According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are more than 29 million people with diabetes living in the United States and, according to your doctor, you are one of them. Far fewer than the 29 million people with diabetes will qualify for Social Security disability; however, Social Security disability eligibility is something you should know about.
Do You Qualify?
A diagnosis of diabetes is not enough to qualify you for Social Security disability. However, you may qualify for benefits if:
- You have one of the complications of diabetes in Section 9.00 of the Listing of Impairments or if you suffer another disability that is included in another section of the Listing of impairments. Some common complications from diabetes include kidney problems, cardiovascular problems, vision complications, nerve damage, infections, and amputations
- You otherwise qualify for benefits without meeting a specific listing. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not require that your condition be included in the Listing of Impairments in order for you to qualify for Social Security disability. However, if your condition is not specifically listed, the SSA will determine if you are disabled by considering whether you are working, the severity of your condition and whether it is of equal severity to a condition in the Listing of Impairments, and whether you could do another type of work. Things such as your ability to focus, your control of your glucose readings, your ability to see, walk, and use your hands without pain may be considered by the SSA.
Regardless of how you qualify for Social Security disability, it is important to complete a full and accurate application for benefits and submit it together with all supporting documentation.
And it Is Important to Comply With Your Doctor’s Orders
Your doctor’s treatment plan is difficult. In order to treat your diabetes, your doctor may prescribe daily medications and injections, frequent blood sugar monitoring, a specific diet, and regular exercise. The treatment plan is challenging to fit into your daily life, it is unpleasant, and, at times, it is even painful.
Yet, it is important for you to follow your doctor’s treatment plan as prescribed.
If you fail to follow your doctor’s orders, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may be within its rights to deny your application. However, sometimes, compliance with a doctor’s treatment plan is not so cut and dried. For example, the SSA should not hold your failure to comply with a suggested treatment plan against you if complying with the treatment plan is:
- Against your religious beliefs
- Too expensive for you
- Causing you to suffer significant side effects
Of course, you will need to submit evidence to the SSA proving one of the exceptions described above, or another acceptable reason why you are not complying with recommended medical treatment. It is also important to document everything and to have the right evidence available before you begin filling out your Social Security disability application.
Is it Worth the Effort to Apply?
If you can’t work because of your diabetes, then it is worth the effort to pursue the benefits that you have earned in the Social Security disability system.
You do not, however, have to file your application on your own. Instead, you have the right to work with a board-certified lawyer who can help you complete a full and accurate application to get the benefits you deserve. To learn more, please start a free chat with us or call us directly.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.