Pancreatic Gland Disorders and Social Security Disability

Diabetes is the most common disorder or disease of the pancreatic gland, but there are others. Chronic and genetic forms of pancreatitis, for example, can be just as debilitating as diabetes and can cause many of the same symptoms, including severe fluctuations in blood sugar levels, pain, loss of sensation, fatigue, malnutrition, and cognitive thinking issues. Other diseases can also have serious effects on the pancreas, including Cystic Fibrosis and pancreatic cancer.

Any of these medical conditions can cause severe and wide sweeping symptoms that make it impossible to hold a steady job in which you can earn a gainful living. All may therefore qualify you to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Medically Qualifying with a Pancreatic Gland Disorder

Every form of pancreatic gland disorder or disease, with the exception of chronic pancreatitis, is listed among the SSA’s recognized impairments. These listings appear in the Blue Book, which is the manual used by disability determination staff when reviewing applications for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

  • Diabetes (types 1 and 2) appears in Section 9.00.5 and requires you suffer severe complications from your diabetes despite following your physician’s prescribed therapies, which may include medications and lifestyle adjustments.
  • Pancreatic cancer is listed under Section 13.20 and requires your cancer is:
    • a form of carcinoma
    • OR

    • a form of islet cell carcinoma that is active or inoperable

While there are no listings for chronic and genetic forms of pancreatitis, it is still possible to qualify for benefits with these conditions. To do so, you must:

  • meet the listing for a related condition
  • match another listed condition in terms of severity level and similarity of symptoms or complications
  • OR

  • have a residual functional capacity (RFC) that proves you’re unable to maintain gainful employment despite not meeting or matching a listed condition.

Diabetes is most common related conditions that qualify individuals with chronic or genetic pancreatitis for disability benefits. You and your physician will want to review the Blue Book listing under Section 5.08 to ensure your medical records meet the listing requirements prior to applying for benefits.

If you do not meet the diabetes listing, your chronic or genetic pancreatitis may closely match the Malnutrition listing, which appears in Section 5.08.

If the SSA is unable to find you eligible for benefits under any listed condition, they will perform an RFC analysis. In the course of that analysis, they will look at your:

  • age
  • education
  • work history and acquired job skills
  • all of your medical records
  • activities of daily living

If all of these factors show you’re so limited by your pancreatic disorder that you’re unable to maintain gainful employment in any job, then you’ll be found eligible to receive benefits. Statements from your physician and RFC report forms completed by you and your doctor are of central importance in an RFC-driven approval for SSD, so be sure to work closely with your doctor throughout the application and review processes.

Getting Help with Your Pancreatic Gland Disorder or Disease Disability Claim

Your doctor is an invaluable alias in building a strong claim for disability benefits, but you may also wish to seek the assistance of a Social Security advocate or attorney. An advocate or attorney can be of significant help in any disability claim, but especially if you’re applying due to a condition that is not listed in the Blue Book.

They can help you thoroughly complete your application and collect the necessary evidence for proving your disability. Additionally, if your application is denied, they can assist during the secondary review and appeals processes.

Additional Resources