Is diabetes a disability? Can you apply for disability benefits if you have diabetes?

Diabetes is an intricate medical condition where it gets difficult for a body to maintain good levels of glucose. In the United States, state laws vary if somebody wants to know if diabetes is a disability.

However, under many state laws, the adverse effects of type 1 and type 2 diabetes bring diabetes under disability conditions. If you’re suffering from diabetes, you may wonder: Is diabetes a disability under state laws?

The Americans with Diabetes Act (ADA) works to prevent discrimination among employees based on diabetes as a disability. This law applies to local, state, and government entities and private employers when taking 15 employees having diabetes into consideration.

Read on to figure out: is diabetes considered a disability in states and how it is backed by ADA and Medicaid.

Is Diabetes a Disability?

A short answer – Yes, under federal law of the United States, diabetes is considered a disability. Through this, it is acknowledged at the grand level that diabetes may limit the functionality of a body due to improper endocrine system operation.

Admitting the fact, laws like the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act (aka) ADA came into place to prevent the rights of the people struggling with diabetes.

These acts precisely emphasize on the medical conditions associated with diabetes making it a disability.

Rights and Protection of Diabetics

People suffering from diabetes should be treated fairly at all levels of work. Whether they work or not a fair treatment should be given at:

  • School
  • Public Places
  • At workplace
  • Or seeking legal assistance

Under federal law, people with diabetes have special rights and protections allocated to make sure that they are fairly treated.


It is not necessarily important that diabetes be diagnosed in elderly people. It happens regardless of age and gender. Children with diabetes require supervision anytime at school, childcare, camps, field trips, and while doing other activities.

Federal law provides children every right to receive the care they need to participate effectively in school activities as any other child would have. Schools are also responsible for providing:

  • Trained medical staff members for the children with diabetes who can monitor the levels of glucagon and insulin in their blood.
  • Trained medical staff members who are equipped with the required care needed at the field trips or any other extracurricular activities.
  • Permission to students with diabetes to self-manage when they feel an abnormality in their bodies due to higher or lower levels of glucagon and insulin.

In the same federal law, schools are not allowed to:

  • Compel or insist a family member to attend the school with their child having diabetes
  • Transfer a student with diabetes to another school to provide additional or appropriate care
  • Limit or restrict students with diabetes to attend any school event or school-sponsored activity such as sports events, graduations, costume parties, or field trips

Undoubtedly federal laws provide protection to students with diabetes in school. However, state laws differ and are more complex regarding who is responsible for caring for a child with diabetes in school.


Employers are required to provide significant accommodation to workers with diabetes. Employees that have missed work due to a severe medical condition or to take care of a family member with diabetes are protected under Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Employees with diabetes are required a regular medical check-up and the ones who qualify for the FMLA are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid vacation and employers are required to allow employees with diabetes to take these leaves.

In order to qualify for the FMLA act, an employee needs to have worked at the same company for at least 12 months, or for 1,250 hours at least. On the other hand, the employer needs to have at least 50 employees in place.

Law Enforcement

To be protected by law enforcement means to have the right and protection while in prison or jail. Those who are serving jail time have the federal right to be protected under adequate medical care.

Public Places

In public places, programs, and places, federal law restricts authorities to discriminate among people with diabetes. Also, people with diabetes cannot be restricted from having any other facility due to their medical condition.

Benefits that can be attained due to Diabetes as a Disability

People with diabetes must meet the requirements of a certain benefit program to become eligible for the disability benefits. Such as Social Security Benefits. People with benefits do not always qualify for it.

The requirements of applying and qualifying for Social Security benefits and Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) may differ across states. A patient needs to prove serious medical conditions to get benefits from both federal programs.

How to Apply for the Benefits?

In order to get benefits, you can ask your healthcare provider to provide a detailed report about your limitations, the work that you can perform, and the ones you cannot.

These limitations must include the inability to perform a task or work for a year and a condition that is expected to result in death within a year.

To apply for the disability benefits, you can submit your application to the Social Security Administration office in person, online, through phone, or by email.

How Disability Benefits can help you in combating Diabetes?

The two types of disability benefit SSDI – Social Security Disability Income and SSI – Supplemental Security Income that can help you combat diabetes by providing financial assistance.

SSDI – If you are unable to work due to your health complications, this type of benefit provides you with monthly checks. The amount of the check would directly depend on the amount you were earning when you were able to work or employed.

SSI – In order to have this benefit, you don’t need to have prior work experience. Rather, these are for people who make less than a specific amount due to their medical conditions. They also provide monthly checks and the amount receivable changes annually. On qualifying, you will receive up to $2,000 if you are unmarried and $3,000 if you are married.

Eligibility for qualifying for benefits

You may qualify to receive the benefits if your diabetes is not within your control and due to which you are experiencing other serious health conditions.

These medical conditions must be serious enough that a medical professional would affirm that they would last a year. The administration office at social security will determine whether you qualify for the benefits or not. This will directly depend on how diabetes is affecting other organs of your body.

For instance, if you suffer from hyperglycemia ( a condition where your sugar remains high) it can lead to the condition called DKA – Diabetic Ketoacidosis. This is actually a life-threatening condition in which the acid and blood sugar levels of your blood get too high. With this condition, your intestine, brain, and heart remain at high risk of failure. 

Is Diabetes a Disability under the ADA?

As mentioned earlier, the employer is not allowed to discriminate against employees based on their medical conditions. If a person believes that he has been discriminated against due to the disability described by ADA, then he must prove that the employer failed to make reasonable accommodation for the position he qualified for.

To qualify for the diabetes disability for ADA, the employee needs to be physically impaired and the disability must hinder his life’s major activities.

Is Diabetes a Disability for Medicaid?

Medicaid is a health insurance program supervised by the United States Government to aid the disabled.

More than 3.5 million people in the US use Medicaid assistance according to ADA for ongoing medical care that helps people with diabetes to avoid severe medical conditions. 

To qualify for Medicaid financial assistance, you must:

  • Have a disability according to the definition of Social Security Administration
  • Lie between the ages of 16-64 years
  • Be working or self-employed
  • A resident of the United States
  • Meet an income and resource limit set by your state


Can you get Disability Benefits if you have Diabetes?

People with diabetes must meet certain federal and state requirements in order to receive disability benefits. Even people with Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes sometimes do not qualify for the disability benefits as to qualify, the disability must be severe and may hinder your day-to-day life activities to the extent that you become incapable of earning to meet your expenses.

How is Diabetes defined under Federal Law?

The federal law defines a diabetes disability if:

  • Diabetes potentially affects the function of the endocrine system.
  • Diabetes affects your organs as an invisible disability
  • Diabetes is a disability even if a diabetic performs all his tasks and manages his diabetes well.

Is Diabetes a Disability under State Laws?

Local and state laws are often similar when it comes to diabetes disability. The only difference occurs in protection, some states protect the rights of diabetes disabled at a higher level and some are lower.

When some state laws are weak, federal laws are there to protect the rights of the disabled.

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