Social Security Disability for Diabetes

There are 2 kinds of Diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, previously referred to as juvenile diabetes, is a deficiency of insulin production.  In the second, Type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes), the body’s cells resist insulin. The major difference between the two is that Type 1 diabetes requires daily insulin, while Type 2 diabetes usually can be controlled by changes in exercise, diet and occasionally insulin or other medication.

Symptoms of both types of diabetes include frequent urination, unusual thirst, and extreme fatigue. Sufferers of type 2 diabetes may experience tingling or numbness in the extremities, frequent infections, and cuts that are slow to heal.

Complications from diabetes include:

  • Retinopathy (eye and vision problems often leading to cataracts and blindness)
  • Nephropathy (kidney disease)
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage) in feet that inhibits walking and makes standing painful
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart disease
  • Peripheral arterial disease (reduced blood flow to your arms and legs)
  • Cellulitis (painful skin infection)

To get Social Security Disability benefits your diabetes must severely limit what you can do or you must experience the complications that fulfill the requirements of one of Social Security’s disability listings. If you have been unable to work for at least 12 months, or you expect that you won’t be able to work for at least 12 months because of your diabetes, then you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a Listing of Impairments that determines how severe an illness must be to qualify for disability benefits. Diabetes is no longer considered under a separate disability listing, and therefore, stating that you have a diagnosis of diabetes won’t automatically get you disability benefits. You must be able to show you experience complications of the disease. If your complications meet the requirements of a listing, you can be automatically approved for benefits before Social Security develops a Residual Functional Capacity for you.

Because Social Security’s disability listings require that the preceding complications be quite severe to qualify for disability, Social Security finds that most people who apply for disability due to diabetes do not meet a listing; however, that should not prevent you from applying for benefits. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney understands what Social Security looks for when awarding benefits for diabetes and can prepare your claim to help you receive the benefits you need.