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Anorexia & Eating Disorders Can Be Disabling

eating disorder


The SSA has added eating disorders to their disability criteria in the listed impairments.  If you have an eating disorder that impacts you physically or mentally, it is possible that you could be granted disability benefits.  For example, if you have Anorexia, you may have difficulty with your memory, interacting with others, and concentrating. If you can’t concentrate or remember instructions, you may be unable to work.

You must have objective medical evidence to present to the SSA about you impairment. In the case of an eating disorder, this evidence should be from your treating doctors. For example, you may have evidence from your psychologist that would help. Likewise, you may have records from a treating counselor. Additionally, your primary care doctor should record your weight over a 12 month period.

If you have anorexia or bulimia, the same advice applies. The most important thing you can do for yourself is seek treatment. You will need a record of any hospitalization and any visit to your doctors. The SSA will ask you to provide the names and addresses of your treating providers. Additionally, you will need to provide a list of your medications. It is possible that your eating disorder is a life-long problem. Therefore, it is smart to start collecting your medical information now. Because you will want to submit all of it to the SSA.

It is also important for you to understand how the SSA will evaluate your disability. They will use the listed impairments. The listed impairments is a “list” of the impairments that the SSA considers to be disabling. Below please find the criteria for eating disorders that the SSA considers.


12.13 Eating disorders (see 12.00B10), satisfied by A and B:

  1. Medical documentation of a persistent alteration in eating or eating-related behavior that results in a change in consumption or absorption of food and that significantly impairs physical or psychological health.


  1. Extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning (see 12.00F):
    1. Understand, remember, or apply information (see 12.00E1).
    2. Interact with others (see 12.00E2).
    3. Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace (see 12.00E3).
    4. Adapt or manage oneself (see 12.00E4).


If you feel you cannot work due to a disabling eating disorder, contact our office for help. Contact Cannon Disability Law at 801-322-2121. We can often tell you over the phone whether or not you qualify for disability benefits. If you have worked consistently, you may qualify for SSD benefits. If you do not have a work history, you may still be eligible for SSI benefits. You can apply for disability benefits online at
Cannon Disability Law serves clients in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, California, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon. Wherever you live, we can come to you. If the SSA schedules a hearing for you, it will be near your home and we will travel to where you live to assist you. We will answer your questions for free with no obligation for you to become our client.
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