If you have Sjogren’s syndrome with symptoms so severe they impact your ability to work and make a living, you may be eligible to collect Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists Sjogren’s syndrome as a condition eligible for benefits. If you meet certain medical and non-medical criteria, you can receive a grant of benefits based on your diagnosis.
A Social Security disability lawyer from Disability Advantage Group can help you get disability benefits for Sjogren’s syndrome. We will help you file a claim for one or both of the SSA’s two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Our attorneys do not collect a fee until you receive benefits.
To receive a free consultation with a member of our team, call 865-566-0800 today.
How Sjogren’s Syndrome Affects the Body
Sjogren’s syndrome is characterized by its two most common symptoms: dry eyes and dry mouth. This immune system disorder is often a secondary feature of another disorder affecting the immune system, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
In a patient with Sjogren’s syndrome, the immune system attacks the glands in the eyes and mouth that secrete tears and moisture, resulting in the condition’s characteristic dryness. It can cause complications such as impaired vision and dental cavities. Vision problems keep many people with the condition from sustaining gainful employment.
In addition to its primary symptoms, Sjogren’s syndrome may cause:
- Joint problems, such as pain, swelling, or stiffness
- Swollen salivary glands
- Skin rash
- Dry skin
- Dry cough
- Vaginal dryness
As with most autoimmune disorders, the exact cause of Sjogren’s syndrome is unclear, though research suggests hereditary factors play a role and that many cases are triggered by a viral or bacterial infection.
Common risk factors include age, sex, and medical history. Sjogren’s syndrome is most common in people over 40 and in women.
To discuss your condition with a member of the Disability Advantage Group team and find out how you can qualify for benefits, call us for a free consultation at 865-566-0800.
The Social Security Disability Listing for Sjogren’s Syndrome
To get Social Security disability for any injury or illness, you have to satisfy two sets of requirements. The first are non-medical requirements; they have to do with your income, assets, and work history. The second are medical requirements. These are specific to the injury or illness on the basis of which you are applying for benefits.
The SSA maintains a master list of conditions that receive automatic consideration for approval. This list, known as the “Blue Book,” also provides the diagnostic criteria that must be present to receive disability for a listed condition.
The Blue Book Listing Criteria for Sjogren’s Syndrome
According to the Blue Book listing for Sjogren’s syndrome, you can qualify for benefits by meeting either of two sets of criteria. Both sets of criteria require the condition to affect two or more organs or body systems.
The first set also requires that at least one body organ or system be affected severely and that you have at least two constitutional signs or symptoms of the condition (e.g., fever, weakness, malaise).
The second set requires you to have at least two constitutional signs or symptoms as well as one of the following at the marked level or higher:
- Limited ability to carry out activities of daily living;
- Limited ability to function socially;
- Limited ability to complete tasks in a timely manner.
The RFC Exam
If your injury or illness does not appear in the Blue Book, or if your medical evidence does not satisfy the criteria in the listing, you can get approved for disability by submitting to a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) exam.
This medical evaluation measures the functional capacity that remains in the wake of your injury or illness. Your own doctor may complete it, and you can submit the results along with your claim for benefits.
Applying for SSDI vs. SSI
Even if you meet the medical criteria for benefits, you must also meet the non-medical criteria of the program to which you are applying. These criteria differ based on whether you are applying for SSDI or SSI.
SSDI operates like an insurance program. You pay premiums in the form of payroll taxes, which are mandatory for all workers. Your taxes, along with those of every other worker, fund the program. When you become disabled, you can file a claim, and if you meet the medical requirements for your condition and have paid enough “premiums” into the system, you can collect benefits.
You are not eligible for SSDI if you have an insufficient work history and have not paid enough in payroll taxes.
If you are not eligible for SSDI, you may qualify for SSI, which has no work requirements. SSI does not require you to have paid taxes because it is not insurance but rather a benefit program for the needy. As such, its non-medical requirements consist of caps on your income and total assets.
You can get turned down for SSI on a non-medical basis if you make too much money or if your net worth is too high.
A disability attorney from Disability Advantage Group can help you figure out which program (or both) you qualify for based on your medical, financial, and work records. For a free case evaluation, call 865-566-0800 today.
Get Your Free Social Security Case Evaluation — Call Disability Advantage Group Today at 865-566-0800
The lawyers at Disability Advantage Group are eager to speak with you and find out how they can help you collect the benefits you deserve. We do not get paid until you receive Social Security disability. For a free consultation with a member of our team, call 865-566-0800.