Diabetes, hypoglycemia and other hormonal imbalances no longer reach “listing-level severity”
Belleville, Ill. – June 7, 2011 – Effective today, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will remove endocrine disorders from its Listing of Impairments used to evaluate Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications. Allsup, the nation’s leading SSDI representation organization, explains what this change could mean to individuals with diabetes, hypoglycemia, thyroid disorders and other endocrine disorders who are unable to work and contemplating filing for SSDI.
Generally, people with endocrine disorders that prevent them from working will still be able to seek and obtain Social Security disability benefits, said Ed Swierczek, Allsup senior claims representative. “They may meet the requirements of another listing. Their endocrine disorder may produce significant functional limitations.”
One step in the SSA’s disability review process involves determining if a condition meets or equals a medical listing. Because endocrine disorders are being removed from the medical listing, there will be changes in how claimants are evaluated with regard to those conditions.
The SSA’s changes call for evaluating the effects of endocrine disorders under listings for other body systems. “For example, diabetes mellitus can cause peripheral neuropathy affecting individuals’ abilities to use their hands and/or legs,” Swierczek explained. “Therefore, they could meet the medical listing for ‘peripheral neuropathy.’ The peripheral neuropathy may not be listing level, but could limit them to less than sedentary work, warranting a finding of disabled at any age.
“Additionally, if a person with diabetes mellitus has had an amputation, blindness, vascular disease or renal failure, that person will be evaluated under the medical listings that cover those body systems,” Swierczek said. “Whatever the impact, it is important to show SSA how it affects a person’s ‘residual functional capacity’—their ability to do any past relevant work or any other work, considering their age, education and previous work experience.”
Examples of how endocrine disorders can be evaluated under other listings:
- Amputations can be evaluated under musculoskeletal disorders.
- Diabetic nephropathy can be evaluated under genitourinary listings.
- Peripheral neuropathies can be evaluated under neurological disorders.
SSA’s Listing of Impairments describes medical conditions that are so severe the SSA presumes any person who has a medical condition(s) that satisfies the criteria of a listing is unable to perform any gainful activity and, therefore, is disabled. The inability to work also must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or be expected to result in death. According to SSA, the listings are special rules that help them identify claims that should clearly be allowed for Social Security disability benefits.
In announcing the rule changes in the April 8, 2011, Federal Register, the SSA stressed they will continue to recognize diabetes mellitus as a medically determinable impairment that can result in disability and will consider its effects under the remaining listings.
“We are revising the listings for endocrine disorders because medical science has made significant advances in detecting endocrine disorders at earlier stages and newer treatments have resulted in better management of these conditions,” the SSA said in its announcement. “Consequently, most endocrine disorders do not reach listing-level severity because they do not become sufficiently severe or do not remain at a sufficient level of severity long enough to meet our 12-month duration requirement.”
In response to public comments and healthcare provider concerns about the new rules, SSA said it will publish a Social Security Ruling (SSR) with detailed information about specific endocrine disorders, including diabetes mellitus, the types of impairments and limitations that result from these disorders, and how SSA determines whether persons who have diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders are disabled.
For more information about SSDI eligibility requirements, visit Allsup.com. To find out if you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits, please contact the Disability Evaluation Center for a free evaluation and be sure to tell them you heard about Allsup from IDA!
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs nearly 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, visit Allsup.com.
The information provided is not intended as a substitute for legal or other professional services. Legal or other expert assistance should be sought before making any decision that may affect your situation.
Above Allsup Press Release published with permission.
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