Hi. This is Jonathan Ginsberg. I would like
to talk to you today about how I approach Social Security disability cases
involving Type II diabetes. Type II is the typically adult onset diabetes.
It is not juvenile or Type I diabetes. That’s really a separate type of
category but Type II diabetes. Of course, we’re seeing a lot of that because
of diet, obesity, that type of thing, and so a lot of people have it.
Of course, since diabetes is fairly common judges see it a lot. So in turn
they expect more from claimants with diabetes. So really what I’m looking for in a diabetes
case or what I think helps win would be several things. One is you should
definitely be compliant with your medication. Ideally, you’d be on insulin.
It’s much more difficult to win a case when you’re on the blood sugar
pills without something else. So typically for a diabetes only case I’m looking
for an insulin dependent diabetic. Someone who is compliant with taking
the insulin. It’s not good enough to say anymore I can’t afford my medication
and so I don’t take it all the time or I don’t like the way I feel.
You’ve got to take the medications on time. You’ve got to be compliant
with who put the diet. Typically in a Type II diabetes case, your
doctor will give you a diabetic diet. American Diabetes Association Diet will
restrict your calories and limit your sugar and simple carbohydrate intake.
Very important to be compliant with that. If I see in a medical
record that my client is not compliant, that he or she is drinking alcohol
or is not compliant with the diet, that makes it much more difficult to
win. I think judges are looking for cases where there is neuropathy which
is pain in the nerve. Typically, that is that numbness and tingling you’ll
feel in your hands or your feet and/or blurred vision which is the retinopathy
where the vision is being affected. The capillaries in the eye are being
damaged by the blood sugar fluctuations. We’re also looking for situations where diabetes
has been long-lasting. 10 years, 15 years because as you know diabetes
is a progressive disease and the damage from the blood sugar fluctuations
tends to accumulate. So if you’ve been diabetic for four or five years
unless you really didn’t know, you were not compliant, didn’t have medications
and had a lot of damage very quickly, judges typically are looking
for cases where somebody had diabetes for a number of years. I think some
of the other things that judges look for and I’ve won cases with, people
who need to take frequent bathroom breaks. Obviously, diabetes causes
a frequent need to urinate, having a lot of bathroom breaks in excess
of what is normal which might be twice a day. That can be a real problem in
a work environment, especially in an unskilled work environment. So that’s one of the things that I ask my
clients to keep track of. Variations and wild swings in blood sugar.
I’ve had people tell me that low blood sugar is actually more debilitating
than high blood sugar because it causes confusion and it’s more difficult to
recover from. So if your blood sugar fluctuates and you cannot keep it at
a certain level, that’s probably a stronger argument than one where the level
is a little bit high. It’s may be a 150 blood sugar 125, but it’s worse when
it goes from 40 or 60 to 300 and back and forth and so forth. So that’s
what I look for. Realize that judges see diabetes as sort of
a long-term controllable illness that if you take your medications
and watch your diet, it’s something you should be able to live with
and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re disabled. So what we’re really looking
for are cases where there has been organ damage especially liver, kidney,
that type of thing. There is retinopathy, blurred vision that is not really
correctable with glasses, neuropathy that you can’t feel your feet.
Maybe you have situations where you’ve broken a toe because you can’t feel
your feet. Things like that. So despite everything you’re doing to help yourself,
the symptoms are just becoming too intrusive. It makes it difficult
to perform work because of the constant pain or because of difficulty
in mobility and that sort of thing. So that’s what judges are looking for
in diabetes cases currently. So again I would urge you to keep good records
of your symptoms. Keep a diary of your symptoms. Comply with what your
doctor is talking about. Try to work if you possibly can but if your diabetic
symptoms are just so much that you just cannot function, then disability
might be a viable option for you. Of course, if I can help, please let me know.
Again, my name is Jonathan Ginsberg and this has been a brief discussion
about what judges are currently looking for in Type II diabetes
cases. Thanks so much.