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Winning Disability Benefits for Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as “diabetes,” is a medical condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or cells fail to use insulin that is produced (Type 2 diabetes), resulting in high blood sugar.

Diabetes is a common impairment, and it is estimated that at least 171 million people worldwide suffer from the disease. It is especially common in the United States, where diabetes rates have been on the rise for years. By some estimates, one in three Americans born after 2000 will develop the disease in their lifetime. The risk is particularly high among African-Americans.

As with most medical conditions, diabetics experience different symptoms to different degrees. Not everyone with diabetes will qualify for Social Security disability benefits, and in fact, most people are able to control their diabetes with exercise, diet, and insulin. Some people with more serious cases will qualify, however.

The Social Security Administration does not have a specific listing for diabetes; like all endocrine disorders, diabetes claims will be evaluated on the basis of how the disorder affects other body systems like the brain, heart, and vascular system.

Meeting a Listing for Diabetes

Until June 2011, the Social Security Administration had three different listings for diabetes: Listing 9.08A for neuropathy, Listing 9.08B for ketoacidosis, and Listing 9.08C for retinitis proliferans. However, there is no longer a listing for diabetes per se. Rather, your claim for benefits will be evaluated under the listing for the body system impacted by your diabetes.

For example, if diabetes affects your brain, your claim will be evaluated under Listing 12.00 for mental disorders. If it causes problems with your heart or cardiovascular system, it will be evaluated under Listing 4.00 for the cardiovascular system.

Social Security listings can be complex, so your best bet is to meet with a New York disability attorney who can help you determine which listing is relevant to your claim and whether your disorder is severe enough to qualify for benefits.

Continue to Diabetes and the Brain.