To the VA obesity is not a disability that qualifies for compensation. To qualify for disability, the VA says, a veteran must prove that there was an event during their time in service that caused their impairment. Obesity occurs over time, they say, and is the result of many factors including poor eating habits and a lack of physical activity.

However, the VA has recognized obesity as an intermediate step in establishing service-connection for a secondary condition. The agency has established a three-part test for obesity as an intermediate step and it goes like this: Did a service connected disability cause a veteran’s obesity? If so, then was the obesity a substantial factor in the veteran developing a secondary non-service connected disability? If the answer is yes, the final test is: Would the veteran’s non-service connected disability have occurred on its own, if there was no substantial weight gain?

The bottom line is that if you served in the military you can get indirect VA disability benefits for obesity, but the path to benefits is difficult to navigate. For more information see our video on this subject at





Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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