SSA evaluates on the basis of how a condition limits the ability to work

Many people have never heard of Sjogren's Syndrome; recently, only twenty percent of some five hundred women polled had heard of the condition. That said, like any medical condition, a person who has Sjogren's can file for disability. As we've said here many times, SSA evaluates disability claims on the basis of how a condition limits a person's ability to perform normal activities such as work activity.

Here are related pages that explain the disability process for a person filing for Sjogren's Syndrome.

How to file, how to apply for disability
The requirements for disability
How to qualify, How is a disability claim worked on?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits?

Sjogren's Syndrome affects approximately four million Americans, mostly women between the ages of forty and sixty. As with most autoimmune disorders, women are most often affected (ninety percent of individuals with this condition are women).

So just what is Sjogren's syndrome? Sjogren's Syndrome is an incurable autoimmune connective tissue disease (related to lupus and rheumatoid arthritis) in which the body's immune system attacks moisture-producing glands (exocrine glands) causing dryness of the eyes, mouth, skin, and vagina. In addition to problems with dryness, Sjogren's syndrome sufferers often experience fatigue.

Sjorgren's is the second most common autoimmune disorder in the United States. So, now, you're thinking "if it is so common why have I not heard about it?" The answer is simple. The vast majority of Sjogren's sufferers are not aware they even have the disorder. Since Sjogren's syndrome most often affects women who are forty ' sixty years old, many women associate Sjogren's symptoms with those of menopause and disregard them. And for some, the symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome are mild enough that they never experience symptoms severe enough or debilitating enough to warrant further examination.

However, the symptoms of Sjogren's should not be ignored. Left untreated, Sjogren's can lead to more significant problems such as gastrointestinal or muscular problems, tooth decay, oral ulcers, or even inflammation of internal organs such as the lungs. In fact, approximately ten percent of all Sjogren's syndrome patients suffer from inflammation of internal organs, which may lead to death.

More importantly, women should be careful about what symptoms they are attributing to menopause or the aging process. If you are experiencing dryness of the eyes, mouth, skin, or vagina, have your physician run a few tests to make sure that these symptoms are menopausal symptoms. Your physician can determine if Sjogren's affects you through blood tests, lip biopsy, and other dry mouth or eye tests.

For those diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, there is no known cure, however there are treatments to reduce the effects of Sjogren's. Most often, this condition is treated with palliative moisturizers to relieve dryness, and medications such as anti-inflammatory medication, anti malarial medications, and sialogogues (stimulate the glands to produce moisture).

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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