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In 2017, the Social Security Administration added a new listing to the Blue Book Listing of Impairments. Section 12.13 allows people with eating disorders to qualify for Social Security disability benefits if they meet the criteria of that section, but this is not the only way to qualify for benefits.

Three Ways to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits if You Have an Eating Disorder

You may qualify for disability benefits if you meet the requirements of Section 12.13, if you meet the requirements of another section of the Blue Book, or if you are unable to work.

Section 12.13: The Eating Disorder Listing

In order to qualify pursuant to this listing, you must have medical documentation to prove that you have a “persistent alteration in eating or eating-related behavior that results in a change in consumption or absorption of food and that significantly impairs your physical or psychological health” and you must prove that you have an extreme limitation of one or a marked limitation of two of the following: (1) the ability to understand, remember, or apply information; (2) the ability to interact with others; (3) the ability to concentrate, persist, or maintain pace; or (4) the ability to adapt or manage yourself.

Other Listings of Impairments

Sometimes people with anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or other eating disorders suffer from significant health complications. These complications can include cardiovascular problems, hormone problems, neurological problems, psychological problems, organ failure, and other serious health issues. Many of these conditions have their own listings in the Listing of Impairments. A person with an eating disorder may not qualify pursuant to Listing 12.13 but may qualify for disability benefits pursuant to one of these listings.

Residual Functional Capacity

The Social Security Administration does not require that every applicant meet a specific listing in the Listing of Impairments. Instead, you may qualify for benefits if you can prove that you can’t engage in substantial gainful employment because of your health condition. You will need to prove that your medical condition, together with your age, education, and work experience make you unable to work any job that earns you enough to qualify as substantial gainful employment.

Are You Ready to Apply for Disability Benefits?

Before you apply for benefits, it is important to know that you are going to need documentation from your healthcare providers. Medical evidence may include information from your medical doctors, psychologists, social workers, and mental health counselors. Other important evidence may come from you, people who know you well, and your previous employers.

It can be challenging to get the benefits you deserve if you suffer from anorexia, bulimia, a binge-eating disorder, or an avoidant/restrictive food disorder. However, the effects of these eating disorders can be disabling or even fatal. Our experienced Social Security disability lawyers are committed to helping people with disabilities get the fair benefits they’ve earned. Please contact us today via this website or by phone to learn more about protecting your rights and the benefits that you’ve earned.

Morgan & Weisbrod LLP

by Paul B. Burkhalter
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.


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