Social Security Benefits for Diabetes
You may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits for diabetes.

Can I Receive Social Security Benefits for Diabetes?

Important: We updated this article in May 2022 to reflect current Social Security Administration policy data and guidelines. Diabetes mellitus describes a group of illnesses that affect how your body uses glucose, or blood sugar (an important energy source for cells and your brain). Individuals with diabetes have too much glucose in their bloodstream, which can lead to serious health complications. These diabetes complications may make you eligible to receive Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. Keep reading to learn more about getting Social Security benefits for diabetes.

Types Of Chronic Diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, often develops in children but can also occur during adulthood. In this form of the illness, the body stops making insulin or doesn’t produce enough because the immune system is destroying insulin-making cells.

Treatment for Type 1 diabetes often includes:

  • Insulin injections
  • Oral medications
  • Healthy eating
  • Exercise
  • Controlling blood pressure

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is referred to as adult-onset, but a person of any age can be affected. Inactive and overweight individuals are at particular risk of developing this form of the condition. Type 2 diabetes starts with insulin resistance, causing the body to need more insulin to move glucose into cells. Over time, the pancreas becomes unable to produce the amount of insulin that is necessary, which leads to a spike in blood sugar, especially after eating.

Treatment usually includes:

  • Taking medication
  • Eating healthy
  • Regular physical activity
  • Controlling blood pressure as well as cholesterol

Are There Social Security Benefits for Diabetes?

If your symptoms prevent you from working full-time, then you might qualify for Social Security benefits for diabetes. However, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s qualifications for Social Security benefits for diabetes as a disability first.

Social Security Benefits for Diabetes: Checking Your Eligibility

To prove you meet the disability criteria that qualifies you to receive Social Security benefits for diabetes, you must:

  1. Have uncontrolled diabetes that stops you from working at least one year. Or, your doctor says you won’t be able to work for at least 12 months.
  2. The damage caused by your diabetes must seriously limit what work you can do.
  3. Your complications must meet the SSA’s requirements in the Blue Book listing. Know that if your illness in uncontrolled because you don’t follow your doctor’s orders, the SSA will deny your application.
  4. Additionally, if your diabetes results in neuropathy, issues with physical movement or diabetic retinopathy, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits for diabetes.

If you aren’t tracking your blood sugar yet at home, you should be. We like the Care Touch glucose monitoring kit, which includes free overnight shipping.

Is Getting Social Security Benefits for Diabetes Difficult?

While having diabetes alone isn’t enough to get a claim approved, having complications that meet the listed requirements in the SSA’s Blue Book, you might be eligible. The following conditions can be found in the Blue Book:

  • Diabetic nephropathy: Kidneys no longer filter properly
  • Cardiovascular disease: Coronary heart disease, irregular heartbeat or peripheral vascular disease
  • Diabetic retinopathy: Blurred vision, poor peripheral vision or visual acuity
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy: Nerve damage in the hands, feet, arms or legs that makes it difficult to walk, stand or use your hands
  • Amputation: Surgical removal of your foot, lower leg, or entire leg due to poor circulation, nerve damage or a serious infection
  • Poorly healing skin issues: Skin ulcers that make it difficult to use your hands or walk

If you don’t meet any of the requirements for these conditions, the SSA will review the medical evidence you provide to assess if it proves that you are disabled. Using the information, the agency will determine how well you can use your extremities as well as your ability to stand and walk. In some cases, the SSA may request a residual functional capacity form. If so, this form measures what level of activity you can complete and if you can focus and get along with others. Additionally, the organization will review notes and results from doctors and any tests that have been done in addition to any statements from you, your family or friends regarding how diabetes makes you disabled.

Navigating the application process to get Social Security benefits for diabetes can be tricky. That’s why we recommend getting professional help from a Social Security attorney. It’s free to apply on your own or with a lawyer’s help, but only the second option improves your chances for approval the first time. Legal assistance makes you 3x more likely to get benefits vs. applying on your own. You’ll pay nothing unless a lawyer helps you win benefits, since they always work on contingency. And if you do end up getting Social Security benefits for diabetes, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free, no-obligation benefits evaluation online now!

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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity,, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.