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Diabetic Nephropathy and Social Security Disability

Disability Benefits for Diabetes | Too Much Insulin | LaBovick Law Group

Diabetic Nephropathy and Social Security Disability

Diabetic nephropathy is an impairment of your kidney caused by complications of diabetes. This condition is also called diabetic kidney disease. This condition occurs when there is damage to the kidney resulting from uncontrolled diabetes. Diabetes is caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Your kidney controls or filters the blood in your body. When your blood sugar levels are out of control, this affects the amount of insulin your body produces. When your blood glucose levels are uncontrolled and your insulin levels are not regulated, your kidneys eventually become damaged. When the kidneys are damaged this means the “filter” system in your body is damaged. A damaged filter lets protein into your urine which causes a steady decline in the rest of your organs. As you can imagine, suffering from diabetic nephropathy is a very serious condition. 

Signs of Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetes is a condition that can lead to numerous other conditions if not well controlled. Other conditions may include neuropathy, retinopathy or even diabetic skin ulcers. In terms of diabetic nephropathy, you may not initially notice any symptoms. It is very important that if you are suffering from diabetes you are regularly undergoing blood testing to confirm proper organ functioning. It is important to catch any damage to the kidney as early as possible. 

The first signs of diabetic nephropathy may include uncontrolled blood pressure or protein in your urine. But again, the best way to detect diabetic nephropathy would be through blood testing. 

Some of the other more common symptoms include:

  • swelling in your hands and feet
  • increased urgency for urination
  • confusion
  • shortness of breath 
  • loss of appetite 

These symptoms are quite common for most conditions so it would be hard to differentiate them from diabetic nephropathy or determine they’re simply related to your uncontrolled diabetes. The best course of action if you are suffering from diabetes is to seek treatment from a nephrologist. This is a medical professional who specializes in diabetic kidney disease. 

Being diagnosed with diabetic nephropathy is not necessarily the worst thing. If your condition is mild you likely are not exhibiting any symptoms and would simply need to better manage your diabetes to keep your blood sugars from further damaging your kidneys. In more severe cases of nephropathy, treatments may include medications and lifestyle changes. If you are suffering from end-stage renal disease, you will likely require dialysis and ultimately a kidney transplant. Diabetic nephropathy is the most common cause of end-stage renal disease. 

Diabetic Nephropathy and Social Security Disability

If you have been diagnosed with diabetic nephropathy and are noted to be in the more severe stages of nephropathy, you should consider applying for the social security disability insurance program. Kidney disease is noted to be one of the many conditions social security has deemed so severe as to be automatically disabling. The social security administration created a list of conditions that, when proven, automatically qualify for disability. This is called the Listings, which can be found on the social security administration’s website. The Listings for kidney disease comprise of five different categories, each requiring a different type of medical evidence to be proven: 

  1. The first listing which addresses diabetic nephropathy is Listing 6.03 for chronic kidney disease. To be found disabled under this listing, you must show you are on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. 
  2. The next listing is 6.04, again for chronic kidney disease. Instead of dialysis, this listing comes into play if you have undergone a kidney transplant. If you have had a kidney transplant you will be considered disabled for one year following the transplant, with a review of your condition being performed again at that point. So far, the first two listings are fairly easy to prove, requiring either proof of dialysis or a new kidney. The last three Listings are more extensive in terms of proof requirements. 
  3. Listing 6.05 for chronic kidney disease looks at the different levels of your kidney function to determine the impairment. You must show both the A and B criteria to meet this listing. The A criteria require proof of your serum creatinine of 4mg or greater on two occasions, 90 days apart, in a 12-month time frame; or your creatinine clearance level of 20ml/min or less; or your eGFR of 20ml/min or less. If you are able to prove the A criteria with one of these three requirements, then the B criteria will be evaluated. The B criteria requires proof showing renal osteodystrophy, peripheral neuropathy, fluid overload syndrome, or anorexia with a BMI of 18.0 or less. 
  4. If your numbers do not meet Listing 6.05, then you may consider Listing 6.06 for nephrotic syndrome. This listing requires proof of both the A and B criteria. The A criteria requires documented two occasions 90 days apart in a 12-month time frame of proteinuria of 10.0g or greater or serum albumin of 3.0 or less. The B criteria requires proof of anasarca persisting for a minimum of 90 days. 
  5. The final potential Listing you may meet regarding your diabetic nephropathy would be under Listing 6.09 for complications of chronic kidney disease. This Listing requires proof of at least three hospitalizations within a year, each 30 days apart and lasting a minimum of 48 hours per visit. It goes without saying that the hospitalizations need to be related to your kidney disease. 

If your condition does not meet one of these listing situations, you may still qualify for the disability program. After determining your condition does not qualify you for disability under a listing, the social security administration will then evaluate how your condition impacts your functional ability. They will determine what is called your residual functional capacity. This is the most you can do in spite of your medical conditions. Once your residual functional capacity is determined, social security will then consider whether you are able to perform your past relevant work in spite of these limitations. And if not, whether you are able to perform any other work in the national economy. 

An Experienced Disability Attorney Can Help

Suffering from diabetic nephropathy can be a very serious situation, likely qualifying you for social security disability benefits. This type of application is very technical as you can tell from the medical analysis laid out above. Hiring an experienced disability attorney who is knowledgeable about kidney disease is your best bet in terms of obtaining disability benefits. At the LaBovick Law Group, we have handled thousands of claims based on diabetic nephropathy. We know the regulations and what it takes to get your benefits approved. Call us today for a free consultation regarding your diabetic nephropathy. 

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