Is diabetes a disability? Many people have questions about diabetes and disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not consider diabetes as a disability if it is well-controlled and has not caused any damage to any organs. When evaluating the claims, the SSA looks at what affects the disease has on the person’s health. A more detailed description of SSA requirements can be found at, however, (in short) the SSA evaluates the following:

  • If the diabetes is not being controlled, but the person is not following prescribed treatment the person will not be considered for diabetes disability.
  • In children who take insulin, diabetes is considered disabling if the child has had recent recurrent hospitalization with acidosis or episodes of hypoglycemia. As long as prescribed treatment is being followed they may consider this diabetes a disability.
  • Children with diabetes may also be found disabled and receive disability for diabetes,and if they have a severe growth impairment.
  • Children and adults with diabetes are considered disabled due to severe kidney disease. If a person has had a kidney transplant, they are considered disabled for 12 months; after that they are reevaluated.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes due to pancreatic dysfunction with repeated hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, or ketosis and a low weight may be considered disabled.
  • Adults and children may be found disabled if they have severe neuropathy which causes severe limitations of the hands or the ability to stand or walk.
  • Vision impairments may be considered if the best eye has a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse, loss of visual efficiency is 20 percent or less, or if the person has retinopathy and is over 49 years of age. Corrective surgery must be performed, if possible, before these cases are considered.
  • A person who has a disability and diabetes may be considered for benefits. Amputation of both hands, one or both lower extremities at or above the tarsal region, or one hand and one lower extremity at or above the torso region, the person may be considered disabled. Hip disarticulation is also considered disabling.
  • It is easier to qualify for social security benefits after 50 years old. The SSA considers a person’s age, education, and past relevant work when they reach this age.


Diabetes Disability Act


The Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect on January 1, 2009. It prohibits the discrimination of individuals which qualify as disabled. It also prohibits any retaliation for asserting the right not to be discriminated against. The Act also protects parents who have faced employment troubles because of their child’s disability. A school must not discriminate against a child with a disability. The school must also make reasonable changes in its practices to avoid discrimination and afford an equal opportunity to participate, unless this would impose an “undue burden” (, 2011).


Diabetes Disability Allowance


In the UK, a disability living allowance (DLA) is given for people under 65 who need help with their personal care or mobility. Parents of children under 16 can claim it if their child has needs over and above that of a child of the same age with no disabilities. Normally children with diabetes are only awarded enough for their personal care, unless they have additional conditions or complications that take their ability to move about. People who care for someone receiving DLA may be entitled to a Carers Allowance.


A Disability for Diabetes


Vietnam veterans that have type 2 diabetes are eligible for disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This is because they are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides. Type 2 diabetes was added to the list of “presumptive diseases associated with herbicide exposure” in the year 2000, according to the American Diabetes association.


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