If you are unable to work due to a disability, then you may qualify for federal disability benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two types of benefits designed to provide monthly income to individuals who are unable to work because of their disability. Depending on a number of factors, you may qualify for one or both of these programs.
People with diabetes may qualify for SSDI and/or SSI benefits. Typically, an applicant will not be approved for disability benefits for diabetes alone. However, if they have developed one or more medical conditions related to their diabetes, then they may qualify for Social Security benefits if their conditions are sufficiently severe.
Being approved for Social Security disability benefits can be challenging, whether you have diabetes or a related condition. A skilled New Jersey can work with you to help you get the benefits that you need.
How Can I Get Social Security Disability for Diabetes?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a listing of impairments, which includes both medical and mental health conditions that are considered severe enough to prevent a person from working. Diabetes is included on this listing of impairments under endocrine disorders. While the SSA notes that both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are usually well controlled, there may be a number of reasons why a person cannot control fluctuating blood glucose levels.
Most people who qualify for SSDI and/or SSI for diabetes do so because they have been diagnosed with a disabling condition related to the disease. In other words, the SSA typically does not approve a person for disability simply for having diabetes mellitus. Instead, an applicant may qualify for SSDI and/or SSI because their diabetes caused another condition – and that condition is disabling.
The key to being approved for SSDI and/or SSI for diabetes or a related condition is demonstrating how it affects your ability to work. For diabetes mellitus, this may include showing that you cannot work because of the related conditions associated with diabetes. For any of these conditions, you must meet the specific criteria set out in the listing of impairments, and provide evidence of your diagnosis, treatment history, and how your illness affects your ability to work.
Impairments That May Qualify for Diabetes Disability Benefits
Diabetes itself will not typically qualify an individual for SSDI and/or SSI benefits. However, if you have been diagnosed with a condition related to diabetes, and that condition limits your ability to work, then you may be approved for disability benefits.
Diabetes can cause a range of impairments, particularly when it is uncontrolled or poorly controlled. Common conditions linked to diabetes include:
- Cardiac arrhythmias, intestinal necrosis, or cerebral edema and seizures caused by diabetic ketoacidosis.
- A peripheral neurovascular disease that leads to amputation, diabetic retinopathy, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, abnormal gastrointestinal motility caused by diabetic gastroparesis, diabetic nephropathy, poorly healing skin infections, diabetic peripheral and sensory neuropathies, and cognitive impairments such as depression and anxiety caused by chronic hyperglycemia.
- Seizures, loss of consciousness or altered mental status, and cognitive defects caused by hypoglycemia.
Each of these conditions has its own specific requirements for qualifying for disability benefits. For example, a person with diabetes develops diabetic retinopathy or damage to the blood vessels inside of the eye. This can cause a significant loss of peripheral vision and/or visual acuity.
If the condition is so severe that a person is considered legally blind, then they may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. You may be deemed to have “statutory blindness” in one of two ways:
- Loss of central visual acuity: remaining vision in the better eye after best correction is 20/200 or less;
- Contraction of the visual field in the better eye, with either the widest diameter subtending an angle around the point of fixation no greater than 20 degrees; OR an MD of 22 decibels or greater, determined by automated static threshold perimetry that measures the central 30 degrees of the visual field.
To prove statutory blindness, you will need to provide medical evidence of your vision loss that meets these criteria. You do not need to provide proof of the underlying medical reason for your blindness.
Determining what you need to qualify for disability benefits for a diabetes-related complication can be challenging. A skilled New Jersey disability lawyer can help you with the process, starting with a free consultation.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus – more commonly referred to as diabetes – is a type of endocrine disorder that affects how a person’s body uses glucose (blood sugar). While glucose is important to our health, too much sugar in our blood can cause extensive damage and serious health problems.
There are four types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes, which may be caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors;
- Type 2 diabetes is caused by your body’s cells becoming resistant to the action of insulin;
- Prediabetes is the stage before a person develops Type 2 diabetes. It may be reversible;
- Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and is caused by hormones that make cells more resistant to insulin.
While there are many underlying causes of diabetes, it generally involves a person not having enough insulin to regular blood sugar. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas into the bloodstream. Insulin allows sugar to enter the cells of the body, which lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream.
In a person with diabetes, the body’s cells may become resistant to insulin, as in the case of Type 2, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the body attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leaving an individual with little to no insulin. The end result is too much sugar in the bloodstream.
Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes include:
- Increased thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Sores that are slow to heal
- Presence of ketones in the urine
- Frequent infections
Over time, diabetes may lead to a number of serious health problems. People with diabetes may develop cardiovascular disease, nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage (nephropathy), eye damage (retinopathy), foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and/or depression.
Certain issues may arise with diabetes that require immediate care. They include:
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (high ketones in urine)
- Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (extremely high blood sugar)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
If left untreated, these conditions could cause a number of other complications, particularly if they recur over time. In some cases, failure to treat these conditions may lead to death.
How Long Does It Take to Get Disability for Diabetes?
If you have uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes that has caused complications, then you may qualify for SSDI and/or SSI benefits. The length of time that it takes to be approved for disability benefits depends on a number of factors, including whether you need to submit additional evidence or if you have to appeal an initial denial. If your application is approved, then you will typically receive your first payment within 5 months.
Working with a New Jersey disability benefits lawyer can improve the likelihood that your disability application will be approved at the first level – and that you won’t need to submit more medical records or documentation. Contact Bross & Frankel today to schedule a free claim review with a member of our legal team.
Does Diabetic Neuropathy Qualify for Disability?
If your diabetic neuropathy affects your ability to work, then it may allow you to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. To be approved for this condition, you must meet the criteria for neuropathy set forth in the listing of impairments and submit evidence of a diagnosis, treatment history, and how this condition limits your ability to work.
The process of filing for disability and gathering the required documentation can be overwhelming. If you are considering filing a disability application, a New Jersey disability benefits attorney can help you with the process.
Can Type 2 Diabetes Qualify Me for Social Security Disability?
Possibly. If your Type 2 diabetes has caused complications that limit your ability to work, then you may qualify for SSDI and/or SSI benefits – just as a person with Type 1 diabetes could apply for disability benefits. If you do not have a medical condition that is disabling according to Social Security’s definition, then your disability claim may be denied.
During a free claim review, a seasoned New Jersey disability benefits lawyer can listen to your story and offer you advice on whether you may have a viable claim. If you choose to move forward, we will stand by your side throughout the process, fighting for your right to disability benefits. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation.
Applying for Disability Benefits? We Can Help.
Millions of Americans have a form of diabetes. While many people are able to live and work with diabetes, others have suffered complications that limit their ability to work. If you are in this situation, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
At Bross & Frankel, we work hand-in-hand with our clients who cannot work due to a disability. Our legal team will help you with the initial application, required documentation, and any necessary appeals. To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a free claim review with a New Jersey disability benefits attorney, contact our office today at (856) 795-8880, or reach out online.