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Type 1 Diabetes and Disability: Status, Benefits, How to Claim

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2022 | Physical Impairments And SSD

Diabetes is a serious condition that can progress in many people to become totally disabling. The Social Security Administration (SSA) fully recognizes that both Type I and Type II diabetes can qualify for either or both Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

To distinguish between disabling cases of diabetes and those that do not meet the SSA’s criteria for benefits, the SSA created a manual in which it details the features each of the listed illnesses and impairments must present with to be considered as qualifying.

The Social Security Administration’s Definition of a Disability

Every impairment listed in the SSA’s manual, commonly referred to as the Blue Book, includes symptoms, levels of dysfunction, lab test results, or medical findings that the SSA deems severe enough to meet its standard of disability for that impairment. But the SSA uses a universal definition that “every” claimed disability must meet to be approved for benefits.

The SSA defines a disability as “a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that lasts or is expected to last 12 months (or result in death) that prevents the person from performing substantial gainful activities.”

A person who files a claim for disability benefits need not necessarily match one of the listed impairments’ set of criteria if they suffer from multiple impairments, either physical or mental, that together leave them so lacking in “residual functional capacity” (RFC) that they cannot earn income above the SSD qualifying cap and they either have not or will not be able to do so for 12 months.

The SSA’s measure of what are “substantial gainful activities,” (SGA) is a predetermined amount of monthly income. In 2022, the level of SGA is $1,350 for sighted individuals and $2,260 for someone who is statutorily blind.

Blue Book Criteria for Diabetes I or II Disability

Diabetes is a serious condition in which a person’s pancreas does not function as it should maintain a proper balance of glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter the body’s cells to power our bodies and feed the brain. As the level of glucose is reduced by being absorbed into the cells, the level of insulin produced by the pancreas also reduces.

The Blue Book of indexed impairments that qualify for disability benefits states, “Both type 1 and type 2 DM are chronic disorders that can have serious disabling complications that meet the duration requirement.”

Type I Diabetes, formerly known as Juvenile Diabetes, is an insulin-dependent disorder requiring lifelong insulin injections to counteract the pancreas’ failure to regulate or produce insulin naturally. Type II Diabetes, formerly known as Adult-Onset Diabetes, does not generally require insulin injections but can be treated and improved by lifestyle changes such as diet, and exercise.

Both types of Diabetes can result in serious and life-threatening consequences when not addressed or maintained regularly. When not treated properly, Diabetes can produce Chronic Hyperglycemia, Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), or Hypoglycemia.

Each of these “listed” conditions causes serious symptoms to various systems in the body. For example, cardiac arrhythmias, intestinal necrosis, and cerebral edema and seizures, kidney damage, eyesight loss, foot, and circulatory damage, are all possible consequences of Diabetes. Related disorders that may develop secondarily include eating disorders, depression, and other mood disorders. These complications are considered under their respective sections in the Blue Book.

Duration, Severity, and Inability to Work

The keys to whether a person suffering from Diabetes can qualify for either SSD or SSI benefits are these:

  • Is the Diabetes impairment severe enough to be recognized, and objectively confirmed?
  • Is the person’s Diabetes impacting their ability to perform or tolerate regular work?
  • Has the Diabetes-related inability to tolerate work lasted for 12 months or is it expected to last that long?

The basis for each of those findings will be the medical records, reports, observations, and test results that your healthcare providers generated throughout your treatment. Including a large volume of detailed, consistent, medical and laboratory records over a significant period of time and endorsed by an acceptable medical authority will increase your chance of winning approval of disability benefits.

Get Diabetes Disability Benefits Help from the Disability Law Office of Daniel Berger

Attorney Daniel Berger devotes his entire legal practice to helping people whose physical and mental impairments entitle them to receive Social Security Disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or both. As one of New York’s most experienced disability lawyers, Daniel Berger and NY Disability has the expertise you need to win the approval of your disability claim, even when other lawyers might think you won’t qualify.

Let Attorney Berger use his many years of exceptional success with other clients to help you win the largest amount of disability benefits to which you are entitled.