If you have diabetes that can’t be managed through medication or lifestyle changes, you may be eligible for assistance. Type 1 diabetes doesn’t always qualify for disability benefits, but some people are able to receive monthly disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your benefits can be used on hospital bills and medical treatments, rent, utility bills, food expenses, and any other daily living needs.
Medically Qualifying for Diabetes
Children under age 6 will automatically medically qualify with type 1 diabetes if they require insulin every day. If you or your child has type 1 diabetes but is over age 6, qualification will be a little more complex.
After age 6, the SSA needs more evidence that your diabetes prevents you from working and earning a gainful living. The best way to do this is by showing that your diabetes complications “meet” a listing in the Blue Book, which is the SSA’s guideline of qualifying criteria for disabilities. For example, some disabilities that qualify for benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Amputation—if you’re unable to walk while using a prosthetic limb or have both hands amputated, you’ll qualify for disability benefits
- Coronary artery disease—this condition qualifies if your heart function is low enough, based on standard medical findings
- Neuropathy—this will qualify if you’re unable to perform dexterous movements like type or use a phone, or if you’re unable to walk without use of a walker or wheelchair
- Depression & anxiety—it’s challenging to qualify with a mood disorder, but if type 1 diabetes causes severe depression and anxiety that severely limits your ability to interact with others, you may be eligible for benefits.
The entire Blue Book can be found online, so you can review the various listings with your doctor to determine if you’re eligible for benefits.
Following a Doctor’s Orders
Because many people are able to successfully manage their diabetes, it’ll be important to show that despite your best efforts your diabetes still keeps you from earning a gainful living.
The SSA will check to make sure you’ve been attempting to modify your lifestyle and taking all prescribed medication to improve your life with diabetes. If you haven’t been following your doctor’s orders for some reason, you will not be approved for disability benefits.
Starting Your Application
If you’re applying for disability benefits for yourself, the easiest way to apply is online on the SSA’s website. You can save your application process to be completed at a later time if you’d like.
If you’re applying on behalf of a minor child, or if you’d simply rather speak with someone in person, you can apply at your local SSA office. There are more than 1,300 offices located across the country. To apply in person, schedule an appointment with the SSA by calling 1-800-772-1213 toll free.
Diabetes in Control: http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/
SSA Blue Book Childhood Diabetes: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/109.00-Endocrine-Childhood.htm – 109_08
How to qualify for disability with amputation: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/amputation-and-social-security-disability
Find your local SSA office: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-resources
SSA Disability Online Application: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib