Can You Receive Disability Benefits for Anorexia?

By November 19, 2021 No Comments

Eating disorders can come with an array of potentially debilitating physical and mental symptoms. If these symptoms become so severe that they prevent you from working full-time, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

In the “Blue Book” Listing of Impairments, the SSA lists eating disorders under 12.13, but applicants who seek benefits for these conditions may face a lengthy and uphill battle. Having a knowledgeable Willamette Valley disability attorney by your side may help, as experienced legal representation can be advantageous if your application is denied.

How the SSA Describes Eating Disorders

The SSA describes these as “characterized by disturbances in eating behavior and preoccupation with, and excessive self-evaluation of, body weight and shape.”

There are various symptoms associated with anorexia, including low or lost energy, binge eating, excessive vomiting (potentially self-induced), excessive exercise, and social or developmental problems. Anorexia may also occur in conjunction with bulimia.

These disorders can also cause a wide variety of other severe symptoms and complications, including:

  • Bone problems
  • Organ failure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hormonal changes
  • Mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression
  • Difficulty concentrating or organizing thoughts
  • Seizures
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Anemia
  • Decreased production of blood cells (pancytopenia)
  • Heart issues
  • Reduced blood flow and pressure
  • Electrolyte imbalance

Applying for Social Security Benefits for Eating Disorders

Applicants must show that their condition prevents them from maintaining full-time work for at least 12 months. Detailed medical records can help convey the severity of an eating disorder. A claimant’s doctor could complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form on the claimant’s behalf, outlining a diagnosis and prognosis along with how the symptoms of the disorder affect their ability to work.


However, this is just a broad overview of how anorexia may qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits or SSI. An initial denial is fairly common if the disorder is not appropriately documented. If you’ve been denied in Oregon, it may be time to consult a Social Security attorney. For those in Eugene or Albany, call Drew L. Johnson, P.C. today at (541) 434-6466 to learn more and schedule a free consultation.