Social Security Disability and DiabetesDiabetes refers to a group of illnesses that result from the body’s inability to effectively produce or use insulin. This condition is characterized by high blood glucose levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels can affect other bodily functions. For example, diabetes can affect the body’s ability to fight infections and can cause serious problems for the heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, and feet.

Whether your diabetes has been recently diagnosed or you have had it for years, the complications associated with this disease can make it difficult to get around, to take care of yourself, and to hold down a job.

Diabetes Can Have Serious Complications

If your diabetes is well managed and you do not suffer any complications, then you can continue to work and your Social Security disability application will be denied.

However, many people are not that lucky. Diabetes can have significant complications that may make you eligible for Social Security disability. These side effects include:

  • Neuropathy. Diabetes can result in nerve damage in the legs and feet.
  • Retinopathy. Diabetes may affect your vision to the point where you are unable to perform your work duties.
  • Organ damage. Diabetes can cause severe damage to organs such as the liver or kidneys.

These complications can be devastating and result in your total disability.

Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step process to determine whether a person with diabetes qualifies for Social Security disability benefits. Specifically, the SSA is going to ask:

  1. Are you working? If you are employed and earning more than $1,170 a month ($1,950 if you are blind), then your application will likely be denied—regardless of the severity of your diabetes.
  2. Is your disability severe enough to significantly limit your daily activities? This includes your ability to walk, stand, sit, reach, carry, lift, push, pull, speak, hear, see, follow directions, remember instructions, respond to supervision, and perform other basic work tasks.
  3. Is your diabetes severe enough to meet a listing in the Listing of Impairments? According to Section 9.00 of the Listing of Impairments, eligibility for Social Security disability based on diabetes will be evaluated according to the specific complication that results from the condition.
  4. Can you do any type of work that you have done in the past, despite the diabetes-related limitations? If the SSA determines that you can still do any one of your previous jobs, then your application will be denied.
  5. Is there any work that you can do for pay given your age, education, training, past work experience, and physical or mental limitations? If the answer is yes, then your application will be denied.

You must complete a Social Security disability application and present it with supporting evidence in order to have your application approved.

Importance of Keeping a Record

Your claim will be scrutinized. 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 are diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative that you keep track of the following:

  • Dates and results of doctor appointments.
  • Dates and copies of medical tests.
  • Dates and reasons for missed days of work that are health-related.
  • Urination timetables.
  • Dates and descriptions of events that you have missed because of your diabetes.

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

Apply With Confidence

If you are suffering from diabetes or a complication of diabetes that has severely affected your ability to support yourself, then you deserve help. You deserve to have all of your questions answered and your Social Security disability application filed correctly. Our disability lawyers will give you the confidence and support that you need to accurately apply for the disability benefits you have earned. To learn more, request a free copy of The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability or contact Keefe Disability Law directly to schedule a free consultation.

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in Boston, MA?

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