Individuals with Diabetes May Experience Increased Risk of Disability, Allsup Explains

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Allsup outlines benefits of Social Security Disability Insurance for those with qualifying diabetes-related.

Allsup encourages individuals to educate themselves about diabetes and to get screened if they are considered high risk.

A new study finds that individuals with diabetes face a much higher risk of disability—in some cases up to 80 percent higher—than those without the condition. The findings highlight the importance of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to help ease the costs of managing the disease and its effects, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of SSDI representation.

The report, published July 23, 2013, in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, reviewed data from 26 studies, comparing the presence of disability in individuals with and without diabetes. Disability was considered difficulty in mobility and the activities of daily living, such as walking, bathing, eating and managing finances. Combined with an aging population and the increased prevalence of diabetes, researchers suggested a substantial increase in disability connected to diabetes in the coming years.

Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood glucose due to lack of insulin production, insulin action or both, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The body requires insulin to process glucose for energy. In the most common form of diabetes, called type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or disregards what is produced.

“Individuals with type 2 diabetes may experience a number of serious complications, such as lower-limb amputations, kidney damage, blindness and premature death,” said Ed Swierczek, an Allsup senior claimant representative. “Non-health-related complications can include lost income and significantly higher medical costs.”

SSDI and Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) released a study earlier this year that found people with diabetes spend 2.3 times more on medical expenses than those without diabetes. Additionally, more than 1 in 10 healthcare dollars in the U.S. is spent on diabetes and its effects.

The CDC estimates that 8.3 percent of Americans have the disease. Risk factors include obesity, having a parent or sibling with diabetes and having an African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian-American or Pacific Islander family background.

In seeking Social Security Disability Insurance, a diabetes diagnosis alone is not considered a disabling impairment. “To qualify for disability benefits, there must be additional complications caused by the disease that severely limit functioning,” Swierczek said. “For example, the individual must experience difficulty in seeing, walking or using his or her hands. Documenting these difficulties and securing corresponding medical reports and data can help build a successful SSDI claim.” Read more about general disability guidelines on

SSDI is a federally mandated disability insurance program overseen by the Social Security Administration and it operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income programs. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability. Individuals and their employers pay for the federal insurance program through FICA taxes.

Allsup encourages individuals to educate themselves about diabetes and to get screened if they are considered high risk. “Self-managing this condition is an important step in improving quality of life and health outcomes,” Swierczek said. “However, those who can no longer work because of diabetes should consider applying for Social Security disability benefits.”

To determine eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, call the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276 for a free SSDI evaluation.

About Allsup
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans' disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. Visit or connect with Allsup at

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