Man going over SSDI application

Is Diabetes a Qualifying Condition for Social Security Benefits?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

If you live with diabetes, you know the weight it can place on conducting the business of everyday life. Its impacts can be severe and far reaching. Diabetes can also make it difficult to work. Should this be the case, you may be able to qualify for Social Security benefits.

Is Diabetes a Qualifying Condition for Social Security Benefits?

Diabetes is a medical condition where the pancreas cannot process sugar. As a result, irregular amounts of insulin are released into the body and person’s blood sugar level is higher than it should be. Those with Type 1 diabetes are insulin deprived. Insulin shots assist the absorbance of sugar in the body of a person with Type 1 diabetes. In contrast, those with Type 2 diabetes are insulin resistant. Without the assistance of medication, the body’s blood sugar levels can reach dangerous levels.

Regardless of which type of diabetes a person has, there can be debilitating consequences for their body. Some of the more common and severe consequences of diabetes can include secondary conditions such as:

  • Neuropathy: This is an abnormality in the nervous system which impact how nerves fire in different parts of the body. The damage or malfunctioning of the nerves can cause numbness and tingling as well as muscle pain and muscle weakness. While the impacts are commonly felt in the hands and the feet, neuropathy can also have adverse consequences for bodily functions such as digestion and circulation.
  • Acidosis: This is when the acidity of bodily fluid increases to abnormal levels. Those suffering from acidosis may experience headaches, fatigue, confusion, and lack of appetite.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: This is when there is damage sustained by the blood vessels inside the eye. It can cause significant loss of visual acuity and peripheral vision.

While the Social Security Administration (SSA) lists diabetes as a qualifying conditions for purposes of granting Social Security benefits, an applicant must first provide sufficient medical evidence to support the assertion that the condition has made it impossible to retain substantially gainful employment. The applicant must have been diagnosed with diabetes no less than one year ago. Additionally, the applicant must demonstrate that they suffer from another, related medical condition, such as the ones listed above.

This means that, in order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits based on diabetes, you must be able to provide sufficient medical evidence of your diabetes and the fact that it prevents you from working. You must also be able to provide sufficient medical evidence that you suffer from a related medical condition. If the related medical condition you claim is neuropathy, it must rise to the level that you experience a sustained disturbance of movements of two extremities that are significantly affected by the condition. If you suffer from acidosis, the abnormal increase in bodily fluid acidity must happen no less than every two months and it must be properly documented by blood tests. If you suffer from diabetic retinopathy, the damage to the blood vessels in your eye must be severe enough that you are rendered virtually blind.

Disability Attorney

Those suffering from diabetes have a lot on their plate as is. Let the team at Disability Advocates help you get much-needed Social Security disability benefits. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.