Diabetes Disability Benefits on Social Security

Cropped view of a senior woman receiving help with her finances from her granddaughter

You cannot qualify for Social Security diabetes disability benefits solely on the basis of having diabetes.

However, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can prove you have diabetes, have been complying with treatment and meet their definition of severe neuropathy, acidosis, or retinopathy. You also need to show you cannot perform basic physical and/or mental work activities needed to perform most jobs.

If you don't fit the above definitions but have a disability that prevents you from participating in substantial gainful activity, diabetes will be taken into consideration when evaluating your case.


A person may be considered disabled if they have diabetes with neuropathy in two extremities that make necessary movements difficult or they have had difficulty standing and walking for at least a year or more.


Consideration is also given for having diabetes with episodes of acidosis (also known as ketoacidosis) about once every two months documented with appropriate laboratory tests. Blood glucose is usually higher than 250 mg/dL in ketoacidosis and often requires hospitalization. People with brittle diabetes often qualify under this section.


Disability may be considered for substantial loss of visual acuity, peripheral vision or visual efficiency.

Other Disability Considerations

Diabetes combined with other complications or impairments that make it hard to perform a job can be considered such as kidney disease, heart disease, or an amputation.

Disability in Children With Diabetes

It is not common for children to become disabled due to diabetes, particularly with the above complications that more often occur in adults who have had diabetes for a long time. They may qualify if they are under 18 years, insulin-dependant and have had many recent hospitalizations with acidosis or hypoglycemia. A child with diabetes might also be considered disabled if they have a severe growth impairment or impaired renal function.

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