Diabetes and Disability

Diabetes is quite a common condition in today's world where not much attention is given to diet and exercise. Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin in order to process glucose in the body. Diabetes is quite a controllable condition which can be taken care of with diet and medications although a permanent cure is difficult. With passage of time, the body's inability to produce insulin gets even worse which may result in gradual damage to the vital structures of the body.

Disability Benefits for Diabetes

Diabetes is of two types, Type-1 and Type 2. An individual affected with diabetes will experience frequent urination, unusually hungry, feel thirsty all the time, and will be extremely lethargic. With progression of the diabetes from Type-1 to Type-2, the individual will start feeling tingling, numbness and paresthesias going down the extremities. The individual will also suffer from frequent infections and will have slow healing cuts or bruises. Diabetes can affect various vital organs of the body including eyes, heart, kidneys, and circulatory system of the body. Some of the complications of diabetes are diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy, diabetic neuropathy, hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, stroke and the like. When such complications start to occur, it becomes more and more difficult for the individual to keep working as the body is not able to keep pace with the physical demands of the job. When this occurs, the individual may apply for social security disability benefits on account of the functional limitations caused due to diabetes.

What Does SSA Look for in Cases Related to SSD/SSI Benefits for Diabetes?

Now coming to the question of whether a person can get SSI/SSD benefits due to Diabetes, then the answer is yes provided that the claimant has been having inadequately controlled diabetes for at least a year if not more preventing the claimant from working. The claimant needs to prove that the diabetes has severely affected the ability of the claimant to work under any capacity. Additionally, the claimant should have complications of diabetes that have been mentioned in the guidelines specified by the SSA for Diabetes. Disability Benefits will not be granted for claimant's who have been noncompliant with the treatments prescribed by the treating physician.

What are the Chances of Getting Social Security Disability Benefits for Diabetes?

The SSA has a set of guidelines specified for qualifying for disability benefits due to various conditions. It is quite unfortunate but diabetes is not included in the list of disease conditions which qualify for disability benefits meaning that if a claimant applies for disability just for diabetes then the claim will not be granted unless the claimant can prove that he/she has complications from diabetes which have been mentioned in the guidelines which prevent the claimant from working under any capacity. Once the claimant meets any of the guidelines mentioned in the rule book then the claimant automatically qualifies for SSD/SSI benefits. The following are the list of complications of diabetes which can help you qualify for SSD/SSI benefits:

Diabetic Retinopathy: The claimant suffers from diabetic retinopathy because of which the claimant has a poor vision in both eyes and a poor peripheral vision, despite having undergone a surgery to correct the problem.

Diabetic Nephropathy: The claimant suffers from this condition in which the kidneys develop inability to filter the blood requiring the claimant to undergo dialysis on a daily basis then the claimant may qualify for SSD/SSI benefits.

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: This condition is caused due to damage to the nerves caused due to diabetes in the hands, feet, and legs but to qualify under this condition the claimant will have to prove how this condition has negatively impacted the claimant's ability to sit, stand, and walk for a consistent period of time.

Cardiovascular Complications: It is well known that diabetes can result in severe cardiovascular abnormalities like stroke, heart failure, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias. In case if the claimant has any of these problems as a result of diabetes then the claimant can qualify for SSD/SSI benefits.

Poor Skin Healing and Ulcerations: If the claimant suffers from this condition where there is poor healing of the skin from even a small cut or bruise and have skin lesions which last for more than three months even with treatment then the claimant may qualify for SSD/SSI disability benefits.

Amputation of Limb: If the claimant has had an amputation of an extremity due to poor circulation to the extremity as a result of diabetes then the claimant may qualify for SSD/SSI benefits.

Since these complications are quite extreme, in most of the cases the claimant does not qualify for any of the above mentioned complications. The SSA then calculates the Residual Functional Capacity or RFC of the claimant through which it decides whether the claimant is capable of working in a light or medium work capacity. In case if the claimant has a concomitant disorder of either obesity or depression or any other medical condition along with diabetes then the SSA will take a cumulative affect of all the three conditions on the ability to work before deciding on the disability claim. The SSA will look for medical records mentioning how well the claimant is able to use the hands or feet and how much the condition has progressed impeding the claimant's ability to work. Once the RFC of the claimant has been determined by the SSA, the SSA will then look for jobs best suited for the claimant. In case of the complications are severe enough that the claimant does not fit into any category even after calculating the RFC then the claimant may be granted SSD/SSI benefits.

Why is it Important to Hire an SSD Attorney for Winning Disability Benefits for Diabetes?

Even if a claimant has enough documented evidence favoring his or her claim, if it is not presented in an appropriate way, the claimant may not be able to get the decision in his or her favor. For this, the claimant needs to hire an experienced attorney who can prepare and present the claimant's case in the best possible way so that Disability Benefit is granted, as the attorney has significant knowledge as to what the judge might require of the claimant during the hearing and what are the other relevant information that needs to be furnished in front of the judge at the time of hearing to win a disability claim for diabetes. It should be noted here that an SSD attorney gets paid only after the claimant has been granted disability benefit, thus the attorney does all he or she can to get the claimant disability benefits for diabetes.


In summary, an individual with a confirmed diagnosis of Diabetes, and or accompanied with other medical conditions, with complications to such an extent that he or she is unable to be gainfully employed in any position and has enough credible evidence in medical records supporting his or her claim needs to work in close relationship with his or her treating physician and an experienced SSD attorney so as to get qualified for Social Security Disability Benefits due to Diabetes and its complications thereof.

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Last Modified On: July 22, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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