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A number of years ago, before the baby boomers started aging, the SSA decided to eliminate “obesity” and “diabetes” as disabilities.  In order for a disease or impairment to be a disability, according to the SSA, it has to be “on the list” of SSA’s “listed impairments.”  In the past, for example, if you were morbidly obese and had a severe knee impairment, you could be found disabled under the obesity listing.  Since obesity is no longer on the list, the SSA will consider your morbid obesity and how it affects you. But, obesity can no longer be found to be a disability in and of itself.

​The SSA has done the same thing with Diabetes Mellitus.  Almost six years ago, the SSA published final rules in the Federal Register removing the listing for evaluating Diabetes in adults and in children from the Listing of Impairments.  The reason the SSA eliminated Diabetes as a listed disability, in their words, is because diabetes listing “no longer accurately identified people who are disabled.”

To put this in context, in order to be found disabled under the old diabetes listing, an individual had to have more than just being diagnosed with the disease.  They also had to have severe enough diabetes that they needed an amputation – like an amputation of the leg below the knee.  For the SSA to claim that diabetes this severe was not a disability is simply ridiculous. In reality, the SSA feared that aging baby boomers would have diabetes and would apply for disability benefits.  By eliminating obesity and diabetes as official listed “disabilities,” it has been easier for them to deny millions of disability claims over the last six years.


To be fair, in 2014, the SSA published Social Security Ruling 14-2p, which gave guidance to SSA employees and judges on how to evaluate diabetes in children and adults.  The Ruling discusses the two types of diabetes, Type 1 (typically found in children) and Type 2 (adult-onset – which is often coupled with obesity and/or brought on by genetics).  Now, in order to be found disabled due to diabetes, the disease must be evaluated under other body systems that can be impaired by the disease.  For example, if a person has undergone an amputation due to diabetes, the SSA will look to listing 1.00, instead of the listing for diabetes. The SSR lists the following body systems that can be affected by diabetes and points the adjudicator to other listings for an evaluation as follows:

  • Amputation under the musculoskeletal system (1.00).
  • Diabetic retinopathy, under the special senses and speech listings (2.00).
  • Hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, and heart failure, under the cardiovascular system listings (4.00).
  • Gastroparesis and ischemic bowel disease (intestinal necrosis), under the digestive system listings (5.00).
  • Diabetic nephropathy, under the genitourinary impairments listings (6.00).
  • Slow-healing bacterial and fungal infections, under the skin disorders listings (8.00).
  • Diabetic neuropathy, under the neurological listings (11.00).
  • Cognitive impairments, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, under the mental disorders listings (12.00).


If you have Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 or Type 2, or disabling Obesity, do not give up hope in obtaining disability benefits. Contact our office for help at the outset of your claim so we can help you properly prepare your application to fit under Social Security’s rules and regulations. Further information about applying for Social Security Disability and SSI benefits can be found at our contact page.

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