If you're finding it difficult to function in your job because of diabetes, now might be the time to consider a claim for long term disability benefits. Our New York disability attorneys at Riemer & Associates can review your policy with you and help you assess your eligibility. If the time is right, our disability lawyers can help you plan your exit from work and prepare your claim.
Diabetes can be a disabling disease. However, you will not qualify for long term disability benefits on the strength of your diagnosis alone. You will need to support your claim with convincing evidence that you are “disabled” as defined by your LTD policy. You may have to prove that you can no longer do your usual occupation or you may have to prove you cannot perform any occupation to which you are reasonably suited, a more demanding standard. Since many individuals with diabetes are able to work until retirement, the challenge will be educating your insurer about how your case is different.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is an incurable disease that causes high blood glucose (sugar) levels. Carbohydrates are digested into glucose which is transported through the blood. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that allows glucose in the blood to get into the cells where it is used for energy. People with diabetes either don’t make any insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or they don’t make enough insulin or their bodies don’t use insulin well (Type 2 diabetes). As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood.
Disabling Complications and Symptoms of Diabetes
In the short term, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) causes headache, blurred vision, hunger, thirst, and frequent urination. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), a common side effect of insulin therapy and some diabetes medications, causes sweating, tremors, heart palpitations, mood changes, confusion, and unresponsiveness.
The occasional episodes of high and low blood sugar experienced by many diabetics are not usually disabling. They could be, however, if your diabetes is not well-controlled, and you have such episodes frequently.
The most disabling effects of diabetes are the long-term complications of high blood sugar. Over time, high blood sugar levels cause damage throughout the body. These complications can include:
- Nerve damage (neuropathy) causing pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness in the legs, feet and hands that can limit the ability to walk, stand, sit, and manipulate objects. Neuropathy can also cause digestive problems, incontinence, and diarrhea.
- Narrowing of the blood vessels (coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease), which can cause pain, sap your strength, and lead to heart attack, stroke, poor wound healing, and foot and leg amputations.
- Damage to the retina (retinopathy) causing blurring or patchy loss of vision.
- Kidney disease (nephropathy) causing swelling in the feet and legs, weight loss, weakness and fatigue, nausea, and sleep disturbance.
The demands of managing diabetes to keep episodes of high and low blood sugar to a minimum are often underappreciated. These can include pricking the finger several times a day to test blood sugar levels, adjusting insulin levels accordingly, taking several injections a day, eating at regular times and eating predictable quantities and types of food. Stress and illness can cause blood sugars to rise. These factors may explain why you cannot do a high stress job that involves long and irregular hours or lots of travel.
Proving Disability Due To Diabetes
Our attorneys will develop a complete package of medical and vocational evidence to submit with your claim. We will make sure that the insurance company has all the material it needs to understand why you are disabled.
A typical application package will include: the completed applications forms from the insurance company; your medical records and test results; a list of your medications and their side effects; reports or questionnaires from your doctors describing your limitations; your education, training, and employment history; detailed descriptions of your job from you and your employer; and your personal statement.
Contact Our New York Disability Attorneys
If you need further medical or vocational testing, our attorneys will refer you for it. The insurance company will want to interview you and have you examined by its doctor. We will prepare you to handle these events.
New York disability attorneys at Riemer & Associates are committed to helping you obtain all of the benefits to which you are entitled, while making the process as stress free for you as possible. To arrange for a consultation with out lawyers at Riemer & Associates, phone 212.297.0700.