Is being Overweight a Disability?

Calling obesity the mother of all diseases is not an exaggeration. Living as an overweight person is not an easy task.

From physical health to your mental health, everything is deeply affected by your body weight. But how is being overweight a disability? This is an interesting question to answer!

According to Marham, an overweight person faces a lot of challenges in daily life.

From body shaming to difficulty in finding your exact size, an obese person has to struggle to adjust to a society that is deeply influenced by different beauty standards. 

Morbid Obesity and Your Social Security Disability Claim

What is obesity? 

What is obesity? 

Obesity is the medical term that is used to describe a medical condition in which a person is overweight due to extreme fat in the body. A person who has obesity is known as an obese man or obese woman.

Obesity is not gender or age-related. Rather, it can be seen among individuals of any age. Obesity in children is a very alarming situation that is prevailing all around the world. 

What are the causes of Obesity? 

There are various reasons and causes behind being obese. Knowing the medical and family history of an obese person is very important. In most cases, the following factors are responsible for obesity;

  • A family history that includes genetics 
  • Medical history means you may have an underlying medical condition that is causing an increase in your weight. For example, having an endocrine disease, hormonal imbalance, mental illness, etc.  
  • Obesity is a side effect of any medication, for example, chemotherapy medicines, immunosuppressants, etc.   
  • A lifestyle that includes your dietary choices.

When did Obesity become a Disability?

When did Obesity become a Disability?

Obesity becomes a disability in different ways. Sometimes it appears as a physical disability for an obese person, and sometimes it is like a mental disability in the form of low self-esteem. 

Morbid obesity is the term used for obese people whose body weight is more than 80–90 pounds above their ideal body weight.

It is determined by calculating the exact body mass index (BMI) of the person. Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher indicates obesity, while a BMI of 40 or more is considered morbid obesity.

Obesity becomes a disability when you cannot run like a normal person or you cannot sit properly on a chair or sofa that is supposed to fit you.

If your body weight reaches a point where it puts undue strain on your joints, your ability to breathe, and your vital organs like the heart and lungs, it becomes difficult to sustain an active lifestyle and may even prevent normal mobility.

In most cases, people cannot perform their usual jobs due to their high body mass index (BMI). 

The incidence of morbid disability has been increasing in the USA in recent years. According to research, almost 30 percent of the total population is obese at this time.

This is an alarming situation. That needs to be addressed at the right time. Otherwise, obesity disabilities become very common among young adults and children. 

Do Obese People have any Disability Benefits?

Before 1999, the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the U.S, which is a government agency that administers social programs covering disability, retirement, and survivors’ benefits, along with other services, considered obesity as a disability.

And an obese person can qualify for the obesity disability benefits from SSA. But the rules have changed in the new century, and now people have to prove their disability to perform any specific task, along with obesity. 

The overweight candidates must demonstrate how their weight is preventing them from working. The modification asked applicants to demonstrate how their weight interfered with their capability to work. 

Obesity Disability Benefits

Obese people can occasionally meet the medical requirements for Social Security disability benefits.

These include situations where an obese person’s BMI is so high that they are unable to walk, move about, or carry out simple daily duties like dressing or bathing, or preparing food.

Obese people can also apply for obesity disability benefits, with proof of diagnosis of health conditions like diabetes, joint problems, heart problems, strokes, etc. 

With these disability benefits, you can get financial aid from the federal government of the U.S.

If you are working a job while being obese, you might face many challenges related to your health and need financial support to afford medical assistance. 

On the other hand, you might not be able to do work or earn as much as other healthy people can, so you need financial assistance from the government. 

In morbid obesity cases, where people are unable to do any job, the SSA will benefit you by providing financial help according to your daily expenses and medical bills. 

Many complications are related to obesity and disability due to your high BMI. Health complications may include; 

  • Uncontrolled diabetes 
  • Stroke 
  • Abnormally high hormone levels
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Obesity-related depression

Complications related to your daily lifestyle; 

  • Inability to do any job
  • Inability to perform your house chores 
  • Difficulty in walking 
  • Difficulty in traveling
  • Social unacceptance

Obesity is considered a combination of many diseases. It is an inflammatory disease that includes other health problems.

To prevent obesity, it is important to rule out all the risk factors for an individual that may lead to obesity. 

Surgical options are available that helps in treating obese person by removing the excess fat from the body. Bariatric surgeons can perform different surgeries that help in getting rid of obesity. 

But the most important thing is to change the lifestyle that is responsible for obesity. Giving disability benefits to obese people and treating them should be the secondary options.

It is high time to control the risk factors and causes that lead to obesity. As prevention is always better than cure, the health departments should work on campaigns to prevent obesity.

Otherwise, it will become a global issue. 


Obesity is a medical condition in which a person has an abnormally high body mass index (BMI). Obese people show disabilities when other health issues also arise in the obese body.

In the SA, the social security department of the federal government provides disability benefits for obese people, who are unable to perform their daily chores or any job to earn their living.

Obesity also accompanies many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, stroke, etc. that are becoming very common all over the world.

It is high time to take the necessary steps to prevent obesity, obesity-related diseases, and disabilities.