If you suffer from diabetes and your symptoms limit your daily activities and are preventing you from working, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
If you are unable to control your diabetes, and your symptoms have been prevented from working for at least 12 months, or your symptoms are likely to prevent you from working for at least 12 months, then you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability (SSDI/SSD) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. To qualify for disability benefits, your medical evidence must demonstrate that your symptoms severely limit the activities you are able to perform or your symptoms must be severe enough to meet or medically equal the requirements of one of Social Security's disability listings.
It is important that you follow all of your doctor’s instructions regarding your treatment – especially your diet and medications. If your diabetic symptoms are caused by or made worse because you do not follow your doctor's instructions, you may be “non-compliant” and may not qualify for benefits.
You should be familiar with the Social Security Administration’s most recent Ruling concerning Diabetes Mellitus – SSR 14-2p. The Ruling was intended to “provide information about the types of impairments and limitations that result from Diabetes Mellitus (DM).”
In June, 2011, the Social Security Administration removed diabetes from the list of Adult Impairments, noting the significant medical advances in diagnosing and treating patients. The Ruling provides a discussion concerning the differences between Type I diabetes (presently known as Juvenile Diabetes) and Type II diabetes (presently referred to as adult onset or insulin dependent diabetes).
The Ruling also discusses a number of the chronic complications commonly associated with diabetes, including hyperglycemia, diabetic neuropathy, retinopathy and obesity. Specially, SSR 14-2 acknowledges that an individual suffering from diabetes and obesity may suffer from more severe complications than normally found in individuals suffering from only one of the conditions.
Of special note is the discussion of children with diabetes. SSR 14-2p provides a Childhood Listing finding that children under 6 years old who require daily insulin are presumed to be totally disabled. If a child is not under the age of 6 and does not require daily insulin, the analysis of the child’s claim will follow the same analysis as an adult claim. What are the child’s symptoms and how do the symptoms impact the child’s day to day activities.
SSR 14-2p also provides a description of possible work-related limitations that may be considered when addressing an individual’s Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). The Ruling lists fatigue, difficulty with concentration, difficulty walking and difficulty with operating foot controls or manipulating objects as potential limitations.
If you are considering filing an application for disability benefits because you suffer from diabetes, it is important that you are prepared to file the most complete application possible to give yourself the best opportunity to be approved for benefits. Incomplete applications and applications that do not include all of your important medical evidence may be denied and cause unnecessary delays or the loss of benefits. If your application is denied, you must file an appeal within the allowed appeal period. You must also begin to prepare for your hearing before an administrative law judge. We assist our clients in completing their initial application and representing them at hearings before administrative law judges.