Sjogren's Syndrome Social Security Disability SSI - Applying for Disability
Autoimmune disorders are frequently found on applications for social security disability and SSI disability. The ones that tend to stand out in terms of their prominence in the social security list of impairments (the blue book) are multiple sclerosis and lupus.
Many people, however, would be surprised to learn how many autoimmune disorders are not given a separate listing in the book or are only given scant consideration. Sjogren's is a condition that, currently, does not have a specific listing of its own. In other words, the manual does not contain a separate and distinct section that details the disability criteria an individual would need to satisfy (rather, their medical record documentation would need to satisfy such criteria) in order to win disability benefits under either the SSD or SSI program.
This fact may change at some point, of course. The listing of impairments is not etched in stone and on a continuing basis they undergo revision. Unfortunately, most revisions tend to be fairly unsubstantial changes that involve adding a few words here or there to an existing listing or body system section (sections of the manual include 14.00, Immune system).
In the meantime, of course, a claimant who decides to file for disability on the basis of sjogren's syndrome or any other condition may still be approved on the basis of receiving a medical vocational allowance. Additional information regarding approval standards can be found here: Social Security Disability Criteria.
Some brief information on Sjogren's Syndrome
Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack and destroy the exocrine glands (saliva/tears). Although the usual sites for Sjogren’s syndrome are the mouth and eyes, this autoimmune disorder can cause dryness of the nose, skin, and vagina. Additionally, Sjogrens’s syndrome may also cause damage to vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, lungs, brain, and pancreas.
Sjogren’s Syndrome affects as many as four million individuals in the United States alone, and the majority of these individuals are women. In fact, ninety percent of individuals diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome are women who are between the ages of forty and sixty. Unlike other autoimmune conditions Sjogren’s syndrome does not go into remission and there is no known cure for the disorder.
Since there is no cure or treatment that will restore exocrine gland function, most treatment is geared toward relieving symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome. Generally, treatment consists of moisture replacement for eyes, nose, and vagina, as well as medication to stimulate the production of saliva. More severe cases may require corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, pain relievers (joint pain is often associated with this disorder), and anti-rheumatoid medications such as methotrexate.
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