Can I get disability if I have Diabetes?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 30.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, or 9.4% of the population, while 84.1 million people have prediabetes. In 2015, diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the country. Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through diet, physical activity, and the use of insulin and medications, but if left untreated can lead to complications that include vision loss, heart disease, kidney failure, amputation of feet and legs, and even premature death.
Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases that affects how the body uses glucose, a simple sugar found in food that provides essential energy to the body’s cells.
When a person eats, the pancreas releases insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, into the bloodstream, enabling cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream and store excess sugar in the liver until it is needed; for example, during physical activity.
There are two main types of diabetes.
Type 1 usually occurs in children and teenagers and is sometimes called juvenile diabetes. In this type, the body does not produce any insulin, and the person will need to take insulin injections. Type 2 typically develops in adults, but more and more children are being diagnosed with this form of the disease. In this type, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin as it should. This condition is progressive; the longer a person has Type 2, the more likely they will need insulin to maintain blood sugar levels.
Contact a Social Security disability attorney at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and see if you can get disability benefits while suffering from Diabetes. If you have been denied disability don’t give up!
Gestational Diabetes develops during pregnancy and causes high blood sugar that can affect both the mother and baby.
There are usually no noticeable signs or symptoms and it is diagnosed during normal prenatal care. Prediabetes is a condition where the body’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. However, there is an increased risk of developing diabetes which can be prevented by diet, exercise and weight control.
The symptoms for diabetes vary according to how high a person’s blood sugar levels are; some people with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes many not experience any symptoms at all.
Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes develop quickly and are more severe.
Common symptoms for all types include the following:
- Increased thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Unexplained weight loss
- Slow healing sores
- Frequent infections
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system destroys insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.
It may also be caused by genes and viruses or other environmental factors that trigger the disease. The more common Type 2 diabetes is caused by a variety of factors that are predominantly related to lifestyle.
Among the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are:
- High blood pressure
- Family history
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Increasing age
- Impaired glucose tolerance
Diabetes can be diagnosed with a number of glucose tolerance tests that measure blood sugar levels and may involve fasting.
Though there is no current cure for diabetes, the disease can be managed through diet, exercise and insulin injections. The goal of treatment is to keep the body’s glucose level normal and to avoid rapid fluctuations.
The Social Security Administration recognizes diabetes as an Endocrine Disorder under Section 9.00, but does not list diabetes separately as an impairment, so a diagnosis of diabetes will not automatically guarantee approval for benefits.
In order to qualify for benefits, you must have complications from diabetes that fall under another disability listing.
Some complications resulting from diabetes that may qualify for disability are:
- Diabetic nephropathy (Section 6.06) – kidney disease
- Diabetic retinopathy (Section 2.00) – vision loss
- Diabetic peripheral neuropathies (Section 11.4) – nerve damage in feet, hands or arms
- Cardiovascular problems. (Section 4.04) – coronary artery disease and other heart problems
- Poorly healing skin and chronic skin infections (Section 8.04)
- Amputation of an extremity (Section 1.05) – due to poor circulation and nerve damage from diabetes
Because complications must be severe to qualify for disability; most people who apply for disability from diabetes are not approved.
In these cases, Social Security will test an applicant’s residual functioning capacity to determine whether diabetes limits their ability to work. If the applicant has diabetes and another impairment, such as obesity, Social Security will consider the combined effects of the impairments.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you will need to satisfy a few specific requirements in two categories as determined by the Social Security Administration.
The first category is the Work Requirements which has two tests.
- The Duration of Work test. Whether you have worked long enough to be covered under SSDI.
- The Current Work Test. Whether you worked recently enough for the work to actually count toward coverage.
The second category is the Medical Eligibility Requirement.
- Are you working? Your disability must be “total”.
- Is your medical condition severe? Your disability must be “severe” enough to interfere with your ability to perform basic work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, and remembering.
- Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments? The SSA has a “List of Impairments” that automatically qualify as “severe” disabilities. If your disease is not listed this does not mean you cannot get disability, it means you must prove you cannot maintain employment due to your limitations.
- Can you do the work you did before? SSDI rules look at whether your medical condition prevents you from doing the work you did prior to developing the condition.
- Can you do any other type of work? If you cannot do your prior work, an evaluation is made as to whether you can perform any other kind of work.
More details can be found on our Qualifying for Disability page.
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits for diabetes and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
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