Whether your doctor discovered your condition during a routine exam or you were experiencing upsetting symptoms that led you to seek medical assistance, a diagnosis of diabetes can bring with it many serious life changes. This may include dietary restrictions, glucose monitoring and frequent injections to regulate your body’s insulin. Even these steps may not prevent you from experiencing the devastating effects of the disease.
Because diabetes affects people in different ways and with varying severity, it may not constitute a disability according to the standards of the Social Security Administration. In fact, since many can manage type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes, the SSA no longer includes it among those conditions for which a diagnosis automatically qualifies you for benefits. You will have to provide evidence to support your claim that your diabetes impairs your ability to earn a living.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body no longer produces enough insulin to break down the glucose that builds up in your blood. This can have a devastating effect on your body’s systems and can place you at risk of progressively worse complications that may include:
- Loss of vision due to retinal damage
- Hearing loss from damaged blood vessels in the ear
- Damage to your kidneys
- Cardiovascular disease, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure or arrhythmia
- Diabetic neuropathy, which is a numbness or painful tingling in your extremities brought on by nerve damage
You may also experience sleep apnea or wounds that do not heal. Those wounds may lead to chronic skin infections. It is not unusual for those with uncontrolled diabetes to have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Applying for disability
Any of the above problems may affect your ability to maintain gainful employment. You may need to take time off to deal with issues related to your diabetes, or the severity of your condition may prevent you from doing any kind of work. If you expect the symptoms and complications of diabetes to keep you from working consistently for at least one year, you may qualify for disability benefits.
Proving that diabetes prevents you from working can be challenging. It is important that you are honest with your doctor about your symptoms and limitations and that you follow every protocol for controlling your condition. Submitting as much information as possible about your symptoms and complications and how they impair your ability to perform daily activities will be an essential element in the process of seeking disability benefits.