divided by his or height in inches squared, times 703. In a metric system, the formula would be the person’s weight in Kilograms divided by the person’s height in meters squared. These would be written in formula format like so: lbs/(Inches x Inches) x703; kg/ Meters x Meters.

It is important to remember that chronic weight loss is a serious problem, and should not be taken lightly, regardless of our societal attitudes toward it. Anyone with a digestive disorder or other physical disability that prevents him or her from working may want to consider consulting an experienced Ohio disability lawyer.

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