These include various thyroid and adrenal disorders, and diabetes. Disability is caused by overproduction or underproduction of hormones, resulting in structural or functional changes in the body.
SSA has eliminated all of the listings for specific endocrine system disorders. This means that adults with diabetes, for example, will not qualify for disability benefits solely on the basis of the severity of their disease. They can still be found disabled if they have complications of diabetes--such as peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy and/or amputation(s)--provided those secondary disorders are severe enough to meet the requirements of one of SSA's other listings. People with diabetes or other endocrine system disorders can also qualify for disability benefits by proving that their symptoms functional limitations that preclude work.
When it eliminated the endocrine system listings, SSA noted that advances in medical science have resulted in earlier detection and better control of these disorders. This is certainly true. However, it is also true that not everyone has access to the best possible treatment, and it is equally true that there are still people whose symptoms remain severe despite treament. Still, most endocrine system disorders are reasonably well controlled if treatment is available and prescribed treatment measures are followed. People whose endocrine system disorders have progressed to a severe level as a result of failure to follow prescribed treatment will have a difficult time qualifying for disbility benefits unless they are unable to manage their treatment due to mental impairment or some other cause.
It won't be as easy to obtain disability benefits based on endocrine systems disorders from now on. Lawyers who represent individuals claiming to be disabled by these disorders should be familiar with the new standards by which they are judged; carefully analyze the medical findings to determine how best to present their clients' claims; and present the strongest possible evidence of disability in order to be successful.