I'm hoping someone could shed light on this. I've suffered at least 40 severe hypoglycemic reactions where I've been unconscious & needed either the EMT's to administer Dextrose or my husband to give me a Glucagon injection. I'm pretty sure that I've received some brain damage from this (based on my internet searches). I suffer from short-term memory loss as well as some, but not as much, long-term memory loss. I also have a very hard time being able to concentrate & all of this is affecting my performance doing my job. I'm kind of in a fog almost every day until almost noon.

I have a CGM & check regularly. My blood sugar is usually within good ranges, but I still have a hard time just thinking and doing my daily work, which I've done for 14 years. I have hypoglycemia unawareness so I know that I should keep my numbers a little higher than I want, but that's a different issue.

My question is this: I need to know if I can claim disability (I live in Illinois) for this, and if so, what would be my next steps?

Thanks for any help !!!

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From everything that I have read, I think that it is extremely difficult to get disability for diabetes. I think that your first step should be to consult an attorney who specializes in disability claims and see whether he/she thinks that you have a chance of getting it. Most people get turned down the first time, but then some people do get it on appeal. It's a long process even when you're successful. Does your endo think that you have a valid claim for disability? Are you under the care of a neurologist?

I'm sorry that you've had so many severe reactions. Must be scary.

I'm not exactly the role model for a "good diabetic" but I'm a million times better than I used to be. I don't have an endo or a neurologist (and have no plans to get either). My regular doctor (internal medicine) is working with me. I've hinted at it before, but I'm too scared to push this because in Illinois you need to get your doctor's okay to re-new your drivers license. I can't risk that. He is aware of my problems with neuropathy in my hands, though, so maybe I can use that in conjuction with the thinking/memory problems I have.

You need to get your doctor's okay to renew your drivers license? Is that true for all diabetics? Good grief!

In Mass. anyone who uses a drug that can cause a change in the state of consciousness needs clearance from their doctor. Seems reasonable to me. I'm not sure I'd want to be driving near someone who regularly loses consciousness.

I'm in IL and haven't ever had any issues w/ DL renewal, maybe kiddo had an accident or something?

I would almost think that you'd have to have some kind of specialist involved to substantiate a claimed disability. I am not thinking the odds are really good for this. I agree with the others that if you feel as if your claim would be justified, you may want to talk to an attorney. Even people with more standard disability claims often need legal assistance to make it through the grind of pursuing these claims.

I'm going to disagree. If you have an accident because of a medical condition that you failed to disclose as required by your state, you may find yourself in serious trouble including voided insurance and perhaps criminal charges. I suggest that you ALWAYS learn the legal requirements in your state and adhere to them.

That's interesting. I got my license in 1984 right after I was dx'ed. My eyes were still yutzed up from D, my vision improved w/ less juice in my eyes, so for a long time, I didn't have to wear glasses except, of course, that I can't see without them when things got back to normal!

I agree with Maurie though that disclosing things honestly is very important. I worked investigating car accidents for like 17 years. This is particular to Illinois but I haven't seen criminal charges due to diabetes, just the citation for the accident. It may also come up in a civil case and I think that's where a failure to disclose something could be used against you, in some cases pursuing charges that may not be covered by an insurance policy, depending on the venue.

We have cases of charges for diabtetes in the DC region. Couple of years ago a diabetic with low blood glucose caused a MAJOR accident on the beltway and was charged with felony manslaughter and went to jail. I have seen it here in the news several times (MD, VA, DC). Information: they will read your last meter or CGM numbers. If you have any idea you are low.....

I test anytime I get in the car. If on a road trip, I stop every hour to test. If low, I treat and wait until I test AGAIN at a higher level.

Driving while low around here and KNOWING it is treated like driving drunk.

In Minnesota my endo fills out a form every three years saying that I'm safe to drive. When the doctor fills out the form, she/he checks a box for how soon the evaluation should be repeated. The max is three years. Other time frames are 6 months, 1 year, and maybe some others.

Fortunately it is now a convenient process. When I get the form, I fill out my part. I fax it to my endo. She fills out her part and then faxes the completed form to the DMV.

When I renew my driver's license, it specifically asks if I take insulin. There is no way I'd lie and say no because I think it would make my license invalid. I hope not to have an accident, but it would be lawsuit city if I'd hidden my diabetes.

This may sound harsh, kiddo, but it's not a good idea to hide things from your doctor - serious things such as severe recurrent hypoglycemia; you could be putting your life at risk. I understand that your driver's license is important to you, but perhaps (at least for now) it would be safer if you didn't drive.

Bottom line is you need help to get your blood sugar under control. I currently live somewhere I could not get around without a car. But if my life were at risk I guess I'd have to move to where I could walk or use public transport.

Yes, running your numbers high (within reason) might be a good idea for awhile because if you reduce frequency of lows you may regain your hypo awareness. I don't work with an endo either, but if I had needed the EMT's to be called 40 times I would be doing so in order to get things under control. You are putting yourself seriously at risk and there could come a time you're alone and there is nobody to bring you back. Or you could be driving and kill someone else. Memory loss is probably the least of your problems. If my post sounds harsh, trust me I would say the exact same thing to someone I knew and cared about.

Zoe, thanks for what you're saying, but my question is only about trying to get disability, not managing my diabetes. I knew I would get lectured on that, but I was hoping that I would only get help about trying to get on disability.

You will need very persuasive medical information from your physicians in order to get disability. If you're claiming disability based on diabetes and brain dysfunction, I think it would hurt your case if you didn't have specialists in those areas involved in your care.

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