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Is Diabetes a Disability? Navigating the Complex Connection

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Medically Reviewed By: Alia Hanif Khan
January 4, 2024No Comments

Updated on January 4, 2024

Is Diabetes a Disability?

Diabetes as a Disability

Diabetes, a chronic medical condition characterized by increased blood sugar levels, has emerged as an important health issue for people worldwide. It is an incurable autoimmune condition that impacts the majority of daily decisions. The 24/7 management of diabetes affects how people exercise, eat, and organize their lives.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), Diabetes is the primary cause of blindness, stroke, renal failure, heart attack, and lower limb amputation in the current times. Most laws regard type 1 and type 2 diabetes to be disabilities. This ensures that people with diabetes have legal rights and protection against discrimination. This can be applied in the workplace, education, public settings, and dealings with police enforcement.

This article delves into the complex question: Is diabetes a disability? Considering the medical, social, and legal aspects that contribute to the complexity of this issue, we’ll cover up aspects of the condition.

Also read: Is Falling Asleep After Eating Sugar A Sign Of Diabetes?

Understanding Diabetes

To comprehend the potential disability complications of diabetes, it’s essential to first understand the condition itself. Diabetes is primarily divided into two categories: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system attacking and destroying insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, while obesity may play its part in the development of type 2 diabetes, there are many causes leading up to the development of this condition.

Diabetes causes a range of medical complications, some of which can be severe and impact daily life. These complications include cardiovascular issues, kidney issues, nerve damage, and vision impairment. The severity and progression of these issues can vary widely among individuals, making it challenging to establish a universal classification of diabetes as a disability.

Is Diabetes Considered a Disability?

Whether or not you identify as disabled, under federal law, all types of diabetes are considered to be disability. People with diabetes are protected as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This includes access to education, public places, jobs, and some benefits such as Social Security and disability insurance.

How Does Diabetes Qualify as a Disability Under US Law?

The United States government takes into consideration the health issues a person with diabetes may experience that may interfere with their day-to-day performance at work. If a person with diabetes experiences one or more of the following symptoms, they may need to apply for benefits:

  • Diabetic Retinopathy: This is characterized by severe loss of peripheral vision or visual acuity in the better of two eyes as a result of blood vessel damage. The person must have a level of vision impairment near blindness for this condition to qualify for disability benefits.
  • Neuropathy: In this condition, a diabetic experiences pain, numbness, or weakness in one or more parts of the body. To qualify for disability benefits, this condition must affect both extremities sufficiently enough to create “sustained disturbance” while walking or standing.
  • Acidosis: This is a disorder in which bodily fluids become abnormally acidic. For this symptom to qualify for disability benefits, the diabetic must have acidosis at least twice a month, as blood tests have evidenced.

What are the Disability Benefits?

There are two kinds:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It provides a monthly check if one cannot work because of severe health issues. How much they will be provided will depend on how much they were earning when they were employed.To qualify, the person must have worked at least 5 of the past 10 years.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program is for people who make less than a certain amount (this amount changes each year) and don’t have much in savings (less than $2,000 if you’re single or $3,000 if you’re married). You don’t have to have work to get SSI benefits.

Children who don’t qualify for this security income may still be able to get Medicaid (a government-run health insurance program for folks with low incomes). More information can be received from the social services office in one’s state or country.

Social Perception and Stigma

While legal frameworks provide a groundwork for recognizing diabetes as a potential disability, societal perceptions and stigma play a significant influence in shaping the experiences of those living with the condition. Diabetes is frequently misunderstood, with some perceiving it as a self-inflicted condition caused by lifestyle choices.

This stigma can have an impact on many parts of one’s life, including work opportunities, social interactions, and mental health. Diabetes being recognized as a disability can help to challenge these misconceptions and promote a more inclusive and understanding society.

Challenges and Advocacy

Despite legal advancements and increased awareness, challenges persist in recognizing and addressing diabetes as a disability. The diverse effects of diabetes on people, as well as the lack of a one-size-fits-all strategy for accommodation, pose ongoing challenges.

Advocacy groups and organizations working for diabetes awareness play an important role in raising understanding and advocating for policy changes. These organizations seek to eliminate stereotypes, educate the public, and advocate for the rights of people with diabetes in various aspects of their lives.

Enrolling In Clinical Research

Through active participation in clinical research, one may not only help themselves but millions of others. Their contribution could pave the way for future treatments that could better manage or perhaps cure diabetes in the future.

Revival Research Institute is currently conducting multiple type 2 diabetes clinical trials for individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. These clinical trials aim to help people better manage their condition and also provide access to qualified physicians along with financial compensation. By participating in our clinical trials, you can contribute to this important cause while receiving the best possible care and support.


The question of whether diabetes is a disability involves an in-depth exploration of legal, social, and medical perspectives. Recognizing diabetes as a disability can pave the way for a more inclusive society that acknowledges and accommodates the different needs of those living with this chronic condition. People with diabetes can do most jobs, and having diabetes should not prevent them from pursuing their aspirations. However, if they’re unable to work due to diabetes-related complications, they may be eligible for disability benefits from the government.


How hard is it to get disability for diabetes?

What type of diabetes is considered a disability?

Can I claim disability for diabetes?

What benefits are diabetics entitled to?

Dr. Anusia Thourani

Author Dr. Anusia Thourani

Dr. Anusia is a Dentist and currently working as a Recruitment Associate at Revive Research Institute. Her cheerful personality and enthusiasm for her work in this organization make her a great part of our team.

More posts by Dr. Anusia Thourani

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