Can I pursue disability benefits if I have an eating disorder?

Missourians who are suffering from mental illness are often doing so in silence, unaware of how to treat the issue or that they even have it. One mental issue that is prevalent is an eating disorder. Some might perceive this to be a physical problem or not even an illness at all, but the reality is that an eating disorder is classified in the mental illness category by the Social Security Administration when it considers whether a person can receive Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions. Those who are dealing with an eating disorder should be aware that they can seek disability benefits.

An eating disorder is characterized by issues with eating behavior and the person being preoccupied with and excessively evaluating his or her shape or body weight. These individuals might restrict caloric intake when it is compared with what is required for a person of their size. They might take part in binge eating, force themselves to throw up, misuse medication for weight loss or maintenance, have disturbances in mood, be withdrawn socially, have dental issues, show abnormalities in lab tests and have cardiac problems. Examples of known eating disorders people suffer from can be bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating, and avoiding or restricting food intake.

When a person is examined by a medical professional to determine if there is an eating disorder and if disability benefits will be approved, there must be a medical documentation of the alteration of eating habits that leads to a change in how food is consumed or absorbed and that is a significant impairment to the person’s psychological and physical health. There must also be an extreme limitation of at least one of the following or a marked limitation of two of the following: ability in understanding, remembering or applying information; interacting with others; concentrating, persisting, or pacing; and adapting or managing him or herself.

Eating disorders can become so severe that the person is extremely ill and even dies. Getting treatment can be difficult and if the person is simultaneously unaware of the problem and is trying to maintain a façade of normalcy, their life can become difficult. A legal professional who is experienced in helping those who have mental and physical issues pursue Social Security disability benefits can be useful to those with an eating disorder.

Source:, “12.00 Mental Disorders — B. 10. Eating disorders; 12.13,” Oct. 10, 2017

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