Determine if an individual is working (engaging in substantial gainful activity) according to the SSA definition. Earning more than $1,170 a month as an employee is enough to be disqualified from receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Conclude the diabetes disability must be severe enough to significantly limit one’s ability to perform basic work activities needed to do most jobs. For example:
- Walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handling
- Seeing, hearing and speaking
- Understanding/carrying out and remembering simple instructions
- Responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations
- Dealing with changes in a routine work setting
Evaluate impairments that result from endocrine disorders under SSA medical listings for other body systems. For example:
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is an acute, potentially life-threatening complication of Diabetes Mellitis (DM) and usually requires hospital treatment to correct the acute complications of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and insulin deficiency. You may have serious complications resulting from your treatment, which the SSA evaluates under the affected body system. For example, the SSA evaluates cardiac arrhythmias under the Cardiovascular System (4.00), intestinal necrosis under the Digestive System (5.00) and cerebral edema and seizures under Neurological (11.00). Recurrent episodes of DKA may result from mood or eating disorders, which SSA evaluates under Mental Disorders (12.00).
Explore the ability of an individual to perform work they have done in the past despite their diabetes. If the SSA finds that a person can do his past work, benefits are denied. If the person cannot, then the process proceeds to the fifth and final step.
Review age, education, work experience and physical/mental condition to determine what other work, if any, the person can perform. To determine diabetes disability, the SSA enlists medical-vocational rules, which vary according to age.
For example, if a person is:
Under age 50 and, as a result of the symptoms of diabetes, unable to perform what the SSA calls sedentary work, then the SSA will reach a determination of disabled. Sedentary work requires the ability to lift a maximum of 10 pounds at a time, sit six hours and occasionally walk and stand two hours per eight-hour day.
Age 50 or older and, due to the diabetes, limited to performing sedentary work, but has no work-related skills that allow him to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
Age 55 or older and, due to the disability, limited to performing light work, but has no work-related skills that allow him to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
Over age 60 and, due to the diabetes, unable to perform any of the jobs he performed in the last 15 years, the SSA will likely reach a determination of disabled.
Any age and, because of diabetes, has a psychological impairment that prevents even simple, unskilled work, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.