Gestational diabetes is one of the rare temporary conditions that qualifies a person for Social Security disability. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels during pregnancy can place a strain on both the child and the mother, and can result in significant health risks that prevent the mother from working.
However, just because you are diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy does not mean you will receive benefits. Social Security disability benefits for gestational diabetes are only approved in one of two ways: by meeting the definition on the listing of impairments (blue book), or through a medical vocational allowance. The first is more straightforward, while the second is often more difficult to prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Blue Book Requirements for Gestational Diabetes
The first thing you will need to get benefits is a positive diagnosis of gestational diabetes, which relies on evidence from at least two glucose screening tests. You should have results from a non-fasting 50-gram glucose challenge test taken at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy that shows an abnormal result consistent with gestational diabetes. Additionally, this should be confirmed with blood tests during and after a fasting 100-gram oral glucose tolerance test. SSA generally requires two or more abnormal blood sugar values taken at different times as evidence for gestational diabetes.
In addition to a positive diabetes diagnosis, claimants must also be diagnosed with an impairment or complication of the disease. Approved conditions include diabetic neuropathy that disrupts motor function in two or more limbs, frequent acidosis, or diabetic retinopathy that impairs the person’s vision. If you do not suffer from any of these conditions, you will have to seek benefits based on the severity of your other symptoms.
Social Security Disability Based on Your Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
The SSA’s presumption is that mothers with diabetes can still work during pregnancy unless they have a disabling condition that prevents them from doing so. While your diabetes alone may not qualify you for benefits, your inability to perform regular paid work based on your symptoms can be classified as a disability.
In order to determine your eligibility for a medical vocational allowance, the SSA will evaluate whether your impairment substantially limits your ability to earn a living. In particular, SSA will examine whether you are able to perform work you did previously, if you can adjust to a different type of work, and how much your condition interferes with your ability to perform sustained employment.
You may be able to get disability benefits if you are prevented from working due to:
- Treatment. People with diabetes must follow strict diets of well-balanced proteins and sugars, test their blood sugar levels regularly, and take short walks throughout the day. People with gestational diabetes must also attend their regular prenatal visits as well as diabetes appointments, requiring additional time off of work.
- Restrictions. Both pregnant mothers and diabetes patients can have restrictions on the amount of weight they are allowed to lift or carry, require more rest breaks after physical exertion, and experience increased urination as a result of their conditions.
- Environmental risks. The risks to a pregnant person with a disability affect not only the mother, but also the unborn child. SSA should weigh all of the potential risks of working with gestational diabetes, including workplace dangers that can aggravate your condition or harm a developing fetus.
- Coworkers. Coworkers wearing perfumes or eating strange foods can aggravate nausea, causing vomiting that makes it more difficult to maintain stable blood levels. Working with others can also pose a danger of infection, as high blood sugar can make it more difficult for wounds or skin abrasions to heal.
- Need for assistance. If a claimant needs frequent breaks to inject insulin, requires monitoring due to side effects of medications, or relies on corrective devices for sitting or walking, he or she can still be considered disabled even though treatment provides some relief of the condition.
The key to getting the benefits you deserve for gestational diabetes is providing sufficient evidence that strongly supports your case. Please feel free to contact our law firm today to get started on your disability application, or download our free report, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability.