When you suffer from diabetes disability, such as diabetes mellitus, it is something that changes your entire life. You constantly have to watch what kinds of foods you’re eating and how much. You’ll likely need to check your blood sugar on a regular basis and inject yourself with insulin. If you make a mistake, you can suffer a number of consequences, from feeling out of it and urinating frequently to losing a limb, going into a diabetic coma, or even dying.
The Social Security Administration has recognized diabetes as a disabling condition that qualifies for Social Security disability benefits – if you are able to meet certain conditions.
These requirements are set down in their Listings of Impairments, a publication from the SSA that defines each and every disability that they recognize and includes criteria you have to meet in order to get the benefits you need. If you cannot meet the criteria, there’s still another method you can use to attempt to qualify.
Typically called “equivalency,” the secondary method requires you to prove to the SSA that your condition is of at least equal severity to something already included in the Listings. Unfortunately, this is a procedure that’s much more confusing and complicated than simply matching a listing, so you’ll want a lawyer by your side – and it should be something you attempt only after failing to match a listing.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits for Diabetes
The listing for diabetes mellitus is complicated and states that you not only need to prove that you have the disease, but also show evidence of one of the following:
- Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia as relating to diabetes disability.
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis. The SSA will evaluate cardiac arrhythmias under listing 4.00, intestinal necrosis under listing 5.00, and cerebral edema and seizures under listing 11.00. Recurrent episodes of DKA may result from mood or eating disorders, which they evaluate under listing 12.00.
- Chronic Hyperglycemia. The SSA will evaluate the following things under the chronic hyperglycemia heading:
- Diabetic peripheral neurovascular disease that leads to gangrene and subsequent amputation of an extremity under listing 1.00
- Diabetic retinopathy under listing 2.00
- Coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease under listing 4.00
- Diabetic gastroparesis that results in abnormal gastrointestinal motility under listing 5.00
- Diabetic nephropathy under listing 6.00
- Poorly healing bacterial and fungal skin infections under listing 8.00
- Diabetic peripheral and sensory neuropathies under listing 11.00
- Cognitive impairments, depression, and anxiety under listing 12.00.
When You Can’t Meet the SSA’s Criteria for Diabetes Disability
Don’t forget that meeting a listing isn’t the only way you can qualify for benefits for diabetic disability. Plenty of people have been awarded benefits even though they were not able to meet the specific requirements in a listing.
If you decide to try this route, make sure you seek out a knowledgeable disability attorney with a successful track record in this area. He or she will be able to guide you through the Five Step Sequential Evaluation Process and help you to prove to the SSA that your condition has prevented you from working for 12 months or longer. If you are able to do this, you will win the benefits that you need.
If you suffer from diabetes disability and your SSD claim has been denied, ask a lawyer who is Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law to help. Contact the disability team at Marc Whitehead & Associates.