Every year, over a million and a half new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), over 30 million Americans have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and an estimated 100 million more show signs of pre-diabetes.

The ADA also estimates that within this group, approximately 300,000 people die each year due to complications, while many others are forced to change their lifestyles and quit work in order to monitor their illnesses in an attempt to maintain their health.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes diabetes as a disabling condition for disability benefits depending on the severity of the illness and symptoms. However, to be approved, your symptoms must prevent you from being able to support yourself.

But what does that mean? What symptoms are considered severe enough to be debilitating? 

Severe and Debilitating Effects of Diabetes

The SSA recognizes that diabetes can cause sufferers to become physically and psychologically unable to work and support themselves. This is why it recognizes insulin disorders within its Endocrine Disorder category of impairments. However, since diabetes has become (and is increasingly becoming) more manageable, the SSA establishes individual eligibility based upon whether the claimant has certain debilitating symptoms which will keep him from working.

In addition to certain conditions such as kenoacidosis and chronic high or low blood sugar, some symptoms that could be considered debilitating include:

  • Fatigue. Since glucose isn’t efficiently being converted into energy, you entire body can feel weak.
  • Dizziness. Unstable glucose levels can affect your brain, making you dizzy and unbalanced.
  • Vision issues. Retinal hemorrhages can cause difficulty seeing (especially at night), light sensitivity, and blindness.
  • Amputations. Severe sores on the legs or feet, if untreated, can lead to amputation.
  • Consistent and unbearable pain. When nerves are denied proper glucose levels and energy they can become severely damaged, causing pain, tingling, a loss of feeling, and problems digesting food.
  • Frequent urination and kidney issues. Since the kidneys are forced to filter glucose for you when your insulin doesn’t, they become overworked. If not treated, their tissue can become necrotic, poisoning your blood even further and leading to kidney failure.
  • Weakened immune system. People with diabetes are at higher risk for infections (especially when forced to work with other people). In addition to becoming sick more frequently, even the smallest infections can become deadly
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke. When you’re hyper- or hypoglycemic, the tissues surrounding your heart and brain can become adversely affected, leading to complications such as arrhythmias, blood clots, seizures, and palpitations.

Filing a Claim to Secure Your Future

Living with diabetes can be stressful enough without having to constantly worry about your financial future. If you’re physically unable to work, or your boss is unsympathetic to your restrictions, contact us to learn more about your disability options. We don’t believe you should be forced to work when your body is working against you. Call today to see how our knowledge, hard work, and expertise can help you get your disability claim approved.

Stop worrying about your future, let us help secure it. Call now!

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If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 508.283.5500 to schedule your free consultation.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer