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When Diabetes Becomes a Disability


Diabetes, whether Type I or Type II, can be managed in some patients, but it can become a debilitating disease in others. If you suffer from diabetes and are beginning to struggle to maintain employment due to deterioration in your health, you may be eligible to file for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration has published guidelines to help Administrative Law Judges in deciding whether or not to award benefits to someone claiming disability based on their case of diabetes mellitus. Read on to learn more about SSDI claims for diabetes sufferers.

Many diabetes patients are able to manage their condition in such a way that it does not interfere with their career. Additionally, while diabetes mellitus was once listed in the Social Security Administration (SSA) “Blue Book” of conditions that automatically qualified someone as disabled, it was removed along with other endocrine disorders in 2011. As a result, the Social Security Administration may be skeptical of claims for SSDI benefits based on a diagnosis of diabetes when the application doesn’t go into detail on the specific side-effects of the disease that are interfering with work. 

The SSA publication titled SSR 14-2p offers insight on how the SSA will evaluate claims for SSDI benefits made by diabetics, and symptoms or effects that the SSA will consider to be sufficiently disabling to qualify for benefits. The ruling advises judges of the numerous difficulties faced by those suffering from diabetes and the amplifying effects that diabetes will have on other conditions. The publication suggests that judges consider evidence of the effect of diabetes symptoms such as hypoglycemia, fatigue, or pain on work functioning. While diabetes is itself not a listed impairment, the ruling reminds judges of the numerous debilitating conditions that diabetes can cause and which are recognized as disabling conditions, including vision problems caused by diabetic retinopathy, loss of feeling and use of extremities through neuropathy, amputation due to poor circulation caused by diabetes, diabetic nephropathy, and impairments in attention or mood disorders. The ruling also describes in detail the effects of hypoglycemia such as weakness, sweating, hunger, and difficulty concentrating on a task. The ruling further points out specific on-the-job challenges faced by those suffering from diabetes, such as difficulty walking, an inability to manipulate objects due to the effects of neuropathy, or inability to operate foot pedals. 

If your claim for New York Workers’ Compensation, disability retirement, or SSDI benefits has been rejected, seek help in appealing your denial and getting the benefits you need by contacting the experienced and effective Highland disability and Workers’ Compensation lawyer Peter M. Cordovano for a consultation, at (845) 414-8482.

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