I Have Diabetes: Am I Eligible for Disability Benefits?

I Have Diabetes: Am I Eligible for Disability Benefits?

As far as the law is concerned, diabetes is much like any other medical condition. If the disease limits your ability to do your job, it can be grounds for a short or long term disability claim.

So, how can diabetes impact you at work? To a certain extent, the answer will depend on the specific nature of your job. For example, many people with diabetes experience numbness in their extremities. If you have a physical job that requires you to spend long hours on your feet – or one that needs fine motor skills with your hands – that can make it nearly impossible to perform effectively.

Numbness is not the only symptom that can have that kind of effect. Fatigue is also relatively common, and that can have an impact in any field if you do not have the mental energy to concentrate on tasks that demand your full attention.

The other consideration is whether or not your employer gives you the support you need to manage the condition. As long as they adhere to their treatment regimen, many people with diabetes can live relatively unencumbered lives, and participate in the same activities that they enjoyed before they received their diagnoses.

The problem is that many jobs do not provide the proper accommodations. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can lead to sudden crashes at unexpected times. Those crashes can lead to even more devastating complications if the issue is not dealt with in a timely fashion.

With that in mind, a workplace that enforces a strict, regimented schedule could make it more difficult for employees to care for their own health, since they do not have the freedom to take a break and have a snack when their symptoms do flare up. By the same token, night shifts and an irregular schedule can be challenging because diabetes is similarly unpredictable.

If your job lacks that combination of stability and flexibility, diabetes could hinder your ability to keep up with assignments that you would have been able to handle in the past. You could be entitled to disability benefits if the situation persists.   

Diabetes Canada notes that the country does not have a standard definition of disability, and instead looks at a condition’s effect on work and your overall quality of life. As a result, people with diabetes are eligible for provincial and federal programs like the Disability Tax Credit, and the CRA has made a point of adjusting its policies to make sure diabetics qualify for that assistance.

Diabetes is fairly common. Roughly 2.3 million Canadians have been diagnosed with the condition, and considerably more currently have prediabetic symptoms. However, it’s prevalence does not make the disease any less debilitating. If diabetes is interfering with your day to day life, it is in fact a disability, and you should treat it as such as you consider your legal options!
Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against Great-West Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.