There are generally three types of diabetes that may qualify for Social Security disability benefits:
- Type I diabetes – Formerly known as juvenile diabetes but can develop during youth or adulthood. The immune system attacks the pancreas, which produces insulin, so the body fails to produce sufficient insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels.
- Type II diabetes – Formerly known as adult-onset diabetes but can develop during youth or adulthood. Poor diet may play a role in development of the condition. The body does not adequately use insulin and fails to produce sufficient levels, leading to increased blood sugar levels.
- Gestational diabetes – Develops during pregnancy in women who previously did not have diabetes. The cause is unknown, but many cases go away after giving birth.
How Social Security Evaluates Diabetics’ Eligibility for Disability
SSDI benefits are paid out to people who can’t work due to disease or other physical impairments and who have enough work credits, which workers get by working and contributing to Social Security. The number of credits you need is dependent on your age.
Having diabetes does not mean the individual will receive disability benefits. The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Listing of Impairments outlines the criteria that a condition must meet in order to qualify for disability benefits.
Among these criteria are suffering from diabetes, in addition to another impairment, like neuropathy, acidosis or retinopathy. Neuropathy must cause disorganization of motor function in two arms or legs or a combination. Acidosis must occur at least once each two-month period, and diabetic retinopathy must result in impaired vision.
If a diabetic individual does not meet criteria for listings in other body systems, the SSA will evaluate the applicant’s functional capacity to perform gainful employment. If you are able to perform work you did previously, you do not qualify. If you are able to adjust to other work, you may not qualify either.
It may be more difficult to establish gestational diabetes as a disabling condition, though, because it is generally only a temporary disability. It also must meet the criteria listed above.
Evaluating Diabetic Children’s Eligibility for Disability
Diabetic children with either Type I or Type II diabetes may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is income-dependent. Children with diabetes whose parents have low income and limited resources may qualify. Children must meet the Social Security Administration (SSA) criteria in the Children’s Listing of Impairments, though. Children younger than six may qualify if they require daily insulin. Other children may qualify if they meet criteria for other disorders related to their diabetes.
What if I am wrongly denied SSDI or SSI?
Individuals who are denied benefits and believe the denial is not justified or correct may dispute it through the appeals process. If in the New York or surrounding area and you need clarification about your SSDI rights as a diabetic, call Markhoff and Mittman, P.C. for a FREE consultation: 866-205-2415. Also check our guide for dealing with the Social Security disability system.