Do I Qualify for SSDI if I Have Diabetes?
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits on the basis of diabetes, your doctor must diagnose you as having diabetes mellitus (type 1 or type 2 diabetes) and at least one of the following conditions:
- Neuropathy – abnormality of the nervous system that must significantly affect two extremities to the extent that a person experiences a “sustained disturbance” of movement in those extremities, or in walking, or in simply standing.
- Acidosis – the abnormal increase in the acidity of bodily fluid that occurs at least once in every two months and which is documented by blood tests.
- Diabetic Retinopathy – damage to blood vessels inside the eye resulting in a significant loss of peripheral vision in the better of the two eyes, or a significant loss of visual acuity in the better of the two eyes. To meet this criterion, the severity of the damage must be such that the person is virtually blind.
For a full Social security Listing Of Impairments on diabetes, endocrine disorders, and medical problems resulting from diabetes, visit the SSA website.
Diabetes – Conditions and Symptoms
Diabetes occurs when a person’s level of glucose, or blood sugar, is elevated.
Blood is supposed to carry glucose to every cell so that the body’s cells can produce energy while the pancreas produces insulin to help the body absorb excess glucose. But if there are high levels of glucose in the blood, it means that the body has a deficiency of insulin, which indicates a diabetic or pre-diabetic condition.
There are three types of diabetes:
- Type 1, or “juvenile” diabetes
- Type 2, or “adult onset” diabetes, and
- Gestational diabetes
According to Diabetes.Org, “Diabetes mellitus is the medical name for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and affects 4% of the world’s population as of 1995, with type 2 accounting for more than 90% of cases. Diabetes is a very serious disease which can result in high blood pressure, damage to the eyes, nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, blindness, and stroke. In addition, it is not uncommon for a long term diabetic to loose limbs to amputation because of poor circulation.
The presence of diabetes is generally indicated by some combination of several symptoms. One of the most common is the frequent need to urinate, especially if it is combined with extreme thirst. Another symptom is a feeling of chronic hunger, especially between meals. In addition, a diabetic will often experience unexplained fatigue, weight loss, and/or general feelings of irritability. Many diabetics report dry, itchy skin and trouble with genital itching and fungal infections. A tingling sensation or numbness in the feet is another indication, as is blurred vision. Finally, the skin of many diabetics is slow to heal from wounds, skin abrasions, or sores.”
Diagnosis of diabetes can be established through three types of blood tests. They are:
- A fasting plasma glucose test, which is given after an 8-hour fast;
- An oral glucose tolerance test, which is given after an 8-hour fast followed by the administration of a glucose-containing beverage and an additional 2 hour wait; or
- A random plasma glucose test, which measures blood glucose without any kind of fast.
If the test results indicate the presence of a diabetic condition, the patient must undergo additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Causes of Diabetes
Diabetes.Org also provides some of the common causes of diabetes. While genetics may play a role and exposure to certain environments or viruses may also contribute, the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. For most people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in its pancreas. However, the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes are known and are similar worldwide. Access to relatively cheap energy-rich diets coupled with obesogenic environments lead to low physical activity levels and result in metabolic changes that predispose to obesity and diabetes. Basically, this means that a lifestyle of eating fatty foods or foods with a high sugar content, while failing to workout, can cause an onset of type 2 diabetes. Also important to know, type 2 diabetes has been associated with an increased risk of falls, fractures, depression, and cognitive impairment.
We understand that diabetes can be very serious and that it can keep you from performing the activities of everyday life and from work. If you are currently disabled due to diabetes and its keeping your from work, please contact us and let the experienced Utah SSDI Attorneys help you navigate the Social Security Disability system.