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Diabetes in Adults and Children: How Social Security Evaluates Each

Types I and II diabetes are not the same disease classified by the patient’s age. There are important differences between the diseases, and children and adults may have either disease. People with type I diabetes do not make enough insulin and must take replacement insulin, explains the Joslin Diabetes Center; the disease is not related to weight or inactivity. Type II diabetes occurs as the body does not adequately produce insulin or doesn’t use insulin properly according to Joslin; risk factors include being overweight, family history of the condition or being older than 40, though it can affect people of all ages and weights.

The diseases affect children and adults similarly, though there may be some differences in how children emotionally cope with the disease and follow medically required steps or changes to manage the disease.

Children & Coping with Diabetes

While children more commonly develop type I diabetes, children developing type II diabetes is a growing concern. Both children and adults with diabetes can suffer similar complications if they don’t manage the disease properly.

If diagnosed with type I diabetes as an infant, a parent will be required to do all blood sugar tests and administer insulin to the child. Most type I diabetics learn at a very young age how to do blood tests and give insulin but will still rely on parents to help them manage the disease. Learning how to recognize low blood sugars, for example, which cause very dangerous medical situations, is important.

Some parents with diabetic children may face challenges in getting the child to take his or her insulin or adopt dietary or other lifestyle changes as recommended by a doctor. Some children may feel embarrassed to test their blood sugar levels or administer insulin in front of their peers, which leads to another issue that parents may face: ensuring the child’s diabetes is managed while at school.

The American Diabetes Association recommends good communication with the school and educating school officials about the child’s needs. It also recommends creating a written plan for how the child’s diabetes will be managed at school, which involves communicating with school staff and healthcare providers.

Adult and Child Qualification for Social Security Disability

Type I and type II diabetes and related complications or health conditions may qualify a diabetic for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Children and their low-income families may qualify for SSI, while adults may qualify for SSDI if they have enough work credits.  They may qualify for SSI if they meet income and resources requirements. In addition to meeting program requirements for SSI (also see SSI requirements for children) or SSDI, your condition must meet disability requirements outlined in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Adult or Children Listing of Impairments.

SSA will not differentiate between type I and type II diabetes in evaluating eligibility. Children younger than 6 may qualify if they take insulin. Adults and children who are older than 6 must meet requirements to qualify under other related disability listings. Among the other related conditions that SSA may consider are cardiovascular problems, neuropathy, acidosis or retinopathy.

Call Markhoff & Mittman, P.C. in New York at 866-205-2415 or contact us online for a free initial consultation about SSDI/SSI eligibility if you or your child has diabetes.

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