Diabetes and Social Security Disability

Many people call me and ask me if they have a disability case due to their diabetes.   There are two ways to be eligible for social security disability if you have diabetes.   The first is that you meet or equal an impairment listing.   The Social Security Administration has a website with the listings: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm.

The second way is to show that you can no longer work a full-time job based on your limitations, age, education and past work experience.

Many of my clients have diabetes, but they take medication for it and have no limitations from their diabetes. If your diabetes does not cause you any limitations then having diabetes will not help you become eligible for social security disability benefits. Some people, however, suffer from serious complications which may qualify them for social security disability benefits. What are some of the complications?   Here are just some of the complications:

  • Cardiovascular disease: Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of the arteries. If you have diabetes, you are more likely to have heart disease or a stroke.

 

  • Nerve damage (neuropathy): This can cause tingling and numbing in your fingers, toes, arms and feet. You can lose all of the feeling in these areas. If you have nerve damage related to digestion you could experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

 

  • Kidney damage (nephropathy): Diabetes can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease. You may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

 

  • Eye damage (retinopathy): Diabetes can cause visual problems, including blindness and glaucoma.

 

  • Foot damage: Infections can lead to amputation of your toes, feet or legs.

 

  • Hearing impairment: Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.

 

Do any of these complications make you eligible for social security disability benefits? That all depends on whether you meet or equal a listing or whether you can work a full-time job based on the limitations caused by your complications, age, education and past work experience.

If you are an older individual you may meet what is called a grid rule. I discuss what the grid rules are here: grid rules. If you are a younger individual then you may have to show why you cannot work a sedentary job in which you sit most of the time.

For this reason it is best to speak with a disability attorney whom can answer all of your questions and concerns.

Please remember that this is just general information, and everyone’s situation is unique. This article should not be considered legal advice.