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When Your Diabetes May Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every ten Americans suffers from diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ responsible for the production of insulin, a hormone which helps metabolize glucose. When a person has diabetes, the pancreas either cannot produce enough insulin or uses the insulin incorrectly, resulting in a build-up of sugar in the bloodstream. If not treated, high blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, kidney and liver disease, and even death.

Managing Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is considered a manageable disease as symptoms and blood sugar levels can be controlled with special diets, increased exercise, and medications. However, diabetes is a degenerative condition and, if not diagnosed early, can cause permanent damage.

As a result of its potential to cause debilitating effects, the Social Security Administration recognizes diabetes as an eligible condition for disability. However, since the condition can be managed, proving the need for disability benefits can be complicated.

Requirements for Diabetes Consideration

The SSA disability board requires proof of the seriousness of your condition to consider a disability claim for diabetes. Although the board is aware that the condition can lead to a host of disabling medical conditions, the presence of the condition is not enough to warrant benefits. In fact, to even be considered for approval, you will need to prove that you have one or more of the following conditions, despite making the recommended lifestyle changes and taking medication:

  • The presence of neuropathy. Your condition has caused nerve damage in the legs and feet.
  • The presence of retinopathy. Your condition has begun to affect your vision to the point where you’re unable to perform your work duties.
  • The presence of organ damage. The condition has caused severe damage to your liver or kidneys.
  • The continuance of excessive urination. The condition has affected your kidneys to the point where they produce excessively high levels of urine.  
  • The continuance of erratic blood sugar changes. Your blood levels continue to fluctuate randomly from low to high and high to low.
  • The long-term presence of the condition. Your diabetes has continued to cause blood sugar problems and adverse symptoms for more than five years.

Importance of Keeping a Record

Your claim will be scrutinized to ensure that your condition is not only severe enough to warrant financial aid but that it is also debilitating enough to prohibit you from supporting yourself. However, detailed records of the progression of your condition and its symptoms can go a long way towards supporting your claim. Therefore, from the moment you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it’s imperative that you keep track of the following:

  • Dates and results of doctor appointments
  • Dates and copies of medical images (CT scans, x-rays, ultrasounds)
  • Dates and reasons for missed days of work (when condition-related)
  • Dates, times, and results of frequent blood sugar tests
  • Urination timetables

Although this type of detailed record keeping may seem excessive, your disability lawyer can use it to prove the severity of your condition.

Keefe Disability Law Can Help

For more information on filing a disability claim for diabetes, schedule a FREE consultation with one of our attorneys. For the past 22 years, we’ve dedicated our practice to Social Security Disability. Allow us to put our resources and experience to work for you—Call today!

Also, feel free to download our complimentary report, The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability, for additional guidance and support.

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