Hypoglycemia causes severely low blood sugar levels. It may be seen alone or in combination with other severe medical conditions, including diabetes and insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.
For most individuals, the condition is treatable, and can be corrected through diet and other lifestyle adjustments. In some instances however, particularly when it results from uncontrolled diabetes, the condition can lead to other very severe, even life-threatening complications, including seizures, loss of consciousness, cognitive deficits, and altered mental status.
Hypoglycemia alone rarely qualifies for disability benefits, but diabetes and other related conditions can potentially get you Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, if the symptoms you suffer are long term and so severe that they prevent you from maintaining gainful employment.
Medically Qualifying with Hypoglycemia
Persistent issues with hypoglycemia can contribute to a successful disability claim, even if you qualify for benefits under another listed condition in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book, which is a manual of recognized impairments used in evaluating disability applications.
Hypoglycemia is listed in the Blue Book under Section 9.00.5b. This listing notes that hypoglycemia symptoms and complications are evaluated by the SSA under the listings for the affected body systems or organs, including:
- Section 11.00 – for loss of consciousness or seizures
- Section 12.00 – altered mental status or cognitive deficits
Because hypoglycemia is often associated with diabetes and insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, it is also important for you and your doctor to review the listings in the Blue Book related to these conditions, including:
- Diabetes mellitus, Section 9.00.5
- Hyperglycemia, Section 9.00.5ii
The SSA takes all of your symptoms, complications, and concurrent medical conditions into consideration when evaluating your disability claim and may consult several Blue Book Listings. You should work closely with your doctor to do the same before filing your disability claim, in order to ensure your application and medical records supporting your claim for benefits accurately reflect the level of impairment you experience because of your combined medical conditions.
Even if you do not receive benefits under the listing for hypoglycemia, you may still be able to qualify by either:
- Meeting the listing for another medical condition
- Closely matching a Blue Book listing
- Showing through a “Residual Functional Capacity” (RFC) analysis that you’re disabled despite not meeting or matching a listed condition.
An RFC analysis is the process through which the SSA reviews all your symptoms and their affects on your everyday abilities. In completing this process, they will look at:
- Your application
- Your medical records
- Any statements from your doctor
- Other supporting evidence, including work history records
- An RFC report form from you
- An RFC report form from your physician
If all of these sources show that you cannot complete required and typical job functions and can’t work in any other job for which you would otherwise be qualified given your education level, age, previous work experience, and other factors, then you will receive disability benefits.
Getting Help with Your Claim
Proving disability with hypoglycemia alone can be very challenging, and getting benefits even when the condition is seen in combination with other ailments, including diabetes, can be as well. Working closely with your doctor to fully document the affects of your medical conditions is crucial, but you may also want to consider seeking assistance from a Social Security advocate or attorney.
An advocate or attorney can help you build a stronger application and to collect the right supporting documentation to prove your claim. They can additionally assist in filing the appropriate forms and requests on time and in requesting an appeal and preparing for the appeal hearing, if your claim for disability benefits is initially denied.