Applying for disability with Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that can cause many other complications. Sometimes the effects of diabetes on the body can be so severe that you can no longer be able to work. In these instances, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits due to the conditions. The information below will be helpful to anyone who needs to apply for disability benefits because of the effects of diabetes.

The Basics of Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, otherwise known as sugar diabetes, is most commonly divided into type 1 and type 2 varieties. The main difference between these two forms of the condition is that those who have type 1 have a total lack or insufficient amount of insulin because the body is unable to produce it. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes makes the body resistant to insulin. Both types have similar symptoms such as frequent urination, extreme fatigue and unusual thirst and hunger. People with type 2 diabetes can also have numbness or tingling in their hands and feet, slow-healing cuts and frequent infections.

Complications From Diabetes

Those who have diabetes often suffer from the following complications:

– Kidney disease (nephropathy)

– Eye and vision problems (retinopathy)

– Nerve damage in the feet and hands resulting in problems standing, walking and using the hands (neuropathy)

– High blood pressure (hypertension)

– Heart disease

– Nerve damage that causes digestive problems (gastroparesis)

– Stroke

– Reduced blood flow to limbs (peripheral arterial disease)

– Skin infections (cellulitis)

– Depression

Qualifying for Benefits With Diabetes

Diabetes affects many parts of your body, so it is easy for the condition to become so bad that it prevents you from continuing to work. So, you may meet the eligibility requirements for disability benefits. To do so, you must not have been able to work for at least 12 months, or expect that to be the case. However, if your diabetes has gotten uncontrollable because you have not followed your doctor’s prescribed treatment, then it is likely that you will not qualify for benefits.

The Disability Listing for Diabetic Conditions

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has specific guidelines they follow to determine the severity of an illness before it grants any disability benefits. The guidelines for each qualifying conditions are compiled in the Listing of Impairments, commonly known as the Blue Book. Currently, diabetes does not have its own listing in the Blue Book. So, if you suffer from this condition, you will likely need to qualify under one of the complications you have due to the condition. Some of the possible conditions you can qualify under include:

– Diabetic retinopathy (Listing 2.00) – limited vision; poor visual acuity (between 20/100 and 20/200); poor peripheral vision resulting from surgery to correct central vision

– Diabetic nephropathy (Listing 6.06) – kidneys can no longer filter properly, requiring daily dialysis; evidence of excessive protein or creatine in the plasma

– Diabetic peripheral neuropathies (Listing 11.14) – nerve damage has caused significant problems with your ability to walk, stand, or use your hands in a skilled way

– Cardiovascular problems (Listings 4.04, 4.02, 4.12 or 4.05) – Diabetes can cause several different cardiovascular issues. The following may qualify for benefits: coronary artery disease, chronic heart failure, peripheral vascular disease and irregular heart beat.

– Poorly healing skin and bacterial infections (Listing 8.04) – ulcerating skin lesions lasting three months, even with treatment; difficulty walking or using the hands

– Amputation of an extremity (Listing 1.05) – foot amputation from nerve damage or poor circulation

Combining Impairments

It is hard to qualify for disability benefits if you have just one complication. However, if your diabetes has caused you to suffer from multiple conditions, the SSA will look at the combined effects when they make their analysis. First, the SSA will look at your residual functional capacity (RFC). This is a measurement of the level of activity you can accomplish despite your condition. When they assess your RFC, a representative will take into account your age, the jobs you have held, and your education level. After the SSA’s analysis, you will receive a rating of light, medium, heavy or sedentary work. When the SSA determines your RFC, they will take into account all of your ailments and how they affect you, not just your diabetes.

Appealing a denial

Even with combined impairments, there is still a chance that your initial application is denied. If you find yourself in this position, you can file an appeal of the decision. When you take this action, you will have your case heard by an administrative law judge. It is a wise idea to work with a disability lawyer if you file an appeal. It will greatly increase your chances of having your claim approved.