Diabetes and Qualifying for Disability Benefits
Can I get disability if I have Diabetes?
Author: Attorney Lonnie Roach
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.
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.
Author: Attorney Lonnie Roach has been practicing law for over 29 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Roach obtained board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lonnie is admitted to practice in the United States District Court - all Texas Districts and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Highly experienced in Long Term Disability denials and appeals governed by the “ERISA” Mr. Roach is a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Austin Bar Association, and is a past the director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association (Director 1999-2005) Mr. Roach and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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