Is type 1 diabetes a disability? Well, there is no correct or right answer to this question. The answer to this question is very subjective and might vary from person to person.
A section of society feels that diabetes is not a disability, and they see it as just the malfunctioning of the pancreas in producing insulin. On the other hand, another section opines that being diagnosed with diabetes was nothing short of one’s worst nightmares coming true.
Even federal agencies face this dilemma. In some cases, the federals recognize diabetes as a disability, whereas not so much in others.
To understand whether diabetes is a disability or not, we need to understand what does a disability mean. The dictionary meaning of the word disability is- ‘ a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.’
Going by the dictionary meaning, we can readily affirm that diabetes is a disability. Even the American Disability Act defines diabetes as a disability.
Is Type 1 Diabetes a Disability?
Like I mentioned, the American Disability Act agrees that diabetes is a disability. Diabetes is a medical condition the patient has to live with for the rest of his/her life. And it is necessary to manage the situation in a bid to live an ordinary life.
Before participating in or doing any activity, a person with type 1 diabetes needs to plan every minute detail; however, it may seem inconsequential to a person without diabetes.
You might say that once a person plans such things over so many years, it becomes a habit. But one should keep in mind that every minute detail still needs to be planned out intricately. Planning every single thing takes away from the ‘unpredictable’ essence of life.
Take a day in the life of someone having diabetes- once the person wakes up and gets ready for breakfast, they have to check their blood glucose levels. They have to choose carefully what food item to eat and what not to eat. And once done with planning the diet plan, the diabetes patient also has to plan about the dosage of insulin they need to inject.
No doubt, the diabetes patient needs to manage their diet efficiently. They also need to plan every physical activity they indulge in whether the physical activity will increase or reduce their blood sugar levels.
People without diabetes do not require such cautions. Therefore, diabetes is considered a disability.
Along with recognizing diabetes as a disability, the American Disability Act also protects people having diabetes from discrimination that happens at schools and the workplace.
To avert discrimination based on diabetes at the workplace, the American Disability Act has made it non-mandatory for a diabetes patients to disclose their medical condition to their employer. Also, the employer has to hire a diabetes patient based on their skill set and not deny a job opportunity based on their diabetes condition.
To avert discrimination based on diabetes at school, the American Disability Act has permitted children the right to check their blood glucose levels and inject insulin during classroom hours.
Some FAQs about Type 1 Diabetes being a Disability
In most of the developed countries, diabetes is considered a disability, type 1 diabetes in particular. Although many developing countries do not take diabetes as a disability, there are bound to be many questions clouding your mind. Some of the most common ones being-
Is type 1 diabetes a chronic illness?
The human body requires insulin to regulate blood sugar. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not prepare insulin in adequate quantities.
Insulin is a vital hormone necessary so that the body can let glucose from the food enter the cells to produce energy. When the pancreas does not prepare adequate insulin, all other bodily functions get affected hugely.
Therefore, type 1 diabetes is considered a chronic illness.
Is type 1 diabetes classed as a disability?
Going by the dictionary definition and diabetes ADA guidelines, yes, type 1 diabetes is classed as a disability. In the year 2010, type 1 diabetes got inclusion in the Equality Act.
If you happen to ask a person with type 1 diabetes, they might not consider themselves disabled. However, the American Disability Act protects people having diabetes from discrimination at school and the workplace.
Is diabetes a disability for unemployment?
Diabetes has been excluded from the list of separate disabilities. Just showing that you are diagnosed with diabetes cannot get you all of the disability perks.
You can, however, make use of the benefits if you are facing complications because of your diabetic condition and these complications fall on the list of disabilities.
What benefits can I claim for type 1 diabetes?
Numerous benefits are available for people with type 1 diabetes. Some of them are-
- Housing benefits are made available to people with disabilities who are single and below 35 years of age. These benefits are provided based on the level of your savings.
- Disability Living Allowance or DLA is available for people over 16 years of age with mobility and care needs.
- The parent of children with diabetes can also claim type 1 diabetes disability living allowance if their children have specific care needs compared to other children.
- Employment and support allowance are given to type 1 diabetes patients who find it tough to work owing to their medical condition.
- Personal Independence Payment or PIP is available to people with type 1 diabetes in 16 to 64. This Act replaced Disability Living Allowance in the year 2013.
- A low and high tier of attendance allowance is given to type 1 diabetes above 65.
- Pension credit is also given.
There might be two sides regarding the status of type 1 diabetes classified as a disability or not. I would aver that I consider type 1 diabetes to classify as a disease.
It is a physical body condition with mental undertones that limits the movements, activities, and senses of a person with diabetes.