Boston Anorexia Sufferers May Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance

Every time Laura Willmott stared into the mirror, she saw a young woman who was grossly overweight and needed to become more disciplined in shedding the pounds. faceinthedark.jpg

In reality, Wilmott was only 99 pounds, her skewed personal perception a symptom of her illness, anorexia nervosa. The British 18-year-old recently died after collapsing from cardiac arrest, after spending the last five years starving herself.

Our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys know that anyone who is familiar with this heartbreaking disease knows that it takes every ounce of energy to fight. Although it manifests itself in the severe reduction of food intake, the Mayo Clinic purports it is more about a distortion of coping with emotional problems.

As such, the disability impairment listing for this disease falls under section 12.00 mental disorders, specifically, section 12.07, somatoform disorders.

(Note: For those under 18, it is possible to obtain Supplemental Security Income for anorexia nervosa, but primarily our focus in this article is adult sufferers.)

A somatoform disorder is one in which there are clear physical symptoms, but there is no demonstrable organic findings or physiological causes for it. In order to qualify, the person has to have had a history of multiple physical symptoms over the course of several years – beginning before age 30 – that would have caused an intense frequency of medication, doctor visits or significantly-altered life patterns. Alternatively, there would have to a be a non-organic disturbance of vision or speech or hearing or use of a limb or movement or sensation or an unrealistic belief that he or she is overweight that would result in at least two of the following:

  • Major restrictions in daily living activities;
  • Major difficulties in keeping up with social functioning;
  • Major problems maintaining concentration and persistence;
  • Repeated episodes of the condition worsening, each for an extended period of time.

Short-term effects of eating disorders might include a yellowing or dryness of the skin, emaciation, abdominal pain and constipation, dizziness and fatigue, anemia and lowered blood pressure, depression and social withdrawal. Long-term, the stresses to one’s body caused by eating disorders can result in a weakening of the bones and damage to major organs, including your kidneys, heart and brain.

Adults who are working to recover from anorexia or other eating disorders may be especially emotionally fragile. They can’t afford not to obtain benefits, but at the same time, the process of applying would be difficult and emotionally-draining for anyone. That’s where having an experienced Boston SSDI lawyer can be invaluable. We will help you gather all the necessary information – psychiatric testing and reports, lab tests, extensive individual reports, medical doctor evaluations, etc. – to help bolster your chances of a successful claim.

We want you to focus on recovery. Let us handle the rest.

If you are considering filing for SSDI in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:
‘Bright and beautiful’ teenager died from anorexia after harrowing five-year battle, Feb. 21, 2013, By Eleanor Harding, The Daily Mail
More Blog Entries:
Chronic Asthma Sufferers in Boston Can Obtain SSDI Benefits, Feb. 14, 2013, Boston Social Security Disability Lawyer Blog

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