Diabetes Disability


Can diabetes be considered disabling?

Diabetes is a condition which occurs when the body does not process glucose properly.  Both Type I and Type II diabetes can be considered disabling conditions if they result in an inability to perform work at substantial levels. 

In analyzing a diabetes claim, the Social Security Administration looks at the complications that arise from your diabetes and how those complications affect you and your work capacity.  If your condition meets certain criteria you can be automatically considered disabled and entitled to benefits.  If you do not meet that criteria but it is determined that your diabetic condition or complications would prevent you from being able to sustain significant employment you will also be considered disabled and entitled to benefits.

Diabetes Evaluation

Social Security will evaluate the various body systems that are affected by your diabetes and determine if you meet specific criteria (listings) related to that body system. 

Vision Issues

For example, if you suffer from diabetic retinopathy, you are considered disabled if your uncorrected vision in your best eye is 20/200 or worse. They will also consider poor peripheral vision or blind spots in your vision.  Even if your vision is better than 20/200 you may be able to argue that your visual impairment prevents you from being able to sustain employment. 

An attorney who is experienced with disability claims can be very helpful in making those arguments.

Kidney Impairment

Other areas that are considered in evaluating diabetes as a disabling condition include kidney impairment which is evaluated by determining the levels of creatine or protein in your blood and cardiac impairments.  

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage in the hands or feet is a very common and often severe complication from diabetes.  It is important to document how neuropathy causes a significant disruption of your ability to stand, walk, lift and use your upper extremities for reaching, handling and using your fingers. 

Diabetic Complications

Amputations due to diabetic complications are considered and are often grounds for a finding of disability and entitlement to benefits.  Poorly healing skin and bacterial infections which occur on a continual or frequent basis can also lead to a finding of disability. 

Diabetic complications can be quite complex and these are only a few examples.  It is important to be sure that the names of all of your medical providers are provided with your application so that the Social Security Administration can get a complete understanding of your condition.

Functional Capacity

If diabetic complications don’t meet specific rules or standards for disability, the Social Security Administration will do a complete analysis of your functional capacity by making a determination of the kinds of activity that you are able to do despite your illness.  They will review your medical records and any opinions from your treating doctors and make a determination of both your physical capacities in relation to your ability to sit, stand, walk, lift and use your upper extremities. 

The Social Security Administration will also do an analysis of any impairment in your ability to focus on tasks, maintain a work pace, get along with others and attend work on a consistent basis.  If it is determined that you would be unable to sustain employment you will generally be considered entitled to benefits. 

An experienced attorney can be extremely helpful in making certain that the Social Security Administration understands the nature and severity of your impairments and your entitlement to benefits.

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