Sjögren’s syndrome is most often associated with dry eyes and dry mouth, but people who have severe cases of the condition can develop complications that may make working difficult or impossible. When people cannot work due to a medical condition, they may be eligible for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits.
SSDI benefits are funded by paycheck deductions, and eligible individuals must have worked a minimum number of years based on their age. While some people hesitate to apply for benefits when they are struggling to make ends meet, SSDI benefits have been earned by applicants. Anyone who has worked in the past and cannot work due to a medical condition like Sjögren’s syndrome should consider applying for SSDI benefits.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that usually develops after the age of 40. The condition is more common in women, and people who have a rheumatic disease are more likely to have Sjögren’s syndrome.
While the most common symptoms of the autoimmune disease include dry eyes and dry mouth, it is possible for the condition to cause more serious symptoms. Pain and stiffness in the joints, frequent rashes, a dry cough and chronic fatigue are all associated with the condition.
Dry eyes and dry mouth can lead to vision and dental problems. The inflammation that some people with Sjögren’s syndrome experience may cause chronic illnesses related to the liver, kidneys or lungs to develop, and people who have this medical condition have an increased risk of developing cancer of the lymph nodes.
Treatment of Sjögren’s syndrome usually focuses on alleviating symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to increase the production of saliva and tears. If inflammation related to the condition causes complications, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed. Drugs that have shown promise for treating autoimmune diseases are sometimes used to try to lessen the risk of serious complications in relation to Sjögren’s syndrome. Surgical intervention may be necessary to prevent the tear ducts from draining to reduce the risk of vision problems related to dry eyes.
While there are many treatment options for Sjögren’s syndrome, some people are still limited in their ability to complete everyday tasks due to the condition. When these limitations make it impossible for a person to work, the individual may qualify for SSDI benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains listings of disabilities that are recognized for SSDI purposes. If a person is diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, the individual will need to meet the requirements outlined under the listing in order to be approved for SSDI benefits.
One requirement is for the condition to affect at least two parts of the body. Sjögren’s syndrome must also cause fatigue, chronic fever or weight loss, and the disorder must impair a person’s ability to perform routine tasks like bathing, grocery shopping or cooking. If the condition causes a severe lack of concentration, this symptom may replace the requirement for the condition to impair a person’s ability to complete routine tasks.
If an applicant does not meet these requirements, a residual functional capacity test will be performed. This test determines whether the physical or mental limitations caused by a disability make it impossible for applicants to work in any position for which they qualify.
The best way to get approved for SSDI benefits is to present plenty of medical evidence of disability. Disabled individuals should routinely seek medical treatment for their condition, and a licensed medical provider must maintain thorough records that will be submitted with the application for benefits.
The process of applying for SSDI benefits can be frustrating, and more than half of first-time applications are denied. The most common reason is lack of evidence of disability, and the best way to avoid this issue is by consulting with a legal professional who is able to guide an applicant through the process. Attorneys who are experienced when it comes to SSDI cases are able to help their clients gather evidence, fill out the necessary forms and send paperwork to the appropriate agencies in order to boost their clients’ chances of being approved for much-needed benefits.