Qualifying for Disability After 50 with Sjögren's Syndrome

Sjögren's Syndrome is a disorder affecting your immune system. It is characterized by two symptoms in particular- dry eyes and a dry mouth. It can be accompanied by symptoms such as joint pain, swollen salivary glands, and prolonged fatigue, and affect major body organs.

Eventually you may be unable to work and have to file for Social Security Administration (SSA) Disability benefits. If you are over the age of 50 and the grid rules are applied to your case, your chance of being approved for benefits increases.

Grid Rules and Sjögren's Syndrome

The SSA grid rules assess your ability to work in fields that you are trained and qualified for as well as determine if you can be retrained for different employment. Factors taken into consideration include:

  • Your age
  • Amount of education acquired (high school vs. university)
  • Skills cultivated during your years of employment
  • Whether those skills can be transferred to a different field
  • Your residual functional capacity for physical work

The grid rules are designed to accommodate the reality that when you are over 50, fewer entry-level jobs are available to you and retraining can be more challenging than it is for younger applicants. Therefore, even if your ‘grid’ does not find you disabled, you may still be approved for benefits.

Qualifying for Disability After 50 with Sjögren's Syndrome

What Type of Work Can Someone Do With This Condition?

Sjögren's Syndrome can affect your organs, causing debilitating symptoms such as chronic fever, weakness, and weight loss. According to the SSA grid rules, a 50-year-old firefighter would not be able to cope with the sustained physical activity due to these symptoms.

Their age also would make it more difficult to transition to a different field, as employers don't routinely offer entry-level jobs to older workers and retraining can prove more challenging.

As a result, applicants over 50 are more likely to have their claims approved, even if your ‘grid’ does not result in a disability finding.

Meeting a Blue Book Listing

When the SSA receives a disability application, it compares the person’s condition to those listed in the Blue Book, which is its guidebook to disabling impairments. Sjögren's Syndrome appears in Listing 14.10 - Sjögren's Syndrome, which indicates that you will be found disabled if:

  • At least two organs are affected to a certain degree of severity
  • You are exhibiting at least two of the main symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome
  • Manifestations of Sjögren's syndrome, with at least two of the main symptoms plus marked limitation in daily activities, social functioning, or ability to complete tasks in a timely manner.

While Sjögren's Syndrome is a listed condition and being over the age of 50 increases your chances of benefits approval, it is always a good idea to seek assistance from a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate.

They can ensure that your application is complete and correct, and will even represent you should your initial claim be rejected.

Studies have shown that support from a disability professional will give you an advantage, and when it comes to getting the benefits you need, the time you spend locating the right attorney or advocate will be time well spent.

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