Many Americans suffer from diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a condition that results from the body's inability to use blood glucose for energy. One may be diagnosed with type I diabetes or type II diabetes. To manage the disease, an individual must carefully monitor blood sugar levels to minimize fluctuations, which requires continued vigilance and strict adherence to a perpetual, multi-faceted and demanding treatment regimen. They may need to inject insulin, follow a diabetic diet, exercise daily and test your blood sugar several times a day.
If a blood test shows a drop in glucose levels, one must stop all other activities and consume the kinds of foods that will bring their sugar levels back up to normal. Unless they act quickly, they may experience periods of dizziness, weakness, loss of ability to think or concentrate on work. It may even result in losing consciousness (or passing out). Conversely, spikes in blood glucose levels can cause equally adverse consequences.
Sometimes, this rigid schedule makes being both an insulin-dependent diabetic and a productive worker impossible. When your diabetes keeps you out of the workforce, you may be able to get Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits to make ends meet. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in this country, and death rates for diabetes have increased by 45% since 1987.
In December of 2009, the Federal Register published a change to the Endocrine Listing (Medical Listing 9) proposed by the Social Security Administration (SSA); they proposed that the impairments set out in Medical Listing 9 be eliminated. Medical Listing 9 includes not only diabetes, but also thyroid and other endocrine disorders. The purpose behind the proposed elimination is based upon what SSA considers to be "advances in medical treatment in the detection" of endocrine disorders. As a consequence of these advances, SSA believes that these types of disorders no longer meet the 12-month durational requirement. If they no longer meet the 12-month durational requirement, these disorders cannot be considered disabilities.
Unfortunately, the proposed change to Medical Listing 9 has recently been approved. As of June 7, 2011, severe impairments such as diabetes and thyroid disorders will no longer serve as a basis to obtain Social Security Disability benefits on a stand alone basis. If endocrine disorders cause problems of medical listing-level severity in other organs or glands, SSA will "evaluate these effects under other body system listings."
Most importantly, however, is that current beneficiaries who have received or are receiving an award of Social Security Disability benefits based upon endocrine disorders will not be terminated. They will, however, continue to be reviewed for medical improvement under the original medical listing upon which their initial entitlement was based.
Despite the fact that the majority Medical Listing 9 will soon cease to exist, our job here at Binder and Binder® does not change. We'll deal with the government; you have enough to worry about. We'll continue to fight for your disability in spite of the changes!