Social Security Disability – Spotlight on Diabetes

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As a Social Security Disability attorney in North Carolina, I represent a lot of people who have diabetes. Often, my clients will have other health problems that also affect them, but sometimes I represent people whose diabetes, and complications from their diabetes, is the main thing preventing them from being able to work. 

It is not surprising that I see so many diabetics, because according to the American Diabetes Association, in 2012 29.1 million Americans , or 9.3 percent of the population, had diabetes. In North Carolina, according to the CDC, in 2012 some 778,716 North Carolinians were diabetic. This is an unfortunately large percentage of those fine folks who call the Tarheel state home.  

Diabetes can cause many complications that can be debilitating and prevent someone from working. Kidney disease, neuropathy, and blindness or eye problems are just a few examples. The Social Security Administration should take into account all of the complications you may have from diabetes that limit you from being able to work when determining whether you are disabled.  

In my practice, diabetic neuropathy is a common condition that prevents many of my clients from working.  

Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur over time when you have diabetes that is not under control.

 It typically occurs in the feet (and sometimes hands), and can cause severe numbness, constant burning or stinging pain, and loss of coordination and balance.

Neuropathy can make standing on your feet very difficult for more than just a few minutes, which limits your ability to do the standing required in full time jobs.  It can make walking for any distance excruciatingly painful as well, and may require you to use a cane or other assistive device.

Neuropathy in the hands can prevent you from being able to use your hands for more than just a few minutes at a time, which can greatly impact your ability to do a full time job.  

It is important to try to prevent neuropathy by, among other things, keeping your blood sugar tightly controlled. Unfortunately, once you have neuropathy, according to the Mayo Clinic there is no known cure, and treatment focuses on slowing progression of the disease, relieving pain, managing complications and restoring function.

Neuropathy is a painful complication of diabetes that shouldn’t be taken lightly. My clients would rather work than receive disability benefits, but sometimes the life-altering affects of diabetic neuropathy give them no choice.  


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