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Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Effects of Obesity on an Injury

The impact of morbid obesity on the residuals of an injury that occurred at work is to be considered when evaluating an individual’s eligibility for Social Security disability.

A Federal District Court judge recently ruled that even though obesity alone is not itself a “listed impairment,” a hearing official must analyze its effects on the residuals of an injury.

The case involved a 50-year-old man who sustained a severe injury at work involving his back and neck. After the accident, the worker gained weight, reaching 400 pounds. 

The court, in its decision, cited recent Social Security Rulings (SSR 00-3p) that obesity is to be considered in the course of an analysis of disability. The reasoned that obesity needs to be evaluated to determine it, alone or in combination with other impairments, significantly limits the disabled person’s ability mentally or physically. That analysis includes whether obesity increases restrictions on weight-bearing joints or contributes to limitations on the range of motion.

The court remanded the matter for further analysis by the Administrative Law Judge.

Dale v. Kilolo Kijakazi,  No. 1:21-cv-02567, 2022 WL 901383, (US DCT NJ), Decided March 28, 2022.

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L.,  The Effects of Obesity on an Injury, Workers' Compensation Blog, Mar  31, 2022),

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Blog: Workers ' Compensation

Twitter: jongelman

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Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" Thomson-Reuters