Can You Get Disability for Diabetes?

Uncontrolled diabetes and associated symptoms such as peripheral neuropathy or poor vision can qualify a person for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits. Although well-controlled diabetes with medication may not be enough to support a successful application, most people with diabetes also have other related medical issues that limit their ability to function normally. Diabetes for the purposes of obtaining disability benefits is classified into two types: Type 1 and Type 2. 

Types of Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic medical disorder in which the body’s ability to absorb glucose is impaired. Blood sugar levels increase when the pancreas fails to generate enough insulin, a hormone that sends signals to other body cells to consume excess glucose.

Elevated blood sugar levels can often be managed with medication and diet, but persistently elevated blood sugar levels can cause neuropathy (nerve damage) in the extremities, resulting in numbness, burning, and tingling. Cardiovascular disease, renal disorders, skin infections, and vision changes are also symptoms. You can seek Diabetes Disability Benefits when prolonged and uncontrolled diabetes causes disability. You will have to document the condition through treatment with a licensed physician. The following is more information about both types of diabetes.

  • Type-1 Diabetes

Type 1, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, usually develops in infancy and necessitates regular insulin injections and blood sugar monitoring. Type 1 diabetes disability affects people who are unable to produce the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes affects just about five to ten percent of diabetic people.

  • Type-2 Diabetes

Type 2, also known as adult-onset diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus, develops when the body’s cells become insulin-resistant and thus fail to absorb enough glucose. Obesity, high blood pressure, and a sedentary lifestyle are all closely linked to type 2 diabetes, which is most common in people over 45. Type 2 diabetes disability is often caused by a variety of environmental and genetic factors. Endocrinologists are responsible for diagnosing and treating this condition by prescribing medicine, blood sugar monitoring, and lifestyle modifications to help stabilize the condition. 

Most people can function in a range of capacities, from sitting at a desk to laborious construction work; however, chronic uncontrolled diabetes can result in severe complications limiting one’s ability to function normally. You might be eligible for monetary benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you have disabling conditions related to diabetes. However, if you are 50 or above and diabetes has turned you disabled, Disability Benefits Over 50 should be your option. Eligibility criteria are different for people belonging to this age group.

Is Diabetes A Disability?

Endocrine conditions, such as diabetes, were excluded from the SSA’s Blue Book in 2011.  The SSA Blue Book is a list of impairments that makes it easier to identify qualifying disability conditions and therefore streamline the decision process. As a result, eligibility for disability benefits based only on a diagnosis of diabetes is no longer possible, but depending on the seriousness of your symptoms, you may be able to demonstrate related disabling criteria required by the SSA. 

getting disability benefits for diabetes

For example, a person can meet the criteria for Listing 11.14 for peripheral neuropathy if, after treatment, they experience involuntary movements, tremors, or partial paralysis in two extremities, making walking or using hands difficult. Listing 2.02 applies to diabetic retinopathy that causes vision loss of less than 20/200 in the better eye. Other diabetes complications, such as kidney failure, cardiovascular problems, or amputation of a leg, may meet the criteria of one of the Blue Book listings. Note that diabetic children under the age of 6 who need regular insulin or 24-hour monitoring (depending on the child’s age) may meet Listing 109.08. A knowledgeable disability attorney can help you identify disability benefits for qualifying children.

Qualifying for a Medical-Vocational Allowance

Medical-Vocational Allowance is one of the most common ways to obtain disability compensation approval. If your diabetes symptoms prohibit you from working at your previous job or some other job in the economy, you might be eligible for compensation under a medical-vocational allowance.

You may be entitled to either of these benefits for your disability due to Diabetes:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)- You may be entitled to SSDI if you have worked for five of the last 10 years and meet SSA criteria for disability. SSDI offers financial assistance to provide an income if treatment is ineffective and you are unable to work. If you receive SSDI, you can also qualify for Medicare and prescription drug assistance also. 
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)- What if you have a low income and few assets, but do not have a qualifying work history to establish SSDI benefits? You may be eligible for SSI if you are under the financial threshold prescribed by SSA.  SSI pays a monthly stipend to assist with daily necessities, such as food and shelter. Children who qualify for SSI may also be eligible for Medicaid, a low-income healthcare program.

Disabilities Come in Various Forms

Why would diabetes be considered a disease even when treatment places it under control? According to the World Health Organization, a disability has three components:

  • Impairment- This refers to an issue with the body and how it functions, as well as your mental function, such as vision or memory loss.
  • Activity Restrictions- That you have a difficult time doing something that non-disabled people can do. This may have anything to do with vision, hearing, walking, or problem-solving.
  • Restrictions on Participation- This means you would not be able to participate in everyday tasks as freely as you would if you were not disabled. Working, social events, and personal grooming are only a few examples.

When Should I Consult an Attorney?

“The sooner, the better” is a good general rule to follow when it comes to legal matters, especially those that affect your health and economic security. You can contact a disability attorney for a free consultation if you are thinking about applying for disability benefits from SSA. A lawyer will help you assess the strength of your case and guide you through the initial application process. Although some people prefer to go through this stage without legal assistance, having a lawyer on your side increases your chances of getting disability for diabetes

Disability lawyers know how to approach a case in the most favorable light for their clients, from the initial filing to the hearing stage and beyond. A lawyer will help you obtain relevant medical evidence that allows the Social Security Administration to easily review your application, including documentation of the onset date of disability, and evidence that your condition meets the criteria of impairments listed in Social Security’s Blue Book.

Your lawyer should gather and send relevant medical information, obtain an opinion from your doctor, prepare a concise brief to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and prepare you for the judge’s questions at the reconsideration and hearing levels (the first and second stage of appeal in most states). Consult an experienced attorney and discuss your disability issues due to diabetes today.

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