Diabetes Can Lead To Disability Benefits

by Editorial Board on May 10, 2011 · 0 comments

in Endocrine System

The incidence of Diabetes is on the rise all over the world. In 2007 about 7.8% of the U.S population was reported to be diabetic. The important fact to consider here is that about 5.7 million people are still undiagnosed and 57 million people are in the pre-diabetes phase.

Applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Social Security Income (SSI) can file an application if they have diabetes and resulting impairments that prevent them from working.  Diabetes is part of the Social Security Administration’s blue book of listings which describes the level of severity of diabetes for the listing to be met, and benefits to be awarded.  However, patients with diabetes and no serious complications due to diabetes will not meet the listing level, or win based on the listing rule.

Diabetic patients may found to be disabled under the listing if severe kidney disease is present due to the diabetes. Patients who require dialysis due to chronic kidney failure are considered disabled by meeting the listing. If someone has a kidney transplant, he or she will be considered disabled for 12 months after which the case will be reevaluated to determine the level of impairment. Many listing rules depend on various test results including laboratory evaluation of kidney functions to determine the level of impairment present.

A patient with weight loss, persistent anorexia with serum creatinine levels over 4 mg/dL for at least 3 months will also meet a listing. Similarly, if diabetes remains uncontrolled due to improper function of the pancreas with repeated episodes of hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, or ketosis and weight loss than a listing is met.

Neuropathy is common in patients with severe or prolonged diabetes. If a diabetic patient has neuropathy with severe and sustained inability to use hands for work or limit standing or walking, those limitations will be considered in evaluating a claimant’s disability.  Another area where diabetes often produces limitations is with vision.

Retinopathy is a general term used to denote some form of non-inflammatory damage to the retina of the eye. Retinopathy is also a common symptom in diabetic patients. It is evaluated like any other vision impairment. If a diabetic patient has a major vision loss then they could possibly win benefits under a listing rule. Some patients with advanced and uncontrolled diabetes face amputation of upper or lower extremities. Certain amputations are considered disabling under listing rules.

Not everyone with diabetes will win disability benefits because of their diabetes, but some people are disabled because of the problems and limitations they have from diabetes.  Social Security does consider all of your severe impairments to decide if you are disabled or not, and so even if you do not meet a listing for any one impairment you can still win under other rules within the five step sequential disability evaluation process.

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