Social Security Offers Benefits for Conditions Caused by Diabetes

Like millions of Americans, you know that living with diabetes is no easy task. The insulin injections, the structured diet, the constant blood testing—and there’s no way to tell when a “low” will pop up and ruin your day. But unless you want to spend your life at Bryan Health’s Diabetes Center, you have to watch your blood sugar like a hawk—meaning you have to take constant breaks throughout your workday. Sometimes, you’ve had to leave work and go straight to the ER, and you have no hope of making up the time. Will staying at work mean risking your heath—or even your life?

Social Security May Pay for Problems Caused by Diabetes

There are many ways patients who suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. In most cases, benefits are available to sufferers whose diabetes cannot be easily controlled. For example, the Social Security Administration lists the following conditions as particularly disabling:

  • Hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia, another term for abnormally high blood glucose levels, can be a side effect of both types of diabetes. High blood sugar can cause episodes of diabetic ketoacidosis or other potentially life-threatening health complications throughout the body.
  • Chronic hyperglycemia. If your blood sugar levels are consistently high over a long period of time, your body may suffer irreversible effects of chronic hyperglycemia. Common side effects include nerve and blood vessel damage throughout the body, which increases the risk of gangrene of the limbs (and subsequent amputation), diabetic retinopathy, coronary artery disease, skin infections, and eventual cognitive and mental health decline.
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a serious condition that occurs when the chemical balance of the body becomes acidic due to high blood sugar levels. It is caused by a severe insulin deficiency (commonly caused by illness or inadequate daily insulin treatment). Patients suffering an attack of DKA need immediate hospital care for insulin deficiency, as well as dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. If not treated quickly, patients may suffer fatal effects.
  • Hypoglycemia. Episodes of low blood glucose are common for diabetes sufferers and are often treated by consuming glucose tablets or foods containing sugars. However, if a diabetic is concentrating on a task or is unable to take a break during the day, he may postpone treatment until it is more convenient, increasing the risk of severe hypoglycemia. If blood sugar continues to drop, a patient could suffer loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, or brain damage.

Many sufferers of type 2 diabetes are denied benefits on their first try because this condition is considered “more livable” than type 1. Qualifying for benefits for diabetes is difficult. If you have been unable to control your diabetes with lifestyle changes and daily medication, you may still qualify for benefits (even if you’ve previously been denied). Click the link on this page to read through our guide, 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case, before you appeal your decision.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska