Can Type 1 Diabetics Get Social Security Disability?


Type 1 diabetes is not a qualifying medical condition for which anyone over six years of age can receive Social Security Disability benefit payments. In fact, neither diabetes nor any other endocrine disorders are even included in Part A -- the adult section -- of the SSA Blue Book list of impairments. However, complications that arise despite your best efforts to manage and control Type 1 can open the door to receiving benefits.

Type 1 Diabetes as a Qualifying Condition

Social Security considers five factors when making a benefit determination. These focus on your condition, whether it affects your ability to perform basic work-related tasks, and if so, how much.

According to these factors, type 1 diabetes does not qualify on its own for two reasons. First, the SSA removed it from the Blue Book listing of disabling impairments in 2011. Second, if you can manage your condition through a combination of diet, exercise, blood sugar monitoring and medication it seldom affects your ability to work.


  • Type 1 diabetic [children]( under 6 years of age who require insulin daily will qualify.

Qualifying Complications

If despite following medical advice and instructions, you develop complications listed in the Blue Book you may qualify for Social Security disability even though Type 1 diabetes is itself not a disabling condition. In addition to kidney failure and heart problems, qualifying complications include:

  • Diabetic neuropathy - a nervous system disorder
    characterized by involuntary movements, tremors or partial paralysis that makes
    it difficult to stand, walk or use your hands.

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis - a condition characterized by a
    buildup of toxic acids in the bloodstream that develops when you can’t regulate
    insulin levels. To qualify, acidosis must occur at least once every two months.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy - a progressive degenerative condition
    that affects the retinas of your eyes. To qualify, the damage must be such that
    vision in your “better” eye is no better than 20/200.

Getting Approved

Approval for Social Security disability benefits depends on whether the results of a thorough investigation reveal that you are unable to return to your previous employment or perform any full-time work because of the severity of complicating conditions. If it does, you’ll qualify under a medical-vocational allowance.

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