Diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses in the United States. Although most people with diabetes do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you may be eligible if diabetes-related complications are limiting your ability to work and earn a living.
Eligibility for SSDI Benefits
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must first meet certain requirements. To qualify for SSDI, you must have worked and paid into the Social Security system for a minimum of five out of the last ten years. Additionally, you must demonstrate that your disability prevents you from engaging in any Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) for at least 12 consecutive months. Once you have met these requirements, you will need to fill out an application and provide proof of disability with supporting documentation such as medical records and doctor’s evaluations.
Your Guide to a Successful Social Security Disability Claim: What Claimants, Their Family Members, and Healthcare Providers Need to Know provides more information about the general criteria for an SSDI claim. We encourage you to request your copy of this free e-book today.
What the Blue Book Says About SSDI Benefits for Diabetes
The SSA Blue Book is the Social Security Administration's official manual of impairment listings. It contains detailed descriptions of conditions and disabilities that may qualify individuals for SSDI benefits. The criteria for diabetes are listed under Section 9.00 Endocrine Disorders - Adult. According to this section, an individual with diabetes may qualify for SSDI benefits if they have damage to the eyes, kidneys, nervous system, or cardiovascular system due to their condition and can prove that their disability prevents them from working in a position that meets the definition of SGA.
SSDI applications related to diabetes may involve more than one Blue Book listing. For example, chronic hyperglycemia is characterized by abnormally high levels of blood glucose for an extended period of time and can lead to a range of long-term diabetic complications due to disruption in nerve and blood vessel functioning.
- Diabetic peripheral neurovascular disease that leads to gangrene and subsequent amputation of an extremity is evaluated under Section 1.00 Musculoskeletal Disorders.
- Diabetic retinopathy resulting in severe visual impairment is evaluated under Section 2.00 Special Senses and Speech.
- Coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease are evaluated under Section 4.00 Cardiovascular System.
- Diabetic gastroparesis that results in abnormal gastrointestinal motility is evaluated under Section 5.00 Digestive System.
- Diabetic nephropathy is evaluated under Section 6.00 Genitourinary Disorders.
- Poorly-healing bacterial and fungal skin infections are evaluated under Section 8.00 Skin Disorders.
- Diabetic peripheral and sensory neuropathies are evaluated under Section 11.00 Neurological Disorders – Adult.
- Cognitive impairments, depression, and anxiety are evaluated under Section 12.00 Mental Disorders – Adult.
Appealing an Initial Denial
Learning that your SSDI application has been denied can be frustrating, but you shouldn’t lose hope. Even though the SSA denies the majority of applications in the initial stages, benefits are often granted upon appeal.
Working with an experienced SSDI attorney is the best way to ensure that your application properly documents your condition and how it affects your ability to work. Your attorney can help you prepare an initial application or guide you through the stages of the appeal process. An SSDI appeal has four different stages where you can be awarded benefits: Request for Reconsideration, Request for Hearing, review by the Appeals Council, and filing a federal lawsuit.
Do You Want to Speak to a Skilled SSDI Attorney About Receiving Disability Benefits for Diabetes?
At Phillip M. Hendry Law, we understand how Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims related to diabetes are evaluated under the Blue Book criteria. Our firm will work with you through every step of the application and appeal process to draft a persuasive argument for why you should be awarded SSDI benefits.
Complete our online contact form or call (318) 553-5900 to schedule a consultation with our experienced Social Security disability attorney. We serve clients across Louisiana, East Texas, and Southwest Arkansas. For your convenience, we offer video conferencing options that let you seek assistance from the comfort of your own home.