Getting approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) in Atlanta is difficult no matter what condition you have, but diabetes can be particularly complicated. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can present a wide range of symptoms and can be more or less severe from one patient to another.
That means the Social Security Administration goes to great lengths to make diabetes patients prove that they are not only diabetic but disabled. The SSDI application process can be long, frustrating, and uncertain. You should have an Atlanta diabetes lawyer working on your behalf.
John Foy & Associates can help. We have successfully gotten individuals with diabetes approved for SSDI benefits. For over 20 years, our practice has been dedicated to helping people who are injured or face debilitating chronic conditions like diabetes. We can go over your options and help you understand what you need to get approved.
Your Rights As a Diabetic
As someone living with diabetes, on top of health problems, you may sometimes run into discrimination or medical issues. If someone is treating you unfairly, you have rights.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), some people with diabetes are counted as people with disabilities, depending on the extent and severity of their condition. Because of that, people with diabetes often have special rights and accommodations that others are required to afford.
One of your most important rights as a diabetic is privacy. When you’re applying for a job or at any time in the workplace, it is illegal for an employer to ask if you have a disability, how many sick days you’ve taken in the past, or what drugs you’ve been prescribed.
The American Diabetes Association has resources that can help you advocate for yourself if you are being discriminated against for your diabetes. If you need help getting benefits, you can turn to John Foy & Associates. Our diabetes attorneys in Atlanta can help with the Social Security Disability process.
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Medical Malpractice in Diabetes Treatment
As someone who may have to undergo more medical procedures and receive more prescriptions than people without diabetes, you may also run into malpractice. If a negligent doctor, nurse, or other caregiver has caused your condition to worsen or injured you in some way, you could be able to get compensation.
When treating you, medical professionals owe you something called a “standard of care.” That is the level to which anyone of their education level and background can be expected to treat you. If they breach that duty, then they are guilty of negligence and are liable for any damages that negligence caused.
A personal injury lawyer in Atlanta can talk to you about your situation and tell you what your options are. We offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.
Does Diabetes Qualify for SSDI Benefits in Atlanta?
Yes. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a published list of conditions that can qualify as disabilities and make you eligible for benefits. Diabetes itself is not on the list, but a number of complications that arise from severe diabetes are included.
This means that whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes (Mellitus) you may qualify. Other less common forms of diabetes can also qualify.
But just having diabetes does not automatically mean you get SSDI benefits. The SSA wants to see that your particular case of diabetes is preventing you from working. They also need to know that the disability caused by your diabetes is long-term and will continue to prevent you from working for 12 months or more.
While this sounds simple, the amount of paperwork the SSA requires to prove your claim can be substantial. Many diabetics with a valid disability have their claim denied simply because they didn’t submit the right documents.
What Proof Do I Need to Get My Diabetes SSDI Claim Approved?
It depends. If your diabetes has led to certain serious complications, then simply documenting those conditions – along with your diabetes diagnosis – may be enough. These conditions include:
- Diabetic retinopathy/poor vision. In some cases, diabetes leads to poor vision or blurred vision. Either of these conditions qualifies as a disability under SSA guidelines if they are severe enough.
- Peripheral neuropathy/nerve damage. Nerve damage is common in diabetics, particularly in the extremities such as the hands, feet, or legs. This will qualify as a disability if it severely affects your ability to walk, stand, or use your hands.
- Nephropathy/kidney problems. If you are on daily dialysis you may automatically qualify for SSDI. If you are at an earlier stage of kidney decline, or if there are high levels of proteins in your blood plasma, you may also qualify.
- Cardiovascular problems. Diabetes can progress into a variety of heart problems including coronary artery disease, chronic heart failure, vascular disease, and more. Each of these can itself count as a disability and qualify for SSDI.
- Problems with infections & healing. If your diabetes has led to ulcerating skin lesions for three months (and resisted treatment), and if they make it difficult to walk or do fine work with your hands, you are considered to have a chronic skin infection, which qualifies for SSDI.
- Amputation. If you have had a foot amputated you may qualify for benefits.
Few of these conditions automatically qualify for benefits. In most cases, you will have to show the extent to which the condition affects your ability to work, and in all cases, you will need documentation of your physician visits and diagnosis. Your specific case may or may not be considered severe enough to qualify for benefits.
Important: Even if you don’t have any of these conditions, or even if they are not deemed severe enough, you could still qualify. This is done by filing a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) analysis.
What Is an RFC Analysis and How do I Do One?
RFC analyses are used in many types of disability cases. They assess how much physical ability you have to do work, and are useful in proving a disability when your diagnosis on its own is not enough. They are not complex, but like everything in the SSDI process, they do require detailed documentation.
RFC analyses are most useful when:
- You don’t have any of the serious complications listed above
- You have one or more of the complications, but your complications are not deemed severe enough
- You have another condition in addition to diabetes, and together the two conditions prevent you from working
Your RFC analysis will assess your abilities in several areas, including the ability to stand, the ability to walk, and your ability to use your hands. It will also look at how well you can focus on a task and cooperate with others.
Finally, it will evaluate your ability to come to work regularly. This allows you to factor in common diabetes symptoms like fatigue, as well as conditions that frequently co-occur with diabetes, like obesity and depression.
What Do You Need for an RFC Analysis?
The RFC is carried out by the SSA, but they will base it largely on the documentation that you yourself provide. This can include:
- Medical history
- Statements by family and friends
- Your own statement
- A doctor’s written opinion of your functional limitations, if it includes specific details on your ability level and refers to medical evidence
Of these, getting a detailed doctor’s opinion can make the biggest difference. We can help you see a doctor who understands both diabetes and the way the SSDI system works. One doctor can make all the difference in the world if they understand which evidence to include in their opinion.
What Are the Most Common Reasons Diabetes SSDI Claims Are Turned Down in Atlanta?
Both doctors and patients can make mistakes that lead to your application getting denied. The most common causes we see include:
- The doctor’s opinion doesn’t explain your functional limitations, or it’s just a general note with no reference to specific tests, office visits, or examples.
- You have a diagnosis for diabetes, but not for the specific complications that prevent you from working.
- You have the diagnoses for all the complications, but no documentation of how severe they are or how they prevent you from working.
- You do not have a documented history of symptoms going back 12 months or more (or a medical opinion that symptoms will continue for at least 12 months)
At John Foy & Associates, we understand that the SSDI process is more than just frustrating – it can be heartbreaking. For someone who cannot work, getting approved for benefits may be the only way to keep your home, provide for your family, or buy basic necessities.
Our diabetes lawyers in Atlanta understand diabetes cases and can help you get the right documentation for your case. We can also help appeal an application that has already been denied.
Talk to an Atlanta Diabetes Attorney for Free
The SSA is picky, slow, and bureaucratic. Don’t face them alone. The Atlanta Social Security Disability lawyers at John Foy & Associates will give you a free, in-depth consultation and help you understand the right next steps to take. In many cases, we can take one look at your application paperwork and see exactly what’s missing to get you approved.
Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.
404-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form