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Diabetes is a very common diagnosis. The American Diabetes Association estimates that about 34.2 million, or 10.5% of the U.S. population, have diabetes. Because diabetes is easily treatable with medication and diet (“controlled”) in most cases, it will not form the basis of a successful Social Security disability claim on its own. However, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to several secondary disabling conditions that may qualify the sufferer for Social Security disability benefits. If you suffer one of these conditions, a Baltimore SSD lawyer can help you apply for benefits. 

What Is Diabetes? 

Diabetes is a chronic condition that is caused by an inability to process blood glucose. When you eat food, the food is broken down into sugar. When blood sugar increases, it signals the pancreas to produce insulin, which then acts as a catalyst to convert the sugar to energy. Individuals who have diabetes cannot produce insulin or do not produce enough insulin, which results in blood sugar staying in the bloodstream rather than being converted to energy. This can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, eye damage, and poor blood flow to the extremities. 

The most common symptoms of diabetes include: 

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue irritability 
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores 
  • Numbness in the hands and feet
  • Dry skin

There are two types of diabetes: Type I and Type II. Type I diabetes typically arises during childhood and requires sufferers to inject insulin and closely monitor their blood sugar levels. Type II diabetes typically appears during adulthood and occurs when the body’s cells become resistant to insulin and unable to process glucose. Type II diabetes is strongly associated with obesity. 

How to Qualify for Disability Benefits with Diabetes

Diabetes itself generally will not form the basis of a successful Social Security disability claim. However, secondary conditions caused by diabetes may qualify the suffer for disability benefits. Some of those conditions include: 

  • Peripheral neuropathy: Nerve damage that limits motor function in at least two extremities
  • Chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes: Extensive fungating or ulcerating skin lesions that persist for at least three months despite continuing treatment 
  • Diabetic nephropathy: Kidney damage that prevents the kidneys from filtering the blood, as measured by excess protein in the urine
  • Diabetic retinopathy: Blurred vision or vision loss that results in visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye 
  • Amputation of an extremity: Amputation of one or both lower extremities accompanied by the inability to use a prosthesis and a need for a walker, cane, crutches, or seated mobility device

Individuals who do not suffer one of these or other secondary conditions but whose uncontrolled diabetes nonetheless restricts their ability to work may be able to qualify for a medical-vocational allowance under some circumstances. 

Discuss Your Case with a Baltimore SSD Lawyer

Applying for disability benefits with diabetes can be tricky. If you suffer uncontrolled diabetes or a secondary condition, please contact Baltimore SSD lawyer Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form.