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Is Diabetes A Disability

Last updated: April 12, 2023

Controlled diabetes makes it difficult to qualify for disability, although the majority of diabetic applicants have other medical issues that impair their ability to work. You may be eligible for disability compensation if your diabetes has resulted in skin or nerve problems, as well as organ damage that impairs your ability to walk, stand, or use your hands.

Thus, whether diabetes is considered a disability or not depends on how severe your case is and whether you have secondary conditions that make it more difficult for you to carry out your day-to-day tasks. Each disability case is different, and in order to answer the question: “Is diabetes a disability?” it's important to know when it's considered to be one. 

When Is Diabetes Considered A Disability?

You may be eligible for Social Security disability (SSDI/SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if you have uncontrolled diabetes and your doctor believes you won't be able to work for at least 12 months.

However, in order to be eligible for disability benefits, the damage caused by your diabetes must severely limit what you can accomplish, or you must have complications that meet the criteria for one of Social Security's disability listings. To determine this, the SSA assesses your residual functional capacity (RFC) by reviewing the following: 

  • Your medical background
  • The recommendation of your physician (if it details your functional limitations and is backed up by medical evidence)
  • Statements from your family and friends, as well as statements you make in your application and adult disability report

Is Diabetes A Disability In The United States Government?

Diabetes affects around 34.2 million Americans — more than 1 out of every 10 persons. A further 88 million people have prediabetes. That implies one-third of all adults in the United States are at high risk of acquiring diabetes in the future.

If you've been diagnosed with diabetes or are at high risk of developing it, you might wonder if the government considers diabetes a disability. Take a look at the two types of diabetes and whether they are classified as disabilities in the U.S. 

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own cells, preventing them from producing insulin. Insulin is required by the body to transport glucose, a form of sugar, from the bloodstream into the cells for energy. The level of glucose in the blood rises too quickly without insulin.

Insulin injections help persons with type 1 diabetes control their blood glucose levels and manage their disease. However, type 1 diabetes is considered a disability by the government.

Type 2 Diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but their bodies may not produce enough, or their cells may not respond to it properly.

These insulin issues, like type 1 diabetes, cause blood sugar levels to rise. People with type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, can manage their condition with medicine, diet, and exercise. Type 2 diabetes is also considered a disability by the U.S. government.


There has been much debate on whether or not diabetes is considered a disability by the SSA. However, the truth of the matter is it depends on the extent to which your conditions keep you from performing daily tasks and earning money. 

In general, the SSA provides benefits to those who can successfully indicate that their condition disqualified them from joining the workforce for 12 months. If you can do this and provide the mentioned documentation, there is a good chance you’re case will be successful. 

Looking for more resources on disabilities and the SSA? Head to Disability Help to learn more about how to file for disabilities and calculate social security payments. 

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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