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Diabetes and Social Security Disability Benefits

Since 1982, November has been designated National Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes is believed to affect the lives of 26 million children and adults and is listed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a qualifying condition for disability benefits (SSD).

This illness is characterized by high blood glucose levels because the body does not produce enough insulin, the substance in the body that converts sugars and starches into energy. Although people can take steps to manage their glucose levels with diet, exercise and insulin therapy, many people find that diabetes complicates their lives to the point where they can no longer work.

Some of the conditions experienced by people with diabetes include:

  • Eye problems
  • Neuropathy, or damage to the peripheral nervous system
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Mental and emotional issues

Conditions such as these listed here and others can affect function in numerous ways and involve multiple body systems. In order to be eligible for SSD benefits, the applicant must show that the consequences of diabetes are disabling according to the criteria established by Social Security and prevent the person from engaging in substantial gainful employment.

This is easier said than done, and evaluating the physical results of diabetes can be complex. You know how it affects your functioning and ability to work. Proving it, however, can be another story entirely. That's why it is so important to have a guide through the benefit application process. Many people call upon the advocates at Binder & Binder®, America's most successful disability advocates. We have helped thousands of people throughout the United States obtain SSD benefits. Find out how we can help you, too.

Source: Social Security website, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, Endocrine Disorders, Adult," June, 2011; American Diabetes Association, "Living With Diabetes."

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