Nearly 28 million Americans have diabetes, and the number is rapidly rising. To help raise awareness of diabetes education and prevention, buildings around the globe lit up blue the evening of November 14th in honor of World Diabetes Day.
A blue circle - symbolizing life and the blue sky that connects all nations – is the official symbol of World Diabetes Day. Led by the International Diabetes Federation, the day is celebrated in more than 160 countries, and became an official United Nations holiday in 2007. It’s observed on the birthday of Fredrick Banting, the Canadian scientist who was credited with discovering insulin. In addition to the “blue light” campaign, the day entails numerous activities around the world, including free diabetes screenings, exhibits, press conferences, and fundraising walks and runs.
Diabetes affects more than 350 million people worldwide. It’s a chronic disease caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin (a hormone used to convert glucose to energy,) or being unable to effectively use the insulin that it produces.
There are three types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes (sometimes called “insulin-dependent” or “juvenile-onset”) occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its insulin-dependent cells. Those with this type of diabetes require daily insulin injections to survive.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for more than 90% of diabetes cases, is characterized by insulin resistance and deficiency. Since it doesn’t require daily insulin injections, it often goes undetected for many years, causing numerous complications.
Gestational diabetes (GD) consists of high blood glucose levels during pregnancy, and affects around 25% of all pregnant women. Although it usually disappears after the woman gives birth, half of women who develop GD go on to have Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Those who are applying for Social Security Disability on the basis of diabetes can qualify for benefits in a few different ways.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides specific criteria that, if met, automatically qualify those with diabetes for benefits. This is included in the “Blue Book” impairment listing number 9.08. To qualify under this listing, you’ll have to provide medical evidence of the following:
- Neuropathy (numbness and tingling,), in the hands, arms, feet, or legs, and affecting at least two extremities. This must significantly interfere with walking or using your arms, and must be long-lasting and not approved by medicine.
- Acidosis (changes in blood chemistry caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels) occurring at least on an average of once every 2 months, and documented by the appropriate blood chemical tests;
- Retinitis proliferans (significant visual impairment,), evaluated according to other specific vision guidelines.
If you don’t meet these specific guidelines, you could still qualify for benefits. The SSA will use your medical records to determine the effects your diabetes will have on your ability to perform any substantial, gainful work activities. They will also consider your age, level of education, and prior work experience. In general, if you’re over 50, with lesser education and a history of unskilled labor, you’ll have a greater chance of being awarded benefits than someone who is younger, with a higher education and a history of skilled employment.
If you fall into the latter category, it’s still possible to win your disability claim, especially if you have other conditions that affect your ability to work. To get approved, you’ll need to show that due to a combination of your impairments, you’re unable to do any type of work on a consistent basis.
If you or someone that you love is considering applying for Social Security Disability due to complications related to diabetes, you can get additional information by contacting a qualified Social Security attorney in your area today.