October 26, 2017

Social Security Disability and Diabetes

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In my Indianapolis, Indiana Social Security disability practice, I handle numerous cases involving Diabetes.  Since there can be so many varying degrees of severity with Diabetes, I try to find out how it affects each individual client regarding their ability to work.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes Diabetes as a disabling condition either by itself or combined with other severe impairments.

Diabetes can occur when the body does not produce enough glucose due to a lack of insulin.  Medical treatment and dietary control can sometimes help to control Diabetes, but other times it does not.  Uncontrolled Diabetes can create a variety of symptoms and these can include but are not limited to:

  • Neuropathy (Nerve damage in the feet and/or hands. This is by far the most common symptom I see in my practice.)
  • Retinopathy (Vision impairment)
  • Fatigue
  • Nephropathy (Kidney disease)
  • Extreme hunger and/or thirst
  • Frequent urination

Just having the above symptoms is not enough to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  They must be severe enough to meet or equal one of the SSA’s Listing of Impairments or prevent you from working a full-time job.  Most of my clients with Diabetes say that the neuropathy they experience makes them unable to work.  They complain of numbness and/or tingling in their hands and/or feet that prevents them from standing and walking or using their hands for fine and gross manipulation.

As with all disability claims, medical documentation can be essential to a favorable outcome.  Compliance with medical treatment can show that even though you are taking prescribed medication (including insulin), your severe impairment still exists.  Objective testing such as nerve conduction studies for neuropathy and vision tests for retinopathy can go a long way in convincing an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that you are disabled.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Diabetes or any other disabling condition, it may be time to file a claim for Social Security disability.  However, if it is important to keep in mind that that there may be time limits that must be met in order to get the benefits you could be entitled to.

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