Recently the Social Security Administration proposed changes in it regulations that would make it harder for persons with Diabetes Mellitus to obtain disability benefits. The changes would have the effect of eliminating the Listings for endocrine disorders for claimants over 6 years of age. Listings 9.00 and 109.00. 74 Fed. Reg. 66069 (Dec. 14.2009). According to the Social Security Administration new therapies for the treatment of diabetes have made it much easier to control the disease. This action by the Social Security Administration sends the wrong message to decision makers and Administrative Law Judges who must make rulings on a person’s disability claim. It is not logical and represents a missed opportunity to provide regulations and guidelines for decision makers who must review an ever increasing number of claims based upon the debilitating complications of diabetes. Even though there have been advances in the treatment of diabetes more and more people are becoming disabled by the complications of the disease as the number of people who suffer from the disease has increased.
Diabetes is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. It is a leading risk factor for heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and stroke. The old listings were inadequate and in need of revisions in order to give better guidance to the decisions makers. Instead of revising the listings for diabetes the bureaucrats eliminated them. It is very difficult to see how this can make the system work better.
The reasoning that diabetes is now easier to control is only true for people that have the financial ability to obtain adequate treatment. It is a Catch 22 scenario. Many claimants do not have the ability to obtain adequate treatment until they are first found disabled and can access Medicare and Medicaid. This process can take several years under the current system and during the delay the claimant is likely to become much sicker as the disease progresses. It is often true that even those claimants who are on Medicaid face shortages in obtaining adequate treatment which entails a long educational process and frequent adjustment of medications. Claimants who are out of work, lack transportation and live on the charity of friends and relatives often find it impossible to obtain the medical care necessary to control diabetes.
Once again the Social Security Administration has gone down the wrong path. Instead of improving the system it has confused the issue and missed an opportunity to make the system work better for those in need of disability benefits. Please contact your Congressman and ask to contact the Social Security Administration about their need to do a better job of enacting regulations to fairly and effectively guide their decision makers in making disability determinations for those who suffer from diabetes.